I have been fortunate that throughout my life I’ve had a close relationship to a diversity of natural places and have become familiar with a wide variety of rural and urban towns and cities. I grew up visiting my grandparents’ farm in New York State and taking family vacations up and down the east coast of the US to mountains, beaches, woods, and towns.
I received my Bachelor of Science degree from NC State University in Horticulture and Landscape Design. I loved the combination of design and science. I loved having classes that got us out in the field often for workshops and field trips to a wide variety of wild and cultural landscapes. After finishing college in North Carolina, I participated in a work exchange on organic farms (WWOOF) in Sicily, Italy. I was able to learn more about my roots on my father’s side, and I was able to continue a budding interest and passion in permaculture and sustainable agriculture. I continued to graduate school at Temple University to receive a Master of Landscape Architecture degree, where the program had a heavy focus on Ecological Restoration. The program incorporated a variety of restoration ecology classes and technical field workshops. My final year there, I focused my individual studies and capstone project on designing a regenerative agriculture system for a 50 acre farm property. This combined my passions for sustainable agriculture, and ecological restoration.
As I was finishing graduate school, I accepted a position at the Landscape Architecture firm, Sikora Wells Appel. It was my first office job after years of working in public gardens, in gardening crews, and on urban and rural organic farms. Having worked almost five years there, I had gained valuable knowledge and many skills about design and turning projects into a built reality. I had also become a licensed Landscape Architect. However, I realized something was missing for me personally. I missed being outside, being physically engaged in the work I was doing, and doing work more aligned with my passions. I wanted to make a change and reintroduce a component to my career and life that gave me more time in the field. I decided to get up from my desk chair and go out again like I had done earlier in my career path. I traveled in Argentina for three months, again with the WWOOF program. I reconnected with the agricultural roots I had fostered, met new people and places, spent time in the wild, and felt like I was immersed in hands on learning again. Most importantly, it gave me time to reflect on my academic, professional, and personal journey, and how I wanted to move forward.
The most impactful and memorable experiences I’ve had were situations where the hosts had created intentional experiences around sharing their relationship to their landscapes. These relationships were based on agriculture, ecological stewardship, and cultural identity and practices. Furthermore, the physical infrastructure of the properties or communities were set up with the intention to host these experiences in an environmentally sustainable way.
It is my goal to use the combination of my experiences and my skills as a Landscape Architect, to guide clients to envision unique design and programming centered on enhancing and intentionally sharing their relationship with their landscapes and cultures.