In springtime, Fellows abound. Just as the Loeb Fellowship recently announced the newest crop of Fellows, the Landscape Architecture Foundation, a national organization led by Barbara Deutsch, (LF ’06), recently announced its University Olmsted Scholars. This year one of the national honors fell to Sara Zewde (MLA ’15) the first winner from the GSD.
Now in its seventh year, the LAF, the premier recognition program in the country for landscape architecture students, has a growing community of over 300 Olmsted scholars and finalists. Scholars are awarded funding for self-directed research over the course of a year. Sara Zewde’s research, for example, will take her to both Brazil and Louisiana. Deeply committed to community engagement, Sara spoke excitedly of the opportunity to have a long-term, place-based engagement and the flexibility to “craft the right role and the right project.”
In her role as executive director, Barbara Deutsch sees a clear connection between the structure of the Loeb Fellowship and the Olmsted Scholars program at LAF. Deutsch credits her time as a Loeb Fellow with informing the evolution of the scholars program, as she has been actively applying the principles of leadership development and the community of fellows derived from the Loeb program. Her vision for the University Scholars includes the reward and recognition, but also aims for a broader community and to “cultivate the next generation of leaders in the profession.” In this way, Deutsch says with a laugh, “I have been channeling Jim Stockard.”
The Olmsted Scholars program is just one of several core programs under Deutsch’s leadership at the LAF. Deutsch’s broad vision for the profession is clearly encapsulated in a program she’s designed: the Landscape Performance Series. The LPS operates as an online resource, providing practitioners in the field of landscape (and well beyond) with tools to better understand and measure the impact of investments, from parks to green infrastructure. From her post in Washington, DC, Deutsch advocates for the role of LPS as a tool to bridge between “the backyard and Capitol Hill.” It’s a “game-changer program” that uses landscape architecture to its maximum capacity, enabling individuals from outside the profession to harness the “power of landscape” to achieve cross-cutting goals of sustainability and quality of life. The LPS continues to expand under Deutsch’s leadership, and will soon emerge as an independent website with carefully curated content to reach a variety of users.
A broad range of professional experience explains Deutsch’s expansive vision and energy at the LAF. Before her training as a landscape architect she had an accomplished background in marketing, so an analytical and strategic current runs through all of her work. Her perspective is oriented toward “making the case, showing the value, and finding solutions.” This emphasis is clearly visible in award-winning research on green roofs, her international work with One Planet Communities, and the strengthening of the LAF’s three pillars: research, scholarship, and leadership.
Deutsch notes that the Loeb Fellowship was an important foundation for her work today and expressed a deep gratitude for Jim Stockard’s guidance through “unparalleled thought leadership and integrity of character.” For Deutsch, the Fellowship combined a unique opportunity for reflection with the chance to learn and share with a diversity of professionals working in the built environment. To this day, Deutsch regularly connects with Loeb Fellows living and working in DC “to act as a check and balance.” The Loeb Fellowship echoes throughout her continued success, from her fierce commitment to broadening the scope of landscape architecture in the built environment to her dedication to growing a new set of inspired and engaged leaders in the field.