Posted On: September 25, 2018

Planting the Future: Urban Trees – Speaker Bios

Sonja DümpelmannPlanting the Future: Urban Trees - Speaker Bios

Sonja Dümpelmann is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her work focuses on nineteenth and twentieth-century urban landscape history in the Western world and the intersections of landscape, science, and technology. Dümpelmann is the author and (co-)editor of numerous books, most recently Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin (Yale University Press, 2019. She has lectured internationally and has served as President of the Landscape History Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and serves as Senior Fellow in Garden and Landscape Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington DC.

Sonja’s Talk
How have street trees been seen, used, planted, cared for, and represented in New York City in word and image throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries? What do they tell us about our changing relationship to nature and the city? The talk will reveal street trees’ literal and figurative entanglement not only in the built urban structure, but also in urban social, cultural, and political life as a whole. It will focus on relevant moments in the history of street trees on New York City’s streets throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Diane Cook and Len JenshelPlanting the Future: Urban Trees - Speaker Bios

Diane Cook and Len Jenshel are two of America’s foremost landscape photographers. They have been contributing photographers to National Geographic Magazine for over 20 years. Their work has also been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Washington Post Magazine, Audubon, GEO, On Earth, among others.

Their monographs include Wise Trees, Hot Spots: America’s Volcanic Landscape, Aquarium, and Travels in the American West. Their photographs have been exhibited internationally in one-person shows – and their work is represented in over one hundred museums and major collections worldwide. They have received numerous fellowships, including the John Simon Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts, Graham Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Design Trust for Public Space, and two grants from the National Geographic Expedition Council for their project and book, Wise Trees – the topic of their talk for this symposium.

Wise Trees
Diane Cook and Len Jenshel will speak about their project Wise Trees, which began as a story for National Geographic Magazine, and was subsequently published by Abrams Books in 2017. They spent over three years researching, photographing and writing about more than 70 trees across five continents – to document some of the world’s most historic and inspirational trees. Trees are our silent partners in life, and Cook and Jenshel felt, at a time when we are losing 40 million trees a day, that it was time to tell the stories of their enduring role with humanity. They will show their photographs of these amazing trees, and share their remarkable stories.


Nina BassukPlanting the Future: Urban Trees - Speaker Bios
Nina Bassuk has been a professor and program leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University for the past 38 years. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Urban Forestry Council and is co-author of ‘Trees in the Urban Landscape”, a text for landscape architects and horticultural practitioners on establishing trees in disturbed and urban landscapes. In addition, Dr. Bassuk has authored over 100 papers on the physiological problems of plants growing in urban environments, including improved plant selections for difficult sites, soil modification including the development of ‘CU-Structural Soil’ and improved transplanting technology. She works closely with municipalities to help implement best practices in urban forestry management and developed the Student Weekend Arborist Team to inventory public trees in communities in NY State. Nina co-teaches a course at Cornell University titled “Creating the Urban Eden”, which integrates the woody plant identification and use with landscape establishment techniques for difficult urban sites. She is a frequent invited speaker at national conferences and workshops and recently received the Alex Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education from the International Society of Arboriculture.

Nina’s Talk
Tree selection for urban areas – site remediation. Diversity of urban trees. How urban environment is helping tree growth. 1) Adaptability of the site. 2) Diversity to species for the conditions (native and non-native) 3) Management difficulties. Climate Change predictions: 1) think of water amounts and the intervals. When will it be wet and when it will be dry. We’re getting earlier and earlier spring. Winter is mild.


Sarah Charlop-Powers Planting the Future: Urban Trees - Speaker Bios

Sarah Charlop-Powers is the co-founder and executive director of the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC), a nonprofit dedicated to managing New York City’s 20,000 acres of forests and wetlands. The NAC is a pioneer in the field of urban conservation, using data and science to develop innovative new ways to manage urban natural areas so that they provide recreation opportunities for diverse users, protect local biodiversity, and provide environmental benefits.

She led the development of a 25-year Forest Management Framework for New York City, a data-driven plan to restore and create public access in 7,000 acres of forested parkland. She and her team were responsible for the production of more than 400,000 native plants used to restore coastal areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy. In 2018, she initiated a new national network with participants from 40 states to advance the field of urban forest management. Sarah also led the creation of a paid internship program for local college students pursuing careers in conservation.

Sarah’s work builds on her background in land use planning, economics, and environmental management. Prior to founding NAC Sarah spent seven years as the parks manager for Scenic Hudson, where she managed 15 parks. She was a planner at Jonathan Rose Companies, where she led a team to develop a new management entity for the South Bronx Greenway. She also worked as a consultant for NYSERDA, the NYC DOT, and the Mohonk Preserve. She has a B.A. in Economics Binghamton University and a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she was a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow.

Sarah’s Talk
New York City has long been a leader in urban forestry, including the highly celebrated MillionTrees NYC program. In 2018, the Natural Areas Conservancy and NYC Parks released a visionary 25-year Forest Management Framework for NYC. This framework articulates an ambitious vision for NYC’s natural forests, including planning for a changing climate and expanding access to 7,000 acres of underutilized parkland. Sarah will also include results from a new national survey of more than 100 US cities, highlighting the importance of innovation and investment in the management of urban forests.

Jennifer GreenfeldPlanting the Future: Urban Trees - Speaker Bios

Jennifer is the Assistant Commissioner of Forestry, Horticulture, and Natural Resources for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. In this role, she protects, restores, expands and manages New York City’s urban forest, natural spaces and green infrastructure.

Jennifer has led critical efforts to study the health and mortality of street trees and to quantify the impact of trees on the urban environment. She played an important role in the MillionTreesNYC initiative, which was one of the largest tree planting programs in the nation. As part of this effort, she oversaw the management of tens of millions of dollars in tree planting funding and meeting the goal 2 years ahead of schedule. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in biology and environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Forest Science from Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Joseph Charap
Joseph Charap is Green-Wood’s Director of Horticulture and Curator. At Green-Wood since 2015, Joseph is responsible for managing the arboretum’s living collections, horticulture operations, and the research and educational initiatives related to its collection. He graduated from the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture and holds a Master’s degree in English literature from Brooklyn College.

William Hart

William Hart is an Associate at Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA) in New York City where he leads projects at all scales.  In addition to his work at MNLA, Mr. Hart is also a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Urban Management and Placemaking program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  Currently, his work is focused on the East Side Coastal Resiliency project which spans more than two miles along the shoreline of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  When complete the project will protect vital infrastructure, hospitals, and residences from sea level rise.  The project will transform sixty acres of city parkland with plantings selected in anticipation of future flooding.  William led the planting design of MNLA’s work on Governors Island in collaboration with West 8 Landscape Architects.  His design of the meadows, grassy slopes, gardens and Hammock Grove has transformed New York’s newest large park.

Stephanie LucasPlanting the Future: Urban Trees - Speaker Bios

Stephanie Lucas is the Deputy Director of Horticulture and Operations at Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York City, where she manages 7 acres of dynamic public green space and urban forest. She is the curator of the Conservancy’s daffodil, redbud, hydrangea, and witch hazel collections. Stephanie holds a BS in Horticulture and Turfgrass Science from the University of Connecticut and serves on the board of Metrohort.

Bill Logan

Bill Logan is the founder and president of Urban Arborists. He teaches pruning and tree identification at the New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture. At the Garden, he also teaches a master class in tree care to foresters of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. He has published three books of natural history – Oak: The Frame of Civilization, Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, and Air: The Restless Shaper of the World.  As writer and contributing editor to House & Garden, House Beautiful and Garden Design, and as a garden columnist for the New York Times, he developed a keen sense of what makes a garden beautiful. He is an ISA certified arborist and a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists.