A group of third-year graduate students in Utah State University's Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department are the recipients of a national award presented by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
The students, Lori Porreca, Sara Sevy, Kris Kvarfordt, Susan Buffler, Chad Kennedy and Laura McCoy, received a 2005 Student Award by ASLA in the planning and analysis category for the project "Bear River Greenway Master Plan/Bear River Ecological Corridor Restoration." LAEP faculty members Peter Kumble and Craig Johnson served as advisors to the group.
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 15,800 members. The organization promotes the landscape architecture profession and advocates the practice through advocacy, education, communication and fellowship.
A seven person jury selected 16 projects, representing 13 schools, as award worthy. All student teams will be honored at the ASLA annual meeting and EXPO Oct. 7-10 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Representing USU at the award ceremony are Kvarfordt and faculty advisor Kumble, who pick up the team's Honor Award. Certificates for the team's members and the university will be presented.
This is a prestigious award and well-earned by the students, said LAEP faculty member Peter Kumble.
"The project focused on an important natural resource in need of protection and integration into a larger planning effort," he said. "The quality of graphic materials, written text and overall presentation is professional in appearance and scholastic in content."
The project began in fall 2004 as graduate students and faculty of Utah State's LAEP department, in affiliation with the Bridgerland Audubon Society, PacifiCorp and the Nature Conservancy, prepared a greenway master plan for the Bear River. The goal was to preserve the rural character, natural features and quality of life that have made Cache Valley unique. The project was the primary focus of two departmental courses — the regional landscape analysis and planning course and landscape planning for wildlife course.
The student team undertook a comprehensive inventory and analysis of the study area, Kumble said. It identified resources related to people, places and the environment. The Bear River Greenway Master Plan is intended to be the open space component of a larger regional plan, Kumble continued.
"It will guide future land use along the Bear River Bottoms by encouraging agriculture preservation, water quality improvement, wildlife habitat protection and the creation of a recreation amenity for all residents and visitors to Cache Valley," he said.
The intent of the Bear River Greenway Master Plan is to serve as a guiding document in a larger-scale regional collaboration, Kumble said.
"Just as the Bear River is a regional link, this plan may serve as a link between individuals and communities, setting out common visions and goals for the betterment of the Cache Valley area."
USU's LAEP program offers an advantage of location to its students — the Intermountain West allows student exposure to a quality outdoor learning environment, Kumble said. The department has earned a reputation, through awards like this and others, of graduating students who go on to become leaders in the profession of landscape architecture, regional planning and natural resource management. This award is a tribute to the students as they move into professional careers.
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The event is free and open to the public, and interested parties are encouraged to attend.