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January 10, 2003
Contact: Jeff Lofton

American Society of Landscape Architects
636 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-3736
TEL. 202-898-2444
FAX 202-898-1185
Press Releases

Founder of Earth Day Receives Coveted Olmsted Medal for
Environmental Stewardship

WASHINGTON, DC-The Honorable Gaylord A. Nelson, United States Senator (D-WI) from 1963-1981 and founder of Earth Day, was today presented the Olmsted Medal for his lifetime of environmental stewardship. The Olmsted Medal is the highest award presented annually by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) to an individual outside the profession of landscape architecture.

"We are delighted to bestow the Olmsted Medal on Senator Nelson, whose record of public service reflects the core values and ideals for which this honor stands," said ASLA President Paul Morris, FASLA. Past recipients include former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening.

Senator Nelson was nominated by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for his more than four decades of environmental leadership. His achievements safeguarding our planet include the establishment of Earth Day, the Outdoor Resources Action Program, and championing important environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Water Quality Act.

On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, Senator Nelson set forth a goal of "an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human creatures and for all living creatures." The Olmsted Medal is ASLA's recognition of Senator Nelson's lifelong commitment to that goal.

The Olmsted Medal honors Frederick Law Olmsted, long acknowledged as the founder of American landscape architecture. A pioneer in his field, Olmsted championed the City Beautiful movement, and his notable work includes Central Park, the U.S. Capitol Grounds, Prospect Park, Chicago's Riverside subdivision, Buffalo's park system, and the Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls.

Founded in 1899, the ASLA is the national professional association representing more than 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


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