Contact: Beth Young
LOUIS LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT HONORED
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently awarded the LaGasse Medal for landscape architecture to John O. Bell, ASLA, of St. Louis. The LaGasse Medal is given semi-annually to a landscape architect who has made notable contributions to the management of natural resources, the management of public lands or the management of other lands in the public interest. Bell will be honored for his work on the Henry Shaw Ozark Corridor (HSOC) in the Missouri counties of St. Louis, Jefferson and Franklin.
"The HSOC has helped to preserve and strengthen the public lands along the corridor and develop a network of coordination and planning among the stakeholder agencies," said Russell Volmert, president of the St. Louis Chapter of ASLA. "[John's] has helped educate the public on stewardship of their natural environments. The result is one of the most environmentally sound and visually beautiful corridors in metropolitan St. Louis."
Bell co-founded the Henry Shaw Ozark Corridor (HSOC) Foundation with Walter Eschbach and Terry Whaley in 1994. The HSOC Foundation published "A Management Plan for the 21st Century" in 1995, the first comprehensive smart-growth plan developed for the area. Since then Bell has worked with landscape architects, planners, park professionals and concerned citizens to protect and enhance the corridor's natural heritage - the Ozarks - while promoting sustainable economic and community activity. He currently serves as president of the board of directors for the HSOC Foundation.
The natural resources along the Interstate 44 corridor include the Meramac River, the Route 66 state park and the Hilda Young state forest. The HSOC Foundation is the only organization in St. Louis that promotes sound management and development the corridor, which starts in the historic town of Kirkwood, Mo., and proceeds through approximately 24 miles of suburban and ex-urban area to the Shaw Arboretum in Gray Summit. The communities and open space along the corridor are the center of suburban sprawl development, of the southwestern St. Louis metropolitan area.
"Our natural resources are not endowed with a civic voice," Bell said. "Leadership can provide such a voice. Our history, natural and cultural, instructs this type of leadership."
"The landscape is a living system which is subject to thoughtful change," Bell said. "I maintain that every landscape has its own unique and special signature, a signature that serves the explicit needs and desires of its users."
Bell's award was one of two LaGasse Medals given this year, the other going to former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt in the non-landscape architect category. The LaGasse Medals are named for Alfred B. LaGasse, who served as executive director of the American Institute of Park Executives, executive vice president of the National Recreation and Parks Association and executive director of ASLA and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. Throughout his life, LaGasse was dedicated to the proper management of the nation's public lands and judicious use of the country's natural resources.
Bell will be presented with the LaGasse Medal in a ceremony at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Montreal, Sept. 21-25.
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association representing 13,500 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication and fellowship. For more information, visit ASLA Online at www.asla.org.
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