• 2015 BSHort - Maya Czulewicz: Confidence To Face The Unknown In Gardens Near And Far

      Horticulture major Maya Czulewicz might be a little hard to pin down after graduation.

      On any given day she might be at the Morris Arboretum or you might find her at the Wyck Rose Garden. While others might find the prospect of two tandem jobs daunting, Czulewicz wanted the multi-faceted opportunities to hone her craft that each position brings.

      “I’ve never been someone who just wanted to do one thing and these are both very different experiences,” said Maya Czulewicz, 36, who will be one of the two student speakers at this year’s School of Environmental Design Graduation Ceremony. “Morris Arboretum is very labor heavy; Wyck’s rose gardens are among the oldest in America — both jobs emphasize technique. I’m looking forward to refining my skills and technical mastery in these wonderful outdoor landscapes; both locations have a lot of strong Temple connections.”

      The connections between Wyck and Temple University Ambler in particular run deep. Wyck, a National Historic Landmark house, garden, and farm in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, served as the ancestral home to the Wistar-Haines family for over nine generations. Jane Bowne Haines established the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women — the forerunner of what would become the Ambler Campus — ushering in more than a century of environmental education and stewardship.

      “This year actually marks the 100th graduation ceremony held at the Ambler Campus and it’s an honor to be part of that history. I want to talk about what was taking place in 1915, what were some of the technologies being used then, and place horticulture, landscape architecture, planning into an historical and cultural context,” Czulewicz said. “What was being built then and the techniques that were being used to create them were happening because the world was ready for them. The same can be said for what is taking place in these very rapidly changing fields today.”

      Temple’s Certificate in Horticultural Therapy offered at the Ambler Campus first drew Czulewicz to the university. Upon graduation however, she will depart with her bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and completed certificates in both horticultural therapy and environmental sustainability.

      “As a kid, I remember taking nature walks with my grandmother and my cousin in Connecticut; I was very much an environmentalist, but lost some of that along the way. Horticultural Therapy completely rekindled my love of nature and gardening and the outdoors,” she said. “It’s a beautiful field and something I believe in very strongly. Temple’s program has given me the confidence and the practical knowledge to face all of the unknowns that are bound to exist in the real world — gardens are always unpredictable, there’s always going to be unknowns.”

      Since starting at Temple, Czulewicz has been a staple in the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University and the Ambler Campus Greenhouse.

      “My experience as a student is completely intertwined with my involvement as a student worker. For a horticulturist, it didn’t make any sense not to be in the gardens as much as possible,” she said. “Going from being here just during the summer months at first to being on campus year round for almost three years has been wonderful. I’ve gain so much from working in the arboretum, in the greenhouse and on Temple’s Philadelphia Flower Show exhibits. It’s the most practical application of what I’m learning in the classroom that I can think of.”

      Czulewicz will be the first to tell you that her entrance into the horticulture profession was anything but beeline straight. She came to horticulture by way of Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Alexandre Dumas.

      “I was a double major, French Literature and Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. I lost my scientific mind for a little while and focused on completing my French degree,” she said. “In my 20’s, I taught English as a Second Language while living in Paris. I immersed myself in the culture but while some people were telling me I should become a French professor, I came to the realization that wasn’t something I wanted to do.”

      Returning the states, she took a job with a French/American Preschool where, in addition to other studies, she worked with the children in the school’s gardens. It was a light bulb moment, Czulewicz said.

      “It was like ‘Oh yeah, this is me, growing and cultivating, working with my hands’ — the spark was back. Combining all of these experiences, I now have the confidence to create a practical life for myself,” she said. “I know I’ll always be a student; I’ll always be a lifelong learner. Temple has given me a lot of empowerment in that process. I’m ready to tie it all together now — I’m ready to enter the real world. At least Temple says I’m ready. I think they’re right.”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -



  • 2014 BSLA - Thu Ngan Han: Plotting The Future Of Her Community

      There is a garden in the Lawncrest section of Philadelphia that didn’t exist two years ago.

      The 25-plot community garden required buy in from the niehgborhood, city officials and a variety of city groups, but with Temple University Landscape Architecture major Thu Ngan Han leading the charge, fresh vegetables will soon by popping up in abundance as the garden’s second growing season gets underway.

      “With Temple’s landscape architecture program, we are given the opportunity to work on a lot of urban community-based projects in addition to being given a solid background in plants and ecology — in our profession you’re working with plants all of the time so from a practical sense it’s essential to have an understanding of what does and doesn’t work,” said Han, 23, who will complete her B.S. in Landscape Architecture this month with a stellar 3.85 grade point average. “Last year I decided to implement a project in my own neighborhood to create a community garden. It helped immensely that I could speak about the horticultural aspects of a project like this and explain the benefits to my neighbors who really embraced the idea.”

      Next stop City Hall. Her timing, Han said, couldn’t have been better as the city’s Office of the Managing Director had recently kicked off the PhillyRising Collaborative, designed to help rebuild city communities.

      “The perfect spot was in a city park in my neighborhood — there was a lot of activity, a lot of kids. Since it was city property, we of course needed permission,” she said. “We also needed the support of the nearby library, recreation center and firehouse. All of the city groups ended up supporting the idea; the recreation center and the library now have plots of their own! We also partnered with TreePhily (a Philadelphia Parks and Recreation program) who donated several trees that, in time, will grow into shade trees.”

      For just $10 a season, families and community organizations have their own garden plot to tend to and fresh produce to enjoy all season, Han said.

      “I love being out in the garden on my own. Kids will come over and ask what I’m doing,” she said. “I’ll talk to them about what I decided to grow and you can see the interest, the curiosity — it’s a great educational opportunity. My goal is to start a summer education program in cooperation with the recreation center and the library to get the neighborhood kids fully involved in a hands-on learning experience.”

      While at Temple, Han has taken every opportunity to expand her own educational experiences. In the classroom, she was one of three group leaders for Temple’s award-winning 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit, “WILDE! Cultivating wonder in everyday places,” and is currently completing an urban design studio project focusing on mixed-uses for a trail system along the Schuylkill River. A University Honors student, Han was also a Diamond Peer Teacher and in Fall 2013 headed overseas for a study abroad experience in Rome.

      “I was able to travel a lot — Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and within Italy,” she said. “I was able to see what has lasted and what can be accomplished, which is very empowering.”

      Outside of the classroom, Han was president of the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Association and a member of the Sigma Lambda Alpha National Honors Society and the student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

      “One of the reasons I went to Temple was because you have so many options and opportunities. When I first started, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but Temple is a place to explore that,” she said. “I was able to take courses in all of my interests — psychology, drawing, acting — and graduate with a very well rounded education.”

      Han said upon graduation she would like to continue to focus her talents on improving urban environments.

      “I’m particularly interested in strengthening urban communities,” she said. “Where someone might see a degraded landscape, I see potential. I want to work with communities to reclaim the landscape.”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • 2015 BSHort - Terry Cinque: A Horticulture Odyssey

      John Lennon famously sang “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

      Terry Cinque is living proof. In January, Cinque completed a 16-year journey that has culminated in an Associate’s degree in Horticulture.

      While it’s been an epic quest that would make Odysseus envious, Cinque’s answer to the question “Why so long?” is quite simple — “Family first.”

      “I had been working full-time as a radiologic technologist for more than 25 years at Nazareth Hospital and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. When my kids were born, I began working part-time so when one went off to school and then the other to pre-school, I was looking for something to do,” said Cinque, 54 of Abington. “I had a lifelong interest in horticulture and gardening, so I decided to give Fundamentals of Horticulture a try in 1997 and fell in love with the (Ambler) campus. As luck would have it, that first class served as an eye-opening introduction to formal education in a subject that fascinated me.”

      Cinque said when she started taking courses she didn’t have a specific goal in mind beyond giving herself skills to possibly pursue alternative career options.

      “I took classes that I could apply to things that I liked to do and I took them whenever I could fit them with my kids’ schedules — swimming, after-school programs, ‘mom’ duties,’” she said. “My children were always my first priority but as they moved on to high school and then college, I was able to take more classes.”

      Cinque took enough classes to complete the Landscape Plants certificate program and followed that up with a Horticultural Therapy certificate, “then I realized I wasn’t that far from my Associate’s degree in Horticulture.” She hunkered down for the last two and a half years to reach the finish line.

      “I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college right out of high school — with family and financial situations, it just wasn’t in the cards,” she said. “When I went back to college, I made a bet with my son that I’d earn a degree before he did. I just beat him — he graduates this month.”

      Cinque completed her program with a 4.0 grade point average, something she is very proud of.

      “I can’t do anything less than full effort. I try to use that as an incentive for my kids — when semester grades come in, they’ll say ‘Let me guess, another A.’ I know they’re proud of me,” she said.  “I think if anything, it’s made me more sympathetic to what my son and daughter go through. I know what I went through taking one or two classes at a time; they are taking four or five!”

      For many adult learners, returning to the classroom and juggling home and work responsibilities would have been enough plates to keep spinning. Not for Cinque, however.

      A dedicated volunteer in her own community, she devoted what time she had to the betterment of the campus community as an officer and student government representative for Pi Alpha Xi, the honors society for horticulture majors; joining the Ambler Campus Program Board; taking on the John Paul Endicott Summer Internship in the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University; and participating in any number of campus events, from semi-formals to Sustainability Action Days.

      “I was an active community volunteer for many years, particularly associated to my children’s recreational and school activities. For the last few years, I’ve shifted my efforts to my own school activities,” she said. “I’ve always felt that if you have the ability to do something, you should do it. By becoming involved on campus, I’ve made a lot of valuable connections and lifelong friendships.”

      If history is any indicator, Cinque’s journey still isn’t over.

      “These past 16 years have repeatedly fed my curiosity and expanded my knowledge of botany, plant ecology, herbaceous and wood plants, entomology, plant propagation and food crops,” she said. “I know I’ll be coming back for one class to complete theSustainable Food Systems certificate. My ultimate goal is to work with a youth horticultural education program.”

      Cinque, however, is non-committal as to whether a bachelor’s degree — or something further up the scale — is in her future.

      “I know I’m going to be continuing my community involvement and volunteer projects while applying the knowledge I’ve gained through my coursework,” she said. “Beyond that, it’s a little up in the air.”

      Take that as a definite “maybe.”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • 2014 BSLA - Allison Hanna: Landscape Architecture From Start To Finish

      For most of her life, Allison Hanna didn’t think college was in the cards for her. That is until she hit it big in Vegas.

      “When I was a freshman in high school, I went through a career evaluation and found horticulture and landscaping might be for me — that’s when I found out all there is you can do in the landscape architecture field,” said Hanna, 21, from Mechanicsburg. “In my junior year at the local (vocational technical) school, two teachers saw potential in me and suggested that I started entering competitions. They sent me to Las Vegas — they threw me right into the deep end, which was a very scary, but very amazing experience.”

      Fourth place in the residential construction management competition at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show was followed by second place for a project that Hanna led in her senior year. Combined with smaller regional competitions where she discovered she “loved talking about what I was creating and had become quite adept with CAD,” she knew she had found her calling.  

      Hanna is the first in her family to attend college right out of high school. On May 15, she will complete her B.S. in Landscape Architecture and will also serve as the student speaker for the School of Environmental Design Graduation Ceremony.

      “I wanted to find something that I loved — I was around people all I my life who were not really happy with their jobs. I wanted to start with a job that I would be happy with my entire life,” she said. “There are so many different ways to go with landscape architecture. It’s a very multidisciplinary field — engineering, architecture, horticulture, civil engineering, design-build. I love being in a field where you can see a project the whole way through from idea to end product.”

      Since entering Temple’s Landscape Architecture program — “My mother and I came to Temple Ambler on many visits and every time I knew I was going to come here.” — Hanna has had numerous opportunities to put her passion for the field to good use.

      From Temple’s award-winning 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibit, “WILDE! Cultivating wonder in everyday places,” for which she was a project manager, to creating a master plan for the historic Daylesford Abbey in Paoli — a project recently honored with a Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects — Hanna has focused her energies on taking community projects to completion.

      “I think a true benefit of a project like Daylesford Abbey was actually working with members of the Abbey community, learning what they wanted and helping them to achieve their goals. It really provided them with an introduction to the field of landscape architecture and they were very receptive to our ideas. In the end, they said we knew more about the Abbey than they did!” said Hanna, who is graduating with a 3.6 grade point average. “You don’t get community interaction and design-build experiences like this or like the Flower Show at other universities. We’re learning what to do and what not to do, we’re learning how to working in groups toward a common goal, on projects that have real world considerations before we ever leave the classroom.”

      Hanna hasn’t contented herself with excelling just in the classroom either. During her freshman year, she joined the National Society of Leadership and Success, “and I realized I was missing out on an essential part of what I thought college should be — I wanted to do more.”

      Fast forward four years and Hanna has added Owl Ambassador and memberships in the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Association, Sigma Lambda Alpha Landscape Architecture Honor Society, Golden Key Honor Society and the student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects to her résumé, capping it all off by tackling the top rolls in student leadership as vice president and then president of the Ambler Campus Student Government Association.

      “In my junior year, I really didn’t know what student government was all about, but we learned as a group and we focused on what we could do to help the students of this campus. As a student that’s what I’d want for myself in our student leaders,” she said. “My goal has always been to get more people involved — if you don’t see an organization or event that interests you, make it happen. For someone who wasn’t from this area, getting involved was essential to my college experience — Ambler, and Temple as a whole, welcomed me like family.” 

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • 2014 BSHort - Denise Snook: Stopping To Smell The Roses

      For Denise Snook everything is literally coming up roses.

      Upon completing her bachelor’s degree in Horticulture at Temple in December, Snook settled into a career as the Horticulturist, Landscape Manager and Rosarian at Wyck, a National Historic Landmark house, garden and farm in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, which served as the ancestral home to the Wistar-Haines family for over nine generations.

      “I’m responsible for the care, interpretation and propagation of the Wyck roses, which isn’t something I take lightly. This is one of the oldest rose gardens in America,” said Snook, 32, of Philadelphia. “I also am involved with the festivals at Wyck, speak at local events and teach a rose workshop series on the history and propagation of the roses. I’m looking at beginning ethnobotany and plant medicine workshops. Initially upon graduation I was exploring graduate school, but this has been such a perfect fit for me.”

      The connections between Wyck and Temple University Ambler run deep. Jane Bowne Haines established the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women — the forerunner of what would become the Ambler Campus — ushering in more than a century of environmental education and stewardship.

      “That connection, to me, is incredibly important. I want to continue to explore the botanical and horticultural history of both locations as they have deeply impacted the history of horticulture in the Philadelphia area and throughout the country,” Snook said. “I’d like to connect the two landscapes in a significant way within the context of their horticultural impact.”  

      A Diamond Peer Teacher, Teaching Assistant and Diamond Research Scholar — a competitive undergraduate program providing the opportunity to engage in a funded research project — Snook was as comfortable in the lab as she was in the gardens, publishing several horticultural research pieces with her mentor, Temple Assistant Professor of Horticulture Dr. Sasha Eisenman.

      “I came to Temple having studied ethnobotany (the study of the relationships that exist between people and plants) with traditional healers in the western hemisphere and studying herbal medicine in Vermont — in exchange for teaching me, I tended their garden. I have a very diverse plant palette thanks those experiences in combination to what we were able to accomplish while I was a student at Ambler,” she said. “I was able to go much more in depth with the taxonomy and botanical history of the plants, which ties directly into what I do at Wyck. I understand the provenance and context of the roses and have a strong background in all of the plants in Wyck’s gardens.”  

      While a student, Snook helped coordinate a joint carbon offset project between Temple, the Ambler Arboretum, the Philadelphia Zoo and Fairmount Park, helping to oversee the propagation of more than 1,000 trees to be planted at the park. As president of Pi Alpha Xi, the national honors society for horticulture majors, she additionally organized several “Sustainability Action Days” on campus, recruiting volunteers to help clear invasive plant species in the campus woodland gardens.

      Adeptly juggling many responsibilities inside and outside of the classroom, Snook was up to every challenge afforded her and graduated summa cum laude with a perfect 4.0 average.

      “The things that were priorities to me — the projects that took the most time and effort — were all focused on things that I love to do. None of it ever felt like work to me,” she said. “I don’t recall ever being stressed or feeling like any of it was a burden — things had to be done when they had to be done. The research was detailed and a lot of work went into it, but to me, it was a fun addition that provided me with terrific experience moving into my profession.” 

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • 2015 BSLA - Jerome Hinds: Improving Communities Before Leaving The Classroom

      Before ever setting foot outside of a classroom. Jerome Hinds knows he has the practical experience necessary to make a positive impact on communities large and small.

      “With Temple’s programs in general, you gain a ton of practical knowledge. You’re rarely involved in projects that are strictly design — for most of them, you are working with a real world ‘client’ to achieve, or at least suggest, outcomes,” said Hinds, who will graduate with a degree in Landscape Architecture. “My Temple experience has been challenging in the best way possible. There is so much to know in landscape architecture and I’ve learned so much from people who are practitioners in the field.”

      Hinds said he originally came to Temple to pursue a career in architecture but soon discovered “I had a particular interest in plants and research.”

      “I came across landscape architecture and it seemed to truly combine many of my interests — engineering, urban design, sustainable design. I’m hoping to get involved with stormwater management because I enjoy the engineering and design aspects of the field,” he said. “Stormwater management is becoming increasingly important in the region as flooding continues to be a serious issue. I think what makes Temple’s landscape architecture program unique is that a lot of what you’re learning is almost immediately applicable; it’s practical and hands-on.”

      The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture’s entries into the Philadelphia Flower Show each year are a perfect example “of taking classroom knowledge and using it to practical effect,” Hinds said. Hinds was a student member of the team that created Temple’s multiple award-winning 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit — Tamanend’s Track: The Path to a Portrayal of the Past — during his junior year.

      “The Flower Show process is both fun and very challenging. There are so many different elements that you have to ensure will work cohesively,” he said. “What seems to initially work for one part of the exhibit, might not work at all when it is part of the whole and when that happens, you have to work as a team to problem solve. This was one of the first projects where I gained hands-on building experience. I learned a great deal from faculty and fellow students during the process.”

      The Flower Show exhibit is just one of several studio projects that not only teach students landscape architecture techniques but also provide valuable community service.

      “During the fall semester, the studio was involved in developing plans to ‘green up’ the schoolyard of the Clara Barton School in Bordentown, New Jersey. The goal was to fundamentally change the environment of the school from predominantly asphalt to green spaces that support hands-on education,” he said. “All of our work on the project was used to produce a hardbound book, which was provided to the school.”

      The project — Asphalt to Green Space: Clara Barton Eco Schoolyard — was recently honored with a Merit Award by the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in the “Communications” category.  

      For the ASLA student awards, the Communication Category “recognizes achievements in communicating landscape architecture history, art, technology, theory and practice to those within or outside the profession.” During the spring semester, Hinds’ studio class is taking a similar comprehensive approach to improving a section of the waterfront in historically industrial Troy, New York.

      During the 2014-2015 school year, Hinds decided to enhance his skills outside of the classroom as well. He stepped “way outside” of his comfort zone and became president of the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Student Association (LAHA).

      “This was the first time I decided to take on a major leadership role during my college career — I wanted to really push myself. I took part in the Emerging Leaders Seminar offered by the Office of Student Life,” he said. “The seminar series talks about ‘challenging the process,’ ‘inspiring shared vision,’ enabling others to act,’ ‘modeling the way’ and ‘encouraging the heart.’ Since that program, I’ve used these five ideas to enhance my leadership skills and for personal development in my daily life.”

      With LAHA, Hinds has put his practical knowledge to good use working on landscape architecture projects with organizations such as PhilaNOMA (Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects) and Variety Club.

      Hinds helped to coordinate a planting, building and weeding project at Lighthouse Field in Philadelphia to support the Love & Light! — NOMA 2014 Community Legacy Project, sponsored by PhilaNOMA.

      “The project drew volunteers from multiple Temple majors. Working with the Temple Architecture Department and the Temple Architectural Student Association, we led the design of an adolescent garden. LAHA was a major contributor thanks to our skill set in plant selection and landscape layout,” said Hinds, who was honored this year with a School of Environmental Design Alumni Association Award, recognizing “dedication, unselfishness and contribution to the School of Environmental Design.” “Our plant identification skills were particularly critical. On the day we implemented our schematic design, many unwanted and invasive plants had to be identified and removed.”

      For spring 2015, LAHA is working with Variety Club, a non-profit organization that provides after school and summer services for children with disabilities, to revitalize a pond and its surrounding area located at a Variety Club Camp in Worcester.

      “One of our primary goals is to create an outdoor space that provides educational experiences for all five senses. Our main ‘clients’ here are the children; developing a space that will be of greatest benefit to them,” he said. “This is a project that will continue well past the end of the semester. We are currently working with Variety Club to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy to ensure project success.”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • David Heckman

    .........................David Heckman.....

    • Website:Temple Ambler Campus News and Announcements
    • David Heckman, BSLA 2018: Designing Places For People

      David Heckman’s draw toward a career in Landscape Architecture was, fittingly, quite natural.

      “I liked being outside. In high school, I was very much into music, but I knew that wasn’t my career path,” said Heckman, 29, of Spring Mount, who is departing Temple University with a degree in Landscape Architecture. “I discovered landscape architecture at Temple. I really enjoy the combination of scientific analysis with creativity and art.”

      Heckman initially arrived at Temple fresh out of high school in 2007 seeking a degree in biology with a focus on horticulture. After taking a few years detour working for a landscaping company and a local Wawa, Heckman said he knew it was time to return to the classroom.

      “I knew that in order to achieve my long term goals I needed go back to college to finish what I started,” he said. “One thing I’ve really enjoyed about Temple’s Landscape Architecture program is that there has been a great deal of variety in the studio projects, both suburban and urban, that I’ve been able to work on. You also work closely with the horticulture students and really get to know your plant material and what goes together, something you don’t find in most landscape architecture programs.”

      Heckman has had the opportunity to take a deep dive into design with two Philadelphia Flower Show experiences under his belt. He was among the team of students to design and build Temple’s 2017 award-winning exhibit, Nieuwpolders: Regenerating the Dutch Custom of Land Recovery. He also volunteered his time to help put the finishing touches on the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture’s 2018 exhibit, Within Reach: Unlocking the Legacy of Our Hidden River, which also garnered several awards.

      “I was fortunate in that I had some background in design-build and using tools. For some of the students, this was all new to them so I took the opportunity to provide some mentorship. The Flower Show is an empowering, invigorating and at the same time exhausting experience,” he said. “It’s a lot of trial and error, keeping what works and moving on from what doesn’t. For Nieuwpolders, I built a windmill for a space where there is no wind — the Convention Center — and after many, many hours of trying to get it to rotate, it finally worked. Those are proud moments.”

      During his time at Temple, Heckman said he and his fellow students have had the opportunity to work with a variety of real world “clients,” providing design concepts and plans that in any cases have become reality.

      “At the Fox Chase Cancer Center, we designed two courtyards and a healing garden. More recently, we worked on envisioning plans for facilities for Leg Up Farm at the Ambler Campus,” he said. “I’m very proud of a lot of the work we’ve been able to produce. I think when it comes to design; the only way to do it wrong is to ignore the facts. Whether a path goes one way or another is an aesthetic choice but if you’re dealing with a location where the ground slopes a certain way and you choose to ignore that fact, that’s going to result in a bad design.”

      Back home, Heckman is already putting what he has learned inside and outside the classroom to good use. He has been a member of the Spring Mount Parks and Recreation Board for nine months.

      “It is my hometown and having the opportunity to help in some way was very important to me,” he said. “It’s still rural and we’d like it to stay rural, within reason.”

      Like a lot of small towns, Heckman said, development has occurred randomly, which has fractured open space — a detriment to animal habitats and ecosystems — and provides little infrastructure for sidewalks or cyclists.

      “We are working on developing a trail system in addition to creating a 25 to 50-year master plan for the entire park system,” he said. “We’re going to reach out to the community — data collection and statistical analysis — and determine what they would like to see in the parks. At the end of the day, it is all about what the community needs.”

      Outside of the classroom and board meetings, Heckman is a member of the team at Land Stewards, an ecological design-build maintenance company, where he will be continuing his career following graduation.

      “It is a great group of people and I’m learning a lot from them; there are a lot of opportunities for collaboration. I want to continue to explore ecological design in the public sector,” he said. “I want to build places that everyone can enjoy and get something out of. I’d much rather be working on a central square in Gettysburg than someone’s backyard!”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • 2016 BSLA - Andrew Sargeant: The Art Of Community-Oriented Design

      Andrew Sargeant can trace his interest in landscape architecture and design to some of his earliest memories — a comprehensive set of Legos will do that to you.

      Building upon his early creativity, day trips with friends to New York — located just minutes from his family home — provided him with a general understanding of the complexities of cityscapes and a desire to learn much more.

      “I attended a magnet high school where I was able to take pre-engineering and environmental science classes. It was where I was introduced to the idea of landscape architecture as a career, which I felt was a marriage of the disciplines,” said Sargeant, who will graduate with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture. “I began to understand early on that everything we design, everything we build, has an impact. Sustainable design consequently can have a positive impact across the board — environmentally, economically, culturally, socially.”

      After attending Rutgers University-New Brunswick for two years, Sargeant turned his interest toward the learning opportunities Philadelphia held. Temple’s Landscape Architecture program, he said, provided to be the perfect fit, providing him with the living laboratory of the Ambler Campus’ arboretum and the urban environments of Main Campus and its surroundings.

      “(Landscape architect) David Rubin developed a philosophy of ‘empathy-driven design,’ the idea that design should be applicable to all walks of life, that it should be the best answer for everyone involved. That definitely resonated with me,” he said. “I’ve become particularly interested in urban design and community-oriented design in particular; I feel that’s where I can have the most positive impact.”

      Philadelphia, Sargeant said, is currently enjoying a true resurgence, “with the most people moving back to the city in 20 years.”

      “While Philadelphia has all of the critical concerns of any major city, in the neighborhoods that I’ve had the opportunity to work with through the landscape architecture program I’ve found a very strong sense of community and a great sense of stewardship,” he said. “As a landscape architect, I want to be able to actively engage with community members and organizations to ultimately achieve successful designs. As a student of landscape design and a resident of Philadelphia, I see myself as an important stakeholder and advocate for change in the city where I live and hope to pursue my career.”

      Temple’s Landscape Architecture program places an emphasis on practicality, Sargeant said. Students engage in ample design-build experience and develop a deep knowledge of the plant material that is essential for any landscape design.

      “In many cases, we’re working with real world clients, sites and neighborhoods that have tangible goals and constraints. We’re not drawing things out of thin air and I think that helps you become a better designer,” he said. “The teachers are phenomenal and they all have years of experience in the field. (Landscape Architecture Professor) Lolly Tai in particular has really influenced me as a person, designer and student — she pushes you to go beyond your threshold and brings out your best work.”

      In Dr. Tai’s senior studio, Sargeant and his fellow students are currently working in collaboration with The Friends of Mount Moriah, “a volunteer organization that recently assumed responsibility for a forgotten 140-acre cemetery in Southwest Philadelphia.”

      “We plan to publish not only our design interventions but also our extensive inventory and analysis of the project in the hope that Mount Moriah can use the document to attract new members and acquire grant funding,” he said. “While at Temple, I have worked on projects ranging from neighborhood master plans to community open spaces. Apparent in all these projects is the ideal that in order to shape livable communities, a landscape architect must truly understand the community through engagement and observation.”

      Sargeant, President of the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Association at the Ambler Campus, was also a member of the team that created 2015’s multiple award-winning “Star Power: Casts of Light that Stir and Spellbind” exhibit for the Philadelphia Flower Show.

      “That was a project that truly took me out of my comfort zone. At the beginning, I didn’t even know what half of the tools were,” he laughed. “The Flower Show is unlike any other experience — we have to approach the project aesthetically, sustainably and economically. There is so much teamwork involved in order to take so many individual pieces and ideas and design and build all of that into one exhibit.” 

      Sargeant’s dedication to honing his craft has certainly not gone unnoticed. He was recently named a 2016 University Olmsted Scholar in the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s national Olmstead Scholars Program. He was one of just 32 undergraduates from 57 universities across the United States and Canada to receive the distinction.

      He has also received several awards and honors from Temple, most recently being recognized with an Alumni Association Award for “dedication, unselfishness and contributions to the department.”

      Sargeant hasn’t kept his skills to just academic projects. His interest in community oriented design has provided him with opportunities “to engage in a number of community service projects within in the city,” he said.

      “I led a service learning effort to renovate a community garden and outdoor classroom space in North Philadelphia. The goal of the project was to teach young children about the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables within the urban environment,” he said. “Philadelphia struggles with the issue of ‘food deserts,’ which prevents residents, especially young children, from obtaining affordable and nutritious food. It’s a disheartening reality but I remained optimistic — sustainable design allows our profession to address and hopefully help rectify societal problems within our communities.”

      As he heads toward graduation, Sargeant has his sights set on completing the requirements for landscape architect licensure while beginning his professional career — he fully intends on staying within Philadelphia.

      “The Landscape Architecture program is very well respected in the Philadelphia region and, I think, for good reason. My Temple experience has been great from start to finish — I’ve been able to take advantage of opportunities, gain valuable real world experience and work with clients that I don’t think would have been available to me in any other program,” said Sargeant, who also took advantage of Temple’s study aboard program to hone his craft at the Rome Campus in Fall 2015. “I think Temple as a whole has really pushed it to another level in recent years — I know I’m leaving with the skills to make a positive impact. I can wait to be a Temple alumnus!”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • 2016 BSLA - Liam Cleary: Service To The Country, Service To The Community

      Liam Cleary wants to set the record straight. Being in a country that is predominantly desert, doesn’t mean it’s always hot.

      He knows this from experience. Cleary, 34, of Lederach, served for seven years with the United States Army 82nd Airborne, achieving the rank of sergeant. His time in the Army included being part of the support service response and relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, a 16-month tour in Afghanistan and a year in Egypt.

      “In Afghanistan, the war occurs in the mountains. When you are 7,000 feet up, it can get to be -20 degrees at night,” said Cleary, who will graduate with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture. “In Egypt, I experienced a 500-year storm where roads were simply wiped out, they were just gone. During my military experience, I saw a lot of the ways that the hand of man has negatively impacted the landscape.”

      Having grown up on a small farm in Schwenksville, Cleary has a special bond with the world around him. After departing the military in fall 2011, he was back in the classroom by October of that year. It didn’t take long to discover his passion and land firmly in Temple’s Landscape Architecture program.

      “I worked for a small landscape company for a time, which started my interest for designing landscapes. The Ambler Campus, with all of its gardens, has been an excellent learning environment,” he said. “The fact that it is a 4-year program, that there is so much value in the curriculum and the cost of tuition at Temple is incredibly reasonable made this the right place for me to continue crafting my skills. The size of the department guarantees you’ll receive personalized attention, the resources are top notch and the faculty are amazing.”

      Cleary said Temple’s support structure for veterans returning to the classroom has also been exemplary.

      “From the Temple Veterans Association to the bursar’s office to registration, there is a very strong support structure here. They do a good job of knowing how to help you maximize your benefits,” he said. “They are constantly reaching out to see if you need anything. For some of my veteran friends that do struggle, it’s vital; it can get them the assistance they need.”

      According to Cleary, his landscape architecture studios have provided ample opportunity to work with real world clients on projects “that take reality completely into account.” Most recently he and his peers worked with “clients” from Bartram’s Garden, America’s first botanical garden.

      “We were working in Bartram’s Green, the southern third portion of the property, which includes a constructed wetland, community farm and a trail system that is under construction,” he said. “We were tasked with designing options to help them move forward with a master plan. We met with people from Bartram’s seven or eight times; there was open communication and of lot of feedback on our designs to help adjust and improve them.”

      Working with actually companies and organizations, Cleary said, provides “a much more authentic experience.” With his personal experience in design and construction he has also had the opportunity to mentor his peers. Cleary has been part of two teams of students that created multiple award-winning exhibits for the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2015 and 2016.

      “Our projects aren’t ‘what if’ situations. You’re not designing in a vacuum,” he said. “They have very clear goals, parameters and deadlines that need to be met. There is a very welcome practicality to what we are learning.”

      Throughout his time at Temple, Cleary has effectively balanced school, work and home with the constant support of his wife Elizabeth and son Vincent, who will turn two in May. Cleary is currently working part-time at KMS Design Group in Phoenixville while he completes his degree.

      “In the military you learn to work with a large variety of people in some very extreme settings and I think that’s carried over into my degree program,” he said. “The settings certainly aren’t as extreme, but the diversity of students is excellent. You can’t help but learn something from everyone in the class.”

      One of the greatest benefits from his military experience, Cleary said, “is my ability to work for extended periods of time.”

      “Time management is essential to prioritize your assignments, work and personal life,” he said. “I pick when I need to sleep and make sure I see my wife and son every day.”

      And while receiving his diploma is certainly an exciting prospect, he’s expecting another bundle of joy that has him smiling from ear to ear — baby number two arrives in July! He is also heading to a landscape design firm full-time after graduation, though he’s reticent to say the name of the firm out loud for fear of jinxing himself.

      “One of the other things I want to do immediately is start preparing for (Landscape Architect) licensure. I’d also like to explore graduate school a few years down the road,” he said. “My Temple experience has truly been a whirlwind; I can’t believe it’s nearly done. The quality of work expected in the program has always been at a very high level, which I think has ultimately prepared me to be a successful practitioner of landscape architecture.” 

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.   Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • Alexis Bacon

    2016 BSHort - Alexis Bacon: Planting Seeds For The Future

      Horticulture major Alexis Bacon doesn’t consider herself an entrepreneur, but she should.

      She had already started two businesses before she turned 24, including a gardening business for several landowners in Chester County. Add in tutoring students in math, English and history outside of Temple and teaching a photography elective at her former high school and it’s clear that Bacon, 24, of Pottstown, knows a little something about self motivation. 

      It’s a trait she might have picked up from her grandfather, Erwin Bacon.

      “My grandfather’s retirement plan consisted of moving to Cornish, Maine, where he had a wonderful view of Mount Washington,” said Bacon, who will graduate from Temple with a degree in Horticulture. “After reading a book about it, he started his own blueberry farm; he was completely self taught. I think that’s something I try to emulate — he was never afraid to simply try it and see what came of it. I’ve always admired that about him.”

      Bacon worked at her grandfather’s farm during the summers in 2011 and 2012, assisting with farm advertising and promotion and digging in for various horticultural tasks from pruning and mowing to weeding and harvesting. Working outside has never been something Bacon has shied away from. In fact her life has been centered on quite the opposite.

      “Every memory I have from my childhood occurred outside. If it happened in the living room, I don’t really remember anything about it,” she laughed. “If it happened outside by the persimmon tree, it’s as clear as day.”

      Her parents, Seth and Sandra Bacon, kept a thriving vegetable garden and various perennials, Bacon said. Seth Bacon is also a soil scientist, focusing on wetland delineation. 

      “Growing up provided me the perfect motivation to go into horticulture,” she said.

      Bacon, however, arrived at Temple by taking the scenic route. She began her college career at Smith College in Northampton, Maine. She was initially an Architecture major with a minor in Landscape Studies. Transferring to Temple after her sophomore year, “I knew I wanted my future to be outside,” she said.

      “I had heard that Temple had a very good Horticulture program. I came for a visit and was very impressed by the people at Temple Ambler,” she said. “When I first starting looking for college, I think I looked at 18 or 19 places and then looked even more. Temple was the first place that I felt at home; that I felt fit my personality.”

      While attending Temple, Bacon has expanded her horticultural knowledge outside of the classroom with part-time positions in the industry. At Bromm’s Lullaby Farms in Fountainville, she worked in the garden center and also developed some of the business’s marketing materials. At Bucks Country Gardens in Doylestown she assisted in the perennial, annual and pond departments in addition to designing and planning seasonal containers.

      Between work and school, she also managed to become self taught in photography and start her own “botanical photography greeting card business,” selling her wares in five specialty stories before opting to focus on school and maintaining her impressively high grade point average. On campus, she also helped to found the Ambler Arts Association, providing artists and photographers an outlet to show off their talents to the University community.

      “It was not hard to take on a leadership role and get something started on campus,” she said. “Everyone at Ambler has always been very supportive of students’ ideas and endeavors.”

      Bacon said her true passion remains plants and teaching others about them. After graduation, her next stop is the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College where she will be their Education intern for the next year.

      “I’m looking forward to working at Scott Arboretum and combining horticulture with education,” she said. “I think it will be a job that allows me to combine my interests in writing, photography and teaching with my love of plants and the outdoors. It’s a natural fit.”

      Down the road, Bacon said she would like to teach gardening and the sciences and plans to pursue a master’s degree in teaching or forestry. Nearer term, but not right away, she’d like to head to Scotland and explore “WWOOFING,” short for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

      “It’s an organization that connects volunteers with organic farms and growers,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to travel, to learn more about horticulture and organic farming all over the world. That’s not something I’d pass up.”

      Temple’s horticulture program, Bacon said, highlights “practical, hands-on opportunities that have provided me with a wide range of experiences.”

      “I know what the field is about. I know what careers are out there and I’m ready with the skills to be a part of it,” she said. “Temple, I think, gives students the opportunity and independence to do their own thing, to find their true passion. For one project, I talked to a teacher about going into the woodland garden and setting up a research plot; it was an amazing experience! Where else could you take a piece of campus and make it your own?”

      Article Written by Jim Duffy, MSEd Public Relations and Website Coordinator.  Temple University Ambler Administration Building 

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -


  • Letter to the Landscape Architecture & Horticulture Alumni

      The a new academic year is upon us with exciting news.

      The department is pleased to announce the new Division of Architecture and Environmental Design (AED). The new division brings the Community and Regional Planning Department, the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Department and the Center for Sustainable Communities together with the Architecture Department within the Tyler School of Art. This new division builds on the academic synergies that exist between built and natural design disciplines that will spur curricular development and offer new opportunities for collaboration with students and faculty members across the 5 disciplines. 

      Professor Kate Wingert-Playdon has been appointed as the first Associate Dean of the division. Professor Wingert-Playdon, former Architecture Department Chair, is an accomplished scholar in cultural landscapes who brings significant leadership and administrative experience to her post. 

      There is an essential commonality among Temple University’s departments of Architecture, Community and Regional Planning, and Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, as well as the Center for Sustainable Communities: Through hands-on education and research, each is dedicated to ensuring that built and natural environments work together as a whole. Recognizing the connections among those units, the Temple University Board of Trustees approved the transition of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture and the Department of Community and Regional Planning to the Tyler School of Art. They will reside with the Department of Architecture and the Center for Sustainable Communities in the newly formed Division of Architecture and Environmental Design.

      “We aim to put Temple and Tyler on par with other highly ranked programs focusing on the built environment,” said Hester Stinnett, TYL ’82, Tyler’s interim dean. “The division provides us with the opportunity to build interdisciplinary graduate programs in sustainability, urban design, and other built and natural environment fields; increase enrollment; and expand the Center for Sustainable Communities’ research base.” Faculty throughout Tyler are starting to see the potential for new and innovative collaborations. -- Baldev Lamba, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture.

      Combining the expertise, research and resources the departments, Tyler and the new center “can only benefit our students and further strengthen our offerings,” said Vicki Lewis McGarvey, vice provost for University College and acting executive director of Temple’s Ambler Campus. McGarvey stressed that administratively, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, Department of Community and Regional Planning and the Center for Sustainable Communities will remain at Temple University Ambler, while offering programs and courses at Main, Ambler, Center City and Harrisburg campuses.

      “Landscape architecture and horticulture and community and regional planning have been crucial parts of our campus history,” she said. “The Division of Architecture and Environmental Design will be just as important for our future.” Realigning the disciplines into one cohesive unit mirrors what students will experience in the working world, said Kate Wingert-Playdon, associate dean of the Division of Architecture and Environmental Design.

      “For our students, whether they are part of an architectural or a planning firm, there is going to be strong collaboration among architects, engineers, landscape architects, planners, horticulturists, designers and fine arts professionals. It educates our students in the way the professional field works today,” she said. “We have the opportunity to build our civic and professional communities in ways we couldn’t [before].” The new alignment is already bearing fruit, said Baldev Lamba, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture.

      Jesse Harrod, an assistant professor in the Department of Fibers and Material Studies, has reached out to the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture “because she is eager to create a dye garden,” Lamba explained.

      “[Harrod] and her students will collaborate with our students and faculty to learn how to grow and propagate the plants, then harvest and process them to use in their art. Faculty throughout Tyler are starting to see the potential for new and innovative collaborations,” he said. “The best part is that we will be able to work as a team of allied professionals to come up with new ideas.”

      For more information about the Division of Architecture and Environmental Design click HERE

      Alumni News - coming soon

      Upcoming Events coming soon

      Interested in serving on student reviews and juries? Please contact Baldev Lamba, Department Chair at

      To receive current news and information from the department and university, please update your e-mail address by visiting -

      For University Alumni Events Calendar and Facebook