Alumni Profile Page

A degree in landscape architecture, whether a BLA (Bachelor of Landscape Architecture), MLA (Master of Landscape Architecture), or MSLA (Master of Science in Landscape Architecture), can lead to various careers within the field of cultural landscape preservation.

Robert Z. Melnick (MLA, 1975) FASLA
Professor of Landscape Architecture &
Director of the John Yeon Center
University of Oregon

Robert specializes in cultural landscape evaluation and historic landscape preservation planning. A Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and former Dean of the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts (1995-2005), he served as the first Historical Landscape Architect in the National Park Service. Among his many publications, he co-authored National Register Bulletin 30 on rural landscapes, and co-edited Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America. He organized the first national conference on campus heritage issues, and between 2005 and 2007 served as a Visiting Senior Program Officer at the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, with primary responsibility for the Getty’s Campus Heritage Initiative. He has published widely on theoretical and practical issues relating to cultural and historic landscapes, and has consulted on cultural landscape projects across the country. His written works and professional projects have received numerous national awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Society of Architectural Historians. In 2008 he was honored with the James Marston Fitch Preservation Education Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council on Preservation Education.

Christine Capella Peters (BLA 1980, MLA 1990)
Staff, New York State Historic Preservation Office
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

Chris Capella Peters is a technical staff member of the New York State Historic Preservation Office.  She provides assistance to individuals, organizations and local governments interested in the State and federal preservation programs, particularly the review of physical undertakings affecting historic and cultural resources. She was an urban planner/designer for nearly a decade previously. Through both research and practice, Chris has become a recognized expert within the agency and New York preservation community in the area of cultural landscape preservation. As a visiting professor and professional adjunct for over 20 years, she has worked with students at a variety of colleges and universities, teaching design studios and serving on thesis committees for urban design, historic preservation and cultural landscape preservation projects. Chris has been an invited speaker and panel participant at numerous national and regional conferences, as well as a guest editor and reviewer for many publications.  She is co-editor of The US Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and the Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1996).

Charles A. Birnbaum (BLA 1983) FASLA, FAAR
Founder & President
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)

Prior to founding TCLF, Charles spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) and a decade in private practice in New York City with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design. Charles’ recent projects include two web-based initiatives: What’s Out There? (a searchable database of the nation’s designed landscape heritage) and Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms. He has authored and edited numerous publications including Shaping the American Landscape (UVA Press, 2009), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (UVA Press 2005), Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture (1999) and its follow-up publication, Making Post-War Landscapes Visible (2004, both for Spacemaker Press), Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill 2000) and The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (National Park Service, 1996). In 1995, the ASLA awarded the HLI the President's Award of Excellence and in 1996 inducted Charles as a Fellow of the Society. Charles served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design during which time he founded TCLF. In 2004, Charles was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and spent spring/summer of that year at the American Academy in Rome. In 2008, he was the visiting Glimcher Distinguished Professor at Ohio State’s Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture and was also awarded the Alfred B. LaGasse Medal from the ASLA. In September 2009 the Society’s President, Angela Dye, awarded Charles the ASLA President’s Medal.

Robert Page (BLA, 1984) FASLA
Director, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation
National Park Service, Northeast Region

Bob is Director of the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation in Boston, MA. The Olmsted Center is a National Park Service program that provides a full range of technical assistance to national parks in cultural landscape preservation. Bob is responsible for overseeing a comprehensive landscape preservation program that includes inventory, research, planning, education, and technology development.  Prior to assuming this position, he served for ten years as the program manager for the National Park Service Park Cultural Landscapes Program in Washington, DC.  During the past 20 years, he has been involved with the development of policies, programs, and standards for cultural landscape management in the national park system.  This work includes coordinating the National Park Service Cultural Landscapes Inventory, a service wide inventory of all cultural landscapes in the system; co-authoring A Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports: Process, Contents, and Techniques; and overseeing the preparation of cultural landscape reports and landscape preservation maintenance in national parks throughout the United States.  In 2007, he was inducted as a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects.

David Uschold (BLA, 1991 & MLA, 1994)
LIC Compliance Manager and Regional Section 106 Coordinator
National Park Service, Northeast Region

David is a member of the National Park Service’s Northeast Regional Office in Boston, MA. He has been working in cultural resource management and planning for over fifteen years.  He currently serves in two roles with the NPS Northeast Region as the Regional Coordinator for the Section 106 Program (National Historic Preservation Act) and also as the Advance Planning and Compliance Manger for the NPS construction program.  In his current position, he assists parks with natural and cultural resource management and environmental compliance for major construction projects.  He also serves to oversee the region’s adherence to the National Historic Preservation Act developing regional policy and providing guidance and training for regional and park staff. He earned a BLA and MLA concentrating on cultural landscape preservation.  After graduating ESF, he worked for the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation until 2003.

Paul Fritz, AICP, CEP (MLA, 1997)
Senior Planner
CHPlanning, Ltd.

Paul is a licensed landscape architect and certified planner at CHPlanning, a provider of planning services in support of urban development with offices in Chester, PA. Prior to this position, Paul worked for twelve years at EDR in Syracuse. He has over twelve years of management experience with expertise in comprehensive plans, recreation master plans, rural and urban design guidelines, community participation, and research.  He also has prepared design and construction documents for a wide range of residential, streetscape and waterfront revitalization projects. Paul’s Master degree had a concentration in cultural landscape preservation. His thesis, a Cultural Landscape Report for Lorenzo State Historic Site, received the 1998 New York State Historic Preservation Award.

Sarah K. Cody (BLA, 2006 & MSLA, 2007)
Landscape Designer
Pressley Associates

Sarah is a Landscape Designer at Pressley Associates in Boston, MA. At Pressley, Sarah is an integral member of the historic preservation team, working closely with Marion Pressley on preservation projects, carrying out research, planning, treatment, and design on locally and nationally significant landscapes. Recent efforts have focused on the landscape rehabilitation of Graycliff, a historic collaboration between Frank Lloyd Wright and Ellen Biddle Shipman, and on restoring the Brewer Fountain plaza in the Boston Commons.

Before joining Pressley Associates, Sarah worked at Heritage Landscapes, contributing to the on-going preservation and stewardship of nationally significant historic sites, including the US Capitol Grounds, the National Mall, and the Jefferson Memorial. During her graduate studies, Sarah worked in partnership with the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, conducting research, field work, and analysis to help guide the future of Floyd Bennett Field, the first public in airport in New York City. She also interned at the New York State Historic Preservation Office aiding in compliance review of state-funded preservation projects and preparing National Register of Historic Places nominations.  Sarah is passionate about preserving our nation’s cultural landscapes and strives to provide high quality preservation and design work to protect and enhance significant public spaces.

Jeanie Gleisner (BLA, 2007 & MSLA, 2008)
Principal Planner
Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board

Jeanie is a Principal Planner in the Community Development and Comprehensive Planning Program at the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) in Syracuse, New York. Working together with communities in the five county central New York region, she develops the Comprehensive Plans that serve to provide a framework for, and guide future local land use and development decision-making. She also leads community revitalization and development initiatives such as the North Jefferson Street Revitalization Project in the Pulaski Village Historic District in Pulaski NY through targeted grant writing efforts.

During her undergraduate studies Jeanie participated in a Summer Field School in Landscape Inventory and Preservation Planning of Shenandoah National Park, VA. The group developed the first Cultural Landscape Inventory of the 103 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the Park. During her graduate studies, Jeanie’s thesis was titled Redoubt and Prospect; Changing Views of a New York City Headland. The study later became the Cultural Landscape Report for the Battery Weed Headland, Fort Wadsworth, Gateway National Recreation Area.

Michael Commissio (MLA 2004)
Cultural Resource Specialist/Landscape Architect
National Capital Regional Office, National Park Service

For the past eight years, Michael has worked as a Cultural Resource Specialist and Historical Landscape Architect for the National Capital and Northeast Regional Offices of the National Park Service (NPS). In these positions, he has provided technical assistance and direction to parks and programs with the inventory, documentation, and treatment of historic parks and properties, which include scenic parkways, battlefields, memorials, formal gardens, cemeteries, and industrial areas. Prior to working with the NPS, Michael worked as a Historic Preservation Planner and Landscape Designer in South Georgia. Aside from his professional work, Michael is active in the Alexandria preservation community and currently serves on the city’s Historic Restoration and Preservation Commission. He has a BA in Environmental Design and Environmental Studies from the University at Buffalo and a MLA from ESF.

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