Wakefield Welcomes its 2009 Landscape Fellows



This summer, the Wakefield Estate is piloting several new programs. One is our new Landscape Fellows Program for college and graduate-level students in the fields of landscape design, preservation and management. Two fellowships were offered exclusively to Landscape Institute certificate candidates to conduct research and/or get hands-on experience in working with its unusual historic landscape and prized collection of woody plants.

We are very pleased to introduce this year’s crop of Fellows:

Deborah Merriam, a Graduate student at Harvard’s Landscape Design Institute, will focus her efforts on the Terrace Gardens below the Davenport Mansion,  identifying and recording existing hardscape and plant material, and recording its location and present condition. The second part of her work will be to write a treatment plan for the terrace gardens as a key piece of Polly Wakefield’s  designed garden and its interpretation; perform necessary phases of renovation pruning to protect existing plant material; and provide a history and interpretation of the garden to be used for tours and educational purposes.

Maureen O’Brien, a Graduate student at Harvard’s Landscape Design Institute, will prepare a Cultural Landscape Report for the formal “Front Garden” near the Isaac Davenport Mansion. This project will include the preparation of a two-part cultural landscape report in accordance with National Park Service Guidelines and include the following:  site history, existing conditions, analysis and evaluation, and a treatment plan.


Allie Clifford, an Environmental Sciences Student at Hampshire College, is using her skills with GIS in order to help create more data layers for the map of the estate. Using GPS equipment, Allie is mapping trees and documenting species’ age, height, and above ground biomass.

Matt Morgan, a Landscape Architect Student at University of Oregon,  will undertake a project to design and develop a clear and cohesive way-finding system for the Wakefield Estate.

By designing a system of paths through the many unique grounds at the property, we will emphasize Polly Wakefield’s desire for the land to remain a place where we as people of the land may “organize to re-establish the contact between the land and the people.” Included in the project will be a collection of conceptual maps, diagrams, illustrations, and details to further explain the development and possible implementation of the way-finding system.

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