Landscape Architecture program takes students on tour of Delaware

Professors from the University of Delaware’s Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) program took six of the students newer to the major on a two-day tour of Delaware, Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26, looking at different landscapes throughout the first state.

The program was funded by UD’s Sustainable Coastal Communities (SCC) Initiative headed by Ed Lewandowski, the acting director for Delaware Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Service.

Joining the students on the trip were Sue Barton, professor and extension specialist in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC), Jules Bruck, associate professor and director of landscape architecture, Anna Wik, assistant professor in PLSC and a registered landscape architect, and Tara Trammell, the John Bartram Assistant Professor of Urban Forestry.

The BLA students exploring Cape Henlopen State ParkThe professors had Margaret Heffernan, a senior landscape architecture major and an art minor, and Olivia Kirkpatrick, a senior majoring in landscape architecture with minors in horticulture and art, on board for the program as well to provide leadership for the newer students.

The program started out in Newark then moved south with the students visiting Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the UD Virden Center and then Cape Henlopen where they took a transect across the dunes to see how to measure and look at the topography of the dunes.

“We rented bikes so we could bike into Cape Henlopen park and that gave us a different appreciation for the landscape than just driving would have,” said Barton.

The students also went to Sea Colony and studied one of Barton’s projects that involved a collaboration with the Center for Inland Bays and the Delaware Department of Transportation.

“About five years ago, the ditches were widened and we added plants to slow water down, to give water a chance to be taken up by plants or sink into the soil, versus just run right off into the inland bays carrying all the nutrients and pollutants with it,” said Barton.

Moving north, the group took a pontoon boat out into Trap Pond’s cypress swamp and Bruck informed them about her project in Laurel, Delaware.

The two-day journey ended in New Castle where Trammell led an exercise looking at urban trees.

“Students did sketching and participated in exercises and it was a jam packed two days. Some of the sophomores who went didn’t know other people in the program and they definitely knew each other well by the end,” said Barton. “In the future, we plan to run this for students between their freshman and sophomore years and it will be a great experience for them.”

Barton added that having some of the more experienced landscape architecture students on the trip was a beneficial component as well.

“The newer students got to know their upper classman, some of the leaders of the program. It was a great combination of comradery and environmental learning and we really hope to be able to do it again,” said Barton.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo courtesy of Olivia Kirkpatrick