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Jane Wolff to Present New Directions in EcoPlanning Annual Lecture at Harvard Museum of Natural History on April 28, 2010

Jane Wolff (Harvard GSD, ’92), director of the landscape architecture program at the University of Toronto, will be the annual speaker in the endowed  lecture series New Directions in EcoPlanning at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. 

Ms. Wolff’s lecture, "Defining an Environmental Vocabulary " will take place on Wednesday, April 28  at 6:00 pm in the museum’s Geological Lecture Hall at 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ms. Wolff’s lecture will address the intersection of ecology, design, public education, and grassroots advocacy in intensely inhabited landscapes. She’ll discuss her work in places like San Francisco Bay, the California Delta, and New Orleans, where ongoing interactions between nature and cultural intervention have produced complicated ecological circumstances. Her goal is to develop an environmental vocabulary that can be shared by planners, scientists, and citizens alike—as they contemplate plans for the future of their communities. 

Professor Charles Waldheim, Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design says of Jane Wolff: “Jane Wolff has emerged as among the strongest voices of her generation in the field of landscape architecture. Her work clearly articulates the complex and contradictory conditions for contested landscapes under pressure from rapid urbanization, deteriorating public infrastructures, increased demands for local agricultural production, and destination economies of recreation and leisure.  Her groundbreaking book Delta Primer describes the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as a case study in the competition for, protection from, and protection of, water.” 

The Harvard Museum of Natural History’s lecture series honors an individual who is making outstanding contributions to the integration of biology, conservation biology and ecology and the fields of land-use and environmental planning, architecture, and related sectors. The inaugural speaker in 2009 was Kristina Hill, Director of the Program in Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia. Watch Hill’s lecture, Designing the Urban Ark: Biodiversity and the Future of Cities online. 

New Directions in EcoPlanning
New Directions in EcoPlanning is supported by a generous gift from Michael V. Dyett, Harvard Class of 1968, who received his Masters in Regional Planning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1972, and his wife architect Heidi Richardson. Mr. Dyett is a principal of Dyett & Bhatia, urban and regional planners in San Francisco, and one of the country's leading experts in general plans, growth management, and transit-oriented land use planning.

“In the face of environmental challenges, integrating ecological principles is increasingly critical to sustainable planning in both urban and rural settings.” commented Elisabeth Werby, Executive Director of the Harvard Museum of Natural History. “We are so pleased that Michael Dyett and Heidi Richardson have enabled the museum to bring attention to those working at the forefront of these issues.” 

Jane Wolff
Jane Wolff is director of the landscape architecture program and associate professor at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. She was previously an assistant professor at Washington University in Saint Louis and at the Ohio State University, and in 2006, she served as Beatrix Farrand distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her undergraduate education at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, where her field of concentration was visual and environmental studies, and her graduate education at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she studied landscape architecture.

Ms. Wolff is the author of Delta Primer: a field guide to the California Delta, published by William Stout Publishers in 2003. Her current projects include a graphic book about the urban ecology of Saint Louis; development of content for a new Bay Observatory at the Exploratorium, a science museum in San Francisco; and design and advocacy initiatives with several New Orleans organizations, including Longue Vue House and Gardens, Dutch Dialogues, and Make It Right. She has also written about the history of land reclamation in the Netherlands, the landscape design projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the political and ethnographic implications of Gertrude Jekyll’s gardens and gardening books. Her work has been supported by two Fulbright scholarships, the Graduate School of Design’s Charles Eliot travelling fellowship, and grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the LEF Foundation, and the Great Valley Center.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
With a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it, the Harvard Museum of Natural History draws on the University’s collections and research to present a historic and interdisciplinary exploration of science and nature. More than 180,000 visitors annually make it the University’s most-visited museum.

Open daily, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is located at 26 Oxford Street, a short walk from the Harvard Square Red Line T station. The museum is handicapped accessible. For general information see the plan your visit page or call 617-495-3045.

The press release is available for download in pdf format.