Category Archives: Uncategorized

“In honor of our teachers, the plants”

On Wednesday at the Wisconsin Wetlands conference, Robin Wall Kimmerer signed my copy of her book, Braiding Sweetgrass, “in honor of our teachers, the plants”. Reading her book, one thing to seep in early and strong with me was that … Continue reading

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Pitch pine’s view of the world

Spy Rock, Black Rock Forest, Cornwall, NY 1830. Dear Diary: I am old enough to collect my thoughts. And it rained last night so my needles are paying attention. There is another, like me, the next rock over, that I … Continue reading

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A path for art in restoration

An art committee working to plan the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)’s 25th anniversary world conference met in May 2013. A thoughtful discussion ensued. Can art be a partner in the unfolding process of an ecological restoration? Collaborating in the … Continue reading

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Ah, Matisse

It was a few days saturated and dripping with significance, and also wonderfully airy in thought and idea. The Matisse Cutouts at MoMA, a once in a lifetime experience of seeing many of his late-life things together, as they were … Continue reading

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Meaningful species as we work

For the Society for Ecological Restoration’s 5th World Conference last year in Wisconsin, to help with conference wayfinding graphics, I chose a few representative and memorable species commonly associated with ecological restoration in Wisconsin – in prairies, wetlands, or woodlands … Continue reading

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The Missing ‘Small Magic’ of Water

One loss we have in urban neighborhoods is the ‘small magic’ of water – we no longer see little streams; they run underground in pipes; we no longer see little wetlands and ephemeral wetlands; they are filled. When our only … Continue reading

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This Place and Time

As the sandhill cranes fly and talk overhead, and the snow melts underfoot, I know just where and when I am. Wendell Berry: “You don’t know who you are until you know where you are”; Thomas Berry: “Everywhere on earth, … Continue reading

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Swamp Friends

Quoting the artist Patricia Johanson in Art and Survival (2006), writing about her project Endangered Garden: “This fusion of form, function, and ecological system that I want the visitor to discover, and its pervasiveness from microcosm to macrocosm, often lies … Continue reading

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Wild[er]ness, or It’s still only gardening

I was in a field class recently.  During a break with another student, a research professor, I shared details about my ecological restoration work.  He responded with interest, but finally said, “It’s still only gardening, isn’t it?”. His comment seems … Continue reading

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Thoughts in the Prairie

  We hear thunder The prairie feels the shadow of the clouds Every leaf anticipates. How does milkweed do it? Common, everywhere, defiant, tough, ubiquitous, indispensable And still catches my fancy.   I wish I knew the voices of the … Continue reading

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Hometown Work

Last week, my partner Dan and I were awaiting the walk across the stage in San Diego to receive our national award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, for our detailed plans for the restoration of a half-mile of … Continue reading

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On Knowing How To Do Things

A few years ago, I was given the pro bono project of painting the concrete floor of the Urban Ecology Center with the Milwaukee rivers, streams and the shore of Lake Michigan.  The building, by their design, echoes a map … Continue reading

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In the Twocreekian Age

August 26th 2011,  Two Creeks, Wisconsin. The company took a field trip to the globally unique Two Creeks buried forest.  An exposed Lake Michigan bluff reveals remnants of an ancient cedar hemlock forest that was “run over” as the Wisconsin … Continue reading

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I. A. L.

From the 1873 Wisconsin State Horticultural Society Report The advantages to be gained by a botanical report with a proper record of the same, to be made or kept either by accurate drawings of plants, or preserved by drying and … Continue reading

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True

Have you been to a visioning session lately with stakeholders, where the pronounced rules begin with “Speak your truth” and end with “Have fun!”? It’s happened once too often for me and I doth gently protest.  Perhaps “speaking your truth” … Continue reading

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Gray

January. This time of year I get so heart-filled with the colors outside. I want to impress the colors in my brain so strongly that they’re always there. Especially the twilight colors, the very dark gray-blues with the bit of … Continue reading

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Funk’s Grove

I appreciate both the open-grown oaks, despite being most easily seen above turf and farm rather than savanna (right)… and the lovely forest, despite its having grown up during fire suppression – with familiar faces of Floerkea (left).  From the … Continue reading

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March Madness

Lest you think there is nothing much herbaceous going on March 31 north of Milwaukee below the snow, let me introduce you to the tiniest, mightiest annual Floerkea proserpinacoides (left), which knows better than most how to be darned effective, … Continue reading

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Old-School

I admit it, I am tickled by being re-introduced (and introducing others) to how well low-tech models can work to communicate and to persuade: in this case, about the challenge of making truly wild places in this spot surrounded by … Continue reading

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Nicholas & Raoul’s “Watershed: Art, Ecology, and Community Engagement”

I really like how you can feel the watershed’s pulse from a simple digital elevation model (left, Milwaukee River watershed), a living earth even with the faintly visible rifts of freeway and sometimes railroad; let’s not stretch her resilience any … Continue reading

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Wildness as a Value

I have been thinking more about Wildness as a distinct value of Place, articulated better than me by friend/colleague Marc. An aspect I think important is the sense of personal discovery: that the secret of this unexpected patch of Lespedeza … Continue reading

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Anywhere, Sunlight and Rainfall and Aspect Make Detail

Also at Storm King, Maya Lin’s work is beautifully conceived/sited. But the detail I like best is the self-sorting of the native grasses based on slope aspect and moisture… leading to the “fringe” of Bouteloua curtipendula (growing on the upper … Continue reading

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Substance Behind The Scenes

Things to love at the High Line – unexpected treasured spots, like this spur (right)… But my favorite has to be the NYC Parks trailer offices, stewardship gear and onsite nursery at the south end (left), right under the High … Continue reading

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Public Art That Shows You Something Else

I find myself sometimes arguing against public art. Well, actually, for public art that is temporary, and for public art that doesn’t distract from something more important. As much as I enjoy Goldsworthy (left), I found something I appreciated more … Continue reading

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