The Cultural Landscape Foundation and Central Park Conservancy Host Bridging the Nature-Culture Divide II
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The Cultural Landscape Foundation and The Central Park Conservancy Host Bridging the Nature‐Culture Divide II: Stewardship of Central Park’s Woodlands conference Friday, October 5, 2012
Washington, DC (June 19, 2012) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) and co-sponsor The Central Park Conservancy (CPC) will host Bridging the Nature‐Culture Divide II: Stewardship of Central Park’s Woodlands conference on Friday, October 5, 2012, at the Museum of the City of New York (registration now open). The one-day conference, co-curated by TCLF Founder and President Charles A. Birnbaum and CPC
Associate Vice President for Planning Lane Addonizio examines the management of nature and culture in the stewardship of Central Park. The conference will feature speakers from public institutions and landscape architecture firms across the country, and follows up on the sold out similarly themed conference held last year at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, New York. It will be preceded by a reception Thursday, October 4 at El Museo del Barrio New York (a separately ticketed event), which will include the announcement of Landslide 2012: Landscape and Patronage highlighting at-risk landscapes and the patrons/organizations that helped create them. The conference will be followed on October 6-7 by What’s Out There Weekend New York, featuring free expert led tours of parks and opens spaces in all the city’s five boroughs (tours are free, reservations are required).
The 843-acre Central Park, originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and Calvert Vaux, with a succession of additions and refinements by Samuel Parsons, Jr., Michael Rapuano, Gilmore Clarke and others, is also host to 230 bird species, along with turtles, fish, and countless species of butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects. The Central Park woodlands are among the most historically significant designed landscapes in the country, they provide valuable refuge for wildlife, and they are a vital recreational resource for New Yorkers. The park and so much else in New York suffered during the depths of the city’s financial crises in the 1970’s. The collective toll of years of lack of maintenance left the park in ruinous physical condition, suffering from extensive erosion of the ground plane and overrun by opportunistic invasive vegetation. The Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organization created in 1980 has skillfully and successfully reawakened, restored and maintained a world-class icon.
Nevertheless, managing a park that is both a historically significant designed landscape and natural habitat is delicate; this conference specifically examines sustainability, the agendas of different constituencies, diversity, the role of people, and public education.
Creating a progression of varied landscape experiences was a primary goal of Central Park's designers. Within the landscapes themselves, diversity was also a goal. In the Ramble, both exotic and native plants were to provide a sense of lushness and intricacy and to create the effect of Olmsted’s "wild garden." Neglect of the Park’s woodlands over a prolonged period resulted in a lack of horticultural and social (as well as scenic) diversity. What park stewards know is “letting nature take its course” and leaving the landscape alone is not sustainable. While the woodlands serve to provide the experience of escape from urban life, they are in fact designed urban landscapes that require consistent management—not wilderness.
The conference features two panels addressing this stewardship dilemma; the first (the morning session) focuses on “lessons learned” by public sector stewards at Prospect Park (Brooklyn), New York Botanical Garden, and The Presidio (San Francisco); the second (afternoon session) will be comprised of landscape architects in private practice with experience in urban parks (complete list below).
Speakers and Moderators:
- Eric W. Sanderson, Senior Conservation Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society (moderator)
- Christian Zimmerman, Vice President for Design & Construction, The Prospect Park Alliance, Brooklyn, NY
- Michael Boland, Chief Planning, Projects & Programs Officer, The Presidio Trust, San Francisco, CA
- Todd Forrest, Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections, The New York Botanical Garden
- Elizabeth K. Meyer, Associate Professor, University of Virginia, School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture (moderator)
- Dennis McGlade, President/Partner, OLIN, Philadelphia, PA and Los Angeles, CA
- Margie Ruddick, Margie Ruddick Landscape, Philadelphia, PA
- Keith Bowers, Biohabitats, Baltimore, MD
Registration is $150 and is available at the conference Web site.
About the Central Park Conservancy
The mission of the Central Park Conservancy is to restore, manage and enhance Central Park in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of present and future generations. A private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1980, the Conservancy provides 85 percent of Central Park's $42 million park-wide expense budget and is responsible for all basic care of the Park. Since 1980, the Conservancy has overseen the investment of more than $650 million into Central Park. For more information on the Conservancy, please visit centralparknyc.org.
About The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The Cultural Landscape Foundation provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations.