Great Park Restoration Ecologist Steven Handel, Ph.D., Wins 2009 ‘National Award for Research’ From American Society of Landscape Architects
“This award demonstrates the Great Park’s commitment to ecological restoration and advancing the natural landscape design of the Orange County Great Park,” said
“The award recognizes the importance of Dr. Handel’s research to the Great Park and beyond,” said
“As we build our diverse habitats, the Great Park can be a new center for education and ecological experiences for our visitors,” said Handel. “The landscape will be beautiful and also useful for explorers of nature at all levels, from scout to college students to seniors.”
The 2009 American Society of Landscape Architects Jury says the research project is, “Well done! Intriguing conclusions that provide extremely useful data for the profession, clients, and the public at large. Such a usable resource.”
According to Handel’s research project, “Restoration Ecology Processes to Advance Natural Landscape Design,” ecological services from restored natural habitats can enhance landscape design. Controlled experiments on urban landscapes, including landfills and brown fields, determined that woody species can thrive on thin engineered soils, but traditional hydro seeding must be modified, and diverse plant genotypes are needed for degraded sites. These ecological links impact the future functioning of all urban landscapes.
The completed designs for the new Orange County Great Park include large areas that will be native woodlands, meadows, and sage scrub. These parcels are arranged in a mosaic so population expansion and contraction can occur over the decades as local climate conditions vary. The design goal is to create a dynamic landscape that reflects and illustrates natural ecological processes, instead of static plantings requiring intensive maintenance resulting in higher costs for the future.
Founded in 1899, the ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing 17,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The Society’s mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at www.asla.org.
For more information on the Orange County Great Park, please go to www.ocgp.org.
SOURCE Orange County Great Park