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President's Letter: May 2024

Dear MD ASLA Community,


What a Spring Awards Gala!


I am still reliving the lovely evening spent with colleagues and peers at Brookside Gardens last Thursday. From the floriferous garden venue to the delicious food (lobster rolls and shrimp cocktail?!) and drinks, it was a perfect night. The projects were just the icing on top - and what projects they were. I was once again blown away by the scope of project type and quality of work that is put out by our landscape architecture community here in Maryland. And I was happy to see so many students in the audience who were each very deserving of their individual honors.


After cocktails in the garden, the evening kicked-off with our key-note speaker, Joy Columbus, the Director of Smithsonian Gardens. Joy gave a wonderful talk supported by historic photos that illustrated the development of the grounds of the Smithsonian Institution as they extended the museum experience into a public garden setting. It was a revelatory and inspiring lecture and left me wanting to visit DC and wander off the Mall and into the more intimate gardens surrounding The Castle.


It was also moving to hear introductions of, and acceptance “speeches” from, our individual award winners. Stephanie Oberle, the Director of Brookside Gardens, received the Spencer Ellis Award, which was established to honor a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to the preservation ​and conservation of the local environment in Maryland. Our stunning surroundings provided concrete evidence of her work and her vision for the landscape at Brookside.


The Emerging Professional Award was introduced by last year’s winner, Lauren Reed Gray, and went to Gaëlle Gourmelon who gave a very Oscar-like recognition to her professors and mentors from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!). Brian Reetz, also last year’s winner, introduced the 2024 Mid-Career Award to Heidi Thomas. And Vernon Hustead, the 2023 recipient, presented this year’s Maryland ASLA Lifetime Achievement Award to Deb Schwab. Deb is extremely deserving of such a recognition for her many years of service and dedication to both our Chapter and our profession. Thank you Deb!


In closing, this has been a very busy spring with April being World Landscape Architecture Month and all the Chapter events and activities that go along with that. We have lots on the horizon with an upcoming issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine dedicated to the Maryland Chapter, a TCLF event to be held in Baltimore in September, and the ASLA National Conference in Washington, DC, in October. Stay tuned for more on all of that in forthcoming emails and letters. For now, congratulations, again, to all the award winners of 2024! And many many thanks to Kevin Gaughan the Chair of the Awards and Gala Committee and his dedicated Committee members for making the evening such an enormous success!


Many thanks,

Sarah Trautvetter, ASLA

2024 MDASLA President


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