by CeCe Haydock, ASLA, LEED AP, SITES AP
The poetry of sustainability is illustrated by a SITES pilot project, the Hempstead Plains Interpretive Center, certified silver in 2015.
Sandwiched between a college campus and a heavily trafficked highway, the nineteen acres of the Hempstead Plains remain just as they were before humans set foot on Long Island: a native Eastern prairie. The Plains once comprised more than 40,000 acres before becoming suburbanized. Today, this precious oasis of grasses and forbs—paired with the new Education Center, made from recycled shipping containers and topped with a green roof—serves as an outdoor classroom for all ages of students.
But it’s the grasses and native flowers that symbolize the beauty of sustainability: with invasive removal by the dedicated Plains Friends group, the wide-open space is nature at its best. The sights, gentle sounds, and movements of the plants create a retreat for visitors. Coming from heavily populated suburban areas, they are struck by the sheer openness and enduring soul of the Plains.
For previous posts in the Sustainable Design & Development Professional Practice Network (PPN)’s Poetics of Sustainable Landscapes series, see Sharing the Poetics of Sustainable Landscapes and Earth’s Due. To continue building this series, the PPN welcomes ASLA members to consider creative submissions for The Field that are your personal, forthright reflections on the challenges of navigating through the implementation of sustainable landscapes, as well as aesthetically-focused and/or personal documentation of built works.
Those interested in the confluence of art and climate action may also be interested in this upcoming event at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, which will be livestreamed:
Artists of Conscience: COAL + ICE Panel Discussion & Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards Presentation
Saturday, April 2, 2022, 2:00-4:00 p.m. (Eastern)
CeCe Haydock, ASLA, LEED AP, SITES AP, is a landscape architect in New York. Her practice focuses on site planning and design and consultation for sustainable design and projects seeking SITES and LEED certification. She is also a nationally known lecturer and writer on historic gardens.