This field course will be an opportunity for professionals and advanced students from a wide range of backgrounds to gain experience in interpreting landscape history, and exposure in the methods of historical ecology. The goal of the program is to provide participants the skills and context to be able to apply a landscape history perspective to their work, research, or studies. By the end of the course, participants should be able to perform basic original research in landscape interpretation and historical ecology. Our classroom will be the forests and fields of Virginia's Piedmont region; however, the skills and information will be applicable to a wide variety of landscapes, especially the temperate forest regions of eastern North America. Topics will include: natural communities and site conditions, interpretation of abandoned home sites, stone walls, agricultural history, interpreting pastures, interpreting tree shape, tree rings and aging trees by external characteristics, historical archives, aerial photograph and historic map interpretation, and building a holistic narrative of landscape change over time, among others.
This field course is ideally suited to professionals from a range of backgrounds including biologists and ecologists, gardeners and land managers, landscape architects, historians, educators, and advanced students in the above disciplines. We hope that participants will find application for the material, and ways to share what they gain from the program. This course will be limited to 12 participants.
The Oak Spring Garden Foundation (OSGF) is a philanthropic foundation based at the former primary estate of the late Paul and Rachel Mellon, who were major philanthropists in the U.S. of the arts, humanities, and sciences in the second half of the twentieth century. OSGF is located in the northern Virginia Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains region (ca. one-hour drive from Washington, D.C.). Led by Sir Peter Crane, the Foundation’s inaugural President, OSGF provides short courses and supports residencies for artists and scholars. It is becoming a new center of stimulation of all things botanical, from fundamental research in plant evolution and conservation, to horticultural and plant conservation practice, to the history and art of plants gardens and landscapes.
Sir Peter Crane FRS is President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation. From 1999 to 2006 he was Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and from 2009 to 2016 he was Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He is known internationally for his work on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use.
Michael Gaige is an independent consulting ecologist based in upstate New York. His work explores the intersection of nature, culture, and history at the landscape level. Michael works with organizations, private landowners, and design teams on park and landscape projects, historical ecology inventories, and conservation planning for natural areas. He wrote detailed historical and landscape inventories for the Oak Spring Garden Foundation main site and it’s adjacent Rokeby farm. Michael teaches field studies programs for several colleges and universities.
Accommodation and Travel Information
Participants will be accommodated with all meals and private lodging on site at Oak Spring. They will need to bring proper clothing for being in the field (a suggested list will be provided after acceptance).
Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel to the Washington, D.C. area. If flying, please book flights to Dulles International Airport. Closer to the start date, our Programs team will assist with coordinating travel arrangements to the Oak Spring Garden Foundation site, as necessary.
Dates and Duration
The course runs for four (4) days beginning at 9:00am on Thursday, October 7, 2021 and ending at 1:00pm on Sunday, October 10, 2021. Accommodations and an informal dinner will be available for those participants arriving on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
$750 (includes course content and all meals and accommodations)
For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.