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National Park Service Receives LAF Founders' Award

On May 3, the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) held an intimate dinner and reception in Washington, D.C. to present the U.S. National Park Service with the 2017 LAF Founders’ Award, its highest honor for an organization. Launched in 2016, the LAF Founders’ Award is conveyed to a firm, agency, or organization that demonstrates a significant commitment to preserving, creating, or enhancing landscapes over a sustained period of time.

National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds accepted the award on behalf of the agency. Also in attendance were:

  • Bert Frost, Acting Deputy Director of Operations and Regional Director of Alaska
  • Jeff Gowen, National Mall Landscape Architect and Acting Chief of Facilities
  • Dena Kennett, Landscape Architect,  George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Gay Vietzke, National Mall Superintendent

To a packed room of LAF Board members, Board Emeriti, incoming LAF Fellowship recipients, and other friends of LAF, Mr. Reynolds gave a short presentation emphasizing common interests and the influence of landscape architects’ on the National Park Service and its lands, dating back to Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr’s statement of purpose in the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 that established the agency:

“To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” (National Park Service Organic Act, 1916)

During the Q&A that followed, Mr. Reynolds spoke candidly about the work of the National Park Service, current challenges, and the role that landscape architects can play in the design, management, preservation, and advocacy for our public lands — both present and into the future.

With a shared ethos, we look forward to many more years of partnership between landscape architects and this pioneering agency, which has had a profound and lasting impact on our nation and the world.

LAF is grateful to the many individuals and organizations that provide financial support towards fulfilling our mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.

Much of what LAF is able to accomplish would not be possible without the thought leadership and financial investment of our major supporters, including ASLA, which provides over $125,000 of in-kind support annually.