Photo of Lorén Spears from Tomaquag Museum standing behind a podium giving a lecture at NDAL's 2024 Annual Design Symposium. Label on podium reads

The winter season for me is a time of reflection, respite, and contemplation. I look back at the previous growing season’s successes and lessons learned, then think about what goals and strategies I’ll need to achieve my desired vision of the future. It’s a perfect time to attend the New Directions in the American Landscape annual design symposium!

This event is a meeting of the minds where people who are passionate about ecology, landscapes and culture gather to discuss ideas in design, management and how people interact with nature. The diversity of expertise, creativity and perspective is inspiring. The featured speakers’ knowledge and ideas are engaging, but I find the conversations between speakers as well as attendees to be even more compelling.

Photo of panel discussion

As a field operations manager, I help LWLA’s designs come to life on the ground. Throughout the year I am continually making observations and responding to the unique dynamics of each landscape I’m working on. Attending NDAL’s annual event gives me a unique and satisfying opportunity to share my experiences and compare notes with other professionals.

There is so much to learn from all who attend this conference. When we share ideas and work together as a collective to improve the relationship between humans and the landscape, the ripple effects it can have on our culture and society are unlimited.

The first step in creating change is showing up. I’m excited to see everyone at next year’s symposium!