December 2010

Holiday Greetings from all of us at the Conway School

posted Dec 31, 2010, 4:42 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 31, 2010, 4:44 AM ]

The Trustees, Students, Faculty, and Staff extend to all best wishes for a restful holiday season and peaceful new year! We are especially thankful at this time of year for all of our alums, friends, and other supporters in the work of finding sustainable futures. Thank you!

Need to make a IRA distribution for 2010? Deadline extended until January 31, 2011.

posted Dec 31, 2010, 4:10 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 31, 2010, 4:53 AM ]

On December 17, 2010, a new federal law extended the "IRA Charitable Rollover" for calendar years 2010 and 2011, including to approved institutions such as the Conway School. The law went into effective late in the year, so donors have been allowed an extra month (through the end of January, 2011) to complete transfers for 2010.

You have to be at least 70-½ years old when you transfer the gifts
from your traditional or Roth IRA.
Such gifts:
  • can be made without increasing your taxable income or withholding,
  • will not subject your Social Security income to higher tax levels, and
  • will count toward your minimum required distribution.
To make a gift to Conway or for more information contact Lynn Barclay, Conway's Associate Director for Advancement & Communications,, (413) 369-4044, ext 3.

"Glimmers of what's emerging": Thoughts from an alum

posted Dec 24, 2010, 3:38 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 28, 2010, 8:09 AM by Unknown user ]

"Shameless agitator" and 1983 Conway graduate Erik van Lennep (bio here) offers up some hope for the planet. See excerpt below from his blog here.

"Like watching leaves change by seeing their reflections in a pond, we are offered glimmers of what's emerging via reports on the 'Green Economy' and various 'Clean Tech' start-ups. We see growth in renewable energy, hybrid autos, 'smart' energy-saving homes and more. Throughout the global depression, the green sector is the only place where steady growth has continued, and this has not escaped the attention of finance and policy. But while this emerging economic sector may have begun with tightening the bolts and plugging the leaks in our current systems, it goes well beyond slapping greener labels onto old cans. This will be truly game-changing; in fact it's the stuff of paradigm change.

"What I see coming down the road, is such a profound reorientation of agenda and strategies that future historians will be plotting this onto their graphs as the third significant revolution for humanity: first was the neolithic dawn of agriculture, second was the industrial revolution, and our time will produce the shift to a Living Economy."

Erik is based in Dublin, Ireland, and serves as a Conway Master Teacher, via Skype.

Join Us in Sunny Arizona for a Service-Learning Experience

posted Dec 23, 2010, 12:54 PM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 28, 2010, 8:11 AM by Unknown user ]

There is still room for alums and friends of the school to spend a fascinating week in the Sonoran Desert. You are invited to join us March 27 - April 2, 2011, ($950, double occupancy, all inclusive from Tucson, Arizona) in the Sonoran Desert community of Ajo, Arizona. Space is limited; register today. For more details see the trip website. The trip will combine some planning and design work (allowing more experienced and newer alums to work side by side) with sightseeing and cultural experiences.

Can't go on the trip this year, but still like to support the effort? Consider sharing any excess frequent flier mileage you may have with a student or recent grad who wants to go on the trip. (Contact:
You can also make a donation (click to the left, under Supporting Conway) in support of our projects there.

Randall Arendt Workshop for Conway Students and Alums

posted Dec 23, 2010, 9:33 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 28, 2010, 8:13 AM by Unknown user ]

Transforming the Commercial Corridor Strip:
Re-development Design Strategies to Create Mixed-Use Centers

is the subject of a workshop to be given on
Friday, January 14, 2011, 1-5 pm, in Northampton, Massachusetts, by planner and writer Randall Arendt.

The workshop is open to current and past students of the Conway School of Landscape Design and invited guests. Space is limited. Register early. The building location will be sent to registrants. Register by January 10, 2011 at:

This workshop will focus on practical ways of reclaiming existing commercial corridors characterized by visual blight, traffic congestion and higher accident rates. Multiple strategies blending the twin disciplines of Conservation Design and New Urbanism are discussed for rebuilding these corridors, gradually increasing their functionality and attractiveness.

These strategies offer significant opportunities for commercial and mixed-use redevelopment, particularly in areas with existing infrastructure, thereby increasing the viability of businesses, service providers, and current /future public transit lines.  

The workshop will feature illustrations of progressive approaches to transforming commercial corridors, emphasizing multi-story mixed-use buildings, affordable housing, public transit possibilities, shade tree planting, design standards, signs, native landscaping, improved circulation patterns, parking lot orientation, stormwater infiltration/ recharge, night sky protection, and solar features. 

Randall Arendt is a landscape planner, site designer, author, lecturer, and an advocate of “conservation planning.” He holds an Honorary Degree from the Conway School of Landscape Design and is a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute in London, Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Award for Collaborative Achievement.

Finding Food Production Potential in the Sonoran Desert

posted Dec 23, 2010, 9:13 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 28, 2010, 8:14 AM by Unknown user ]

Evaluating the existing food needs in and around the historic mining town of Ajo, Arizona, was the assignment given to three Conway students, who will start work on the project the day after Christmas. The project, which is with the International Sonoran Desert Alliance and Pima County Community and Economic Development, was made possible through the cooperation of Conway alum Gary Bachman '84. The student team will assess the potential for food production within the project site and in surrounding areas. After two weeks in Arizona, the students will return to Conway to complete the report.

Conway Student Team Heads to Tuscany

posted Dec 23, 2010, 9:03 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 28, 2010, 8:16 AM by Unknown user ]

Three Conway graduate students will head to Tuscany, Italy, at the start of the new year to work with the Spannocchia Foundation in developing a food security plan for the region surrounding Tenuta di Spannocchia, a centuries-old agricultural estate located 12 miles southwest of Siena in central Tuscany. The students will be in residence for two weeks, meeting with stakeholders and gathering data before returning to Conway to start work on the plan with the assistance of Conway faculty and input from Spannocchia trustee John O'Keefe. [Image: Spannocchia Foundation]

Bird Fellow Returns from Bali

posted Dec 23, 2010, 8:53 AM by Paul Hellmund   [ updated Dec 28, 2010, 8:20 AM by Unknown user ]

Aran Wiener
Conway's 2010-2011 David Bird International Service Fellow, has returned to the US after completing his fellowship in Bali, Indonesia. You can read his blog here and see more of his photos here.

Aran overcomes adversity to make his final presentation:

"I arrived back in Sudaji with Zanzan [contact in the village] a few hours before the final presentation meeting to be held at his octagonal bamboo open-sided pavilion outfitted with projector and white screen; true anachronism. Problems, technical and supernatural, immediately ensued. A torrential downpour made setup difficult and delayed the arrival of several key people and prevented others from coming all together. The lone laptop computer from the school, recently donated by the government, broke before even the first image was projected. My computer was a good choice for backup, but my power adapter which had been on its last legs the entire trip, finally succumbed to fate at this exact moment recalling dreadful memories of previous technologically-based presentation woes. Thankfully, Gove [Depuy '02]
was in attendance with his computer adapter, so we were in business."

Read more from Aran here.

Applications for the 2011-2012
David Bird International Service Fellow will be available after the new year at this location.

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