Womens History Month

March 1, 2024 /

Womens History Month

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Celebrate Women's History Month!

ASLA-NY is thrilled to celebrate Women's History Month with our members to share stories, resources and information to highlight how women have, and continue to, shape our profession.

FUN FACT

In 1987, Congress voted to make March Women's History Month. New York City had recognized the month of March as Women's History Month since 1981.

People

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Beatrix Farrand

Recognized as America’s first female landscape architect, she was one of America’s most celebrated landscape architects, renowned for the private estate gardens she designed for East Coast society and was a founding member (the only female) of ASLA and ASLA-NY. Some of her most notable works include Dumbarton Oaks, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden (Maine), Bellefield in Hyde Park, and the old campus at Princeton University. Learn more about Beatrix Farrand HERE.

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Marian Cruger Coffin

She was one of the first American women to work as a professional landscape architect and the third female member of ASLA (1906). Coffin insisted on being paid the same fees as a male architect and to be treated equally in contracts; this was a novelty in itself, at a time when women were usually paid less than men. She also liked to employ women to work with her on commissions, giving them the chance to undertake apprenticeships that male prejudice had denied her when she had first started on her career. Marian's most recognized work is Winterthur in Delaware. Learn more about Marian Coffin HERE

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Clara Stimson Coffey

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1919, Clara worked for Warren Manning, then Ellen Shipman and Marion Coffin before starting her own firm in 1928. From 1936-1942 she was Chief of Tree Plantings at NYC Parks. From 1945 to 1957 she ran a solo landscape firm. In 1957, she established the partnership of Coffey, Levine and Blumberg, which designed several city playgrounds, including Clement Clarke Moore Park (1969) in Manhattan, Yellowstone Park (1970) in Queens, and Haffen Park (1968) in the Bronx. Some of her most notable works include: plantings at the Central Park Conservatory, Park Avenue Malls, Sutton Place and the Vale of Cashmere in Prospect Park. In 1977, she was appointed to the Art Commission of New York City as its professional landscape architect. In 1978 she became a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Learn more about Clara Coffey HERE 

Courtesy TCLF

Helen Elise Bullard

Bullard graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in landscape architecture in 1918. In 1921 Bullard became the chief plantsman and planting designer in Warren Manning’s Boston office. She went to work as an assistant to landscape architect Annette Hoyt Flanders in New York City in 1927, where Bullard supervised at least 50 men. As a result of the Great Depression, private practice declined, during which time Bullard moved to the public sector. After meeting Robert Moses, Bullard went to work for him under the supervision of Gilmore Clarke. She created the planting designs for the new Long Island parkways, and organized and oversaw the spring and summer flower bedding programs for the Long Island state parks. Bullard became Assistant Landscape Supervising Engineer for the New York City Department of Parks in 1935.

Learn more about Helen HERE 

Courtesy TCLF

Pamela Berdan

Berdan built a career designing small gardens and pocket parks in and around Greenwich Village in Manhattan, including the St. John’s in the Village Episcopal Church garden in 1974, the Jane Street Garden during the late 1970s, and the Sheridan Square Viewing Garden on a triangular traffic island (a former parking lot) in 1982. During this period, Berdan became a dedicated advocate of community gardens- which she elevated with formal design. When the Women’s House of Detention in Greenwich Village was demolished in 1974, Berdan joined local efforts to reclaim the lot as a neighborhood park.

Learn more about Pamela HERE 

Check out our Member Spotlight

Learn more about some of our amazing members on our newly-redesigned Member Spotlight page. Members we have recently highlighted include:

Women Landscape Architects Nationally

Learn more about women landscape architects through history at the National Parks Service post HERE

Watch

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Women in the Dirt

2011, Directed by: Carolann Stoney

Women in the Dirt is about the groundbreaking work of seven landscape architects examining how women have helped shape the profession of landscape architecture for over a hundred years. Through conversations with the designers in their offices, or outdoors in the stunning spaces they’ve designed, the film explores each woman’s philosophy and approach to their discipline. Click HERE to watch the full movie.

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ASLA-NY: Women in Landscape: Designing the Bigger Time Tools for Creating a Gender Just Practice

YouTube

As landscape architects, we know diversity is essential for healthy ecological systems. Diversity is also vital for landscape architecture practices, and to achieve it requires active intervention. Whether you’re male, female or non-binary, are just starting your career or are firm leader, join the founders of WxLA and Jennifer Reut, Interim Editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine, for a discussion about tangible ways to advance gender equity and equality in your landscape architecture practice. Watch this video HERE

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Vital Olmsted Landscapes Into the Future

YouTube

Patricia O’Donnell, FASLA, of Heritage Landscapes, gave a presentation on issues and solutions associated with adapting Olmsted landscapes for the future. Her talk, Vital Olmsted Landscapes Into the Future, was part of the Olmsted Network's Open Exchange meetings for its partner network to discuss opportunities and challenges facing Olmsted landscapes.

Visit

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Since its creation, women have helped make Central Park a thriving public space. In honor of Women’s History Month, take our self-guided walk that highlights some of the women who created, inspired, and placed Park monuments and memorials—in the form of sculptures, playgrounds, landscapes, or recreational facilities.

Articles

“Women have literally shaped the American landscape and continue to today, but their names and contributions are largely unknown.”

Designing the Bigger Time: Tools for a Gender Just Workplace World Landscape Architecture, March 8, 2021

The founders of WxLA offer research, strategies and tactics for creating workplaces that support more inclusive and representative design practice.

Resources

WxLA: WxLA is an advocacy initiative created in 2018 to encourage and lead efforts toward equality in our profession. We stand for increased transparency, leadership and representation for womxn.

ASLA Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) Professional Practice Network (PPN) focuses on the experience and contributions of women in the profession. Membership in the group is open and encouraged for women and men. WILA works to create resources for women in the profession, provide mentorship opportunities, encourage discussion of work/life balance concerns, and establish a virtual home for members.

Equality in the worlplace

National Organization for Women: Women-Friendly Workplace Campaign

Equal Rights Advocates: Know Your Rights: Sex Discrimination

National Partnership for Women and Families: Workplace Discrimination

AFL-CIO: Rights@Work-Discrimination: Gender

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