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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Spring Landscape Architecture lecture series to kick off Feb. 16

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 1, 2006 -- John Kissida, a vice president with the environmental engineering firm Camp Dresser McKee in Cambridge, Mass., will kick off the spring 2006 URI Community Planning and Landscape Architecture Lecture Series on Feb 16.

The talk begins at 7 p.m. in Weaver Auditorium at the Coastal Institute on URI’s Kingston campus. It is free and open to the public.

Kissida will speak on “Landscape Architecture: Opportunities in an Environmental Engineering Firm.” The lecture will focus on Kissida’s experience as a landscape architect, and he will use case studies to illustrate the design of landfills for reuse, brownfields, and water and waste-water treatment facilities, among other projects.

Commenting on the changing approaches used by landscape architecture firms, Kissida noted that “today, when clients are beginning to plan a project, be it a treatment facility or capping a landfill, our immediate question should be how can more of the community's needs be met with this facility?”

He added that, through their particular training and experiences, “landscape architects are positioned, as key members of the interdisciplinary team, to provide effective answers and have a real impact.”

Three additional lectures are also scheduled during the spring semester.

Stephen Stimson, principal of Stephen Stimson Associates in Falmouth, Mass., will discuss “Agrarian Influence and Modern Expression” on March 2. The award-winning designer integrates his education, understanding of landscapes and personal experience into culturally responsive, modern designs. His projects are both urban and rural, and they range from the design of private gardens to college campuses.

John Todd, professor and distinguished lecturer at the University of Vermont’s School of Natural Resources, will discuss “In Partnership with Nature” on March 23. Often described as a “visionary biologist” and hailed by Time magazine as a “hero of the planet,” Todd’s groundbreaking ideas and projects often make use of alternative materials and technologies while looking to nature for inspiration. Much of his work has been devoted to food production and to waste-water processing.

Charles Birnbaum, director of The Cultural Landscape Foundation and recognized as one of the most influential historic landscape preservationists, will discuss “Change Continuity and Civic Ambition: Managing Cultural Landscapes,” on April 20. Birnbaum is also the coordinator of the Historic Landscape Initiative for the National Park Service Heritage Preservation Services Program and has just completed editing Pioneers of American Landscape Design for McGraw Hill and Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture for Spacemaker Press.

The URI Community Planning and Landscape Architecture series is co-sponsored by the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, the R.I. Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the R.I. Nursery and Landscape Association. Additionally, the URI College of Engineering and the Department of Natural Resources Science will sponsor Todd’s lecture. For more information about the series, call the URI Department of Community Planning and Landscape Architecture at 874-2983 or e-mail Professor Will Green at