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January 21, 2016
The Longwood Graduate Program Fellows have nearly finished our time in Australia. We visited eleven different sites including botanic gardens, a national park, and a zoo. Each location has filled a different niche and given us a unique experience. Our goal for this trip was to learn how Australian gardens are evaluating the success and social impact of their site and programs. As an element of that goal we have also been investigating community engagement strategies. Evaluating social impact is a challenging task, in fact simply agreeing on definitions can be a challenge. Assessing social impact, or return on mission, is something we are currently working on as part of the next 5-year strategic plan here at Longwood Gardens.
January 11, 2016
As Pennsylvania finally seems to be settling into winter weather, the First Year Longwood Graduate Fellows are excited to be setting off for the southern hemisphere. Since July, we have been researching and developing an itinerary to explore the social impact of Australian gardens in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. This trip was designed to align with Longwood Gardens’ strategic planning goals to measure the effect of education and community engagement programs beyond the garden gates.
November 16, 2015
A life lesson here in Japan is that beauty is, without a doubt, in the eye of the beholder. Learning about the Japanese perception of beauty in contrast to our own has been a fascinating study in aesthetic. The chrysanthemum has provided us with the perfect subject matter to view these differences and has given us a whole new perspective on our own Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens.
November 5, 2015
Water—not only does it sustain us with the fruits of our gardens and fields, it elevates our lives with its elemental beauty. This dual nature of water is embodied in the Gardens and fountains of Longwood, where utility and wonder thrive side by side. Essential to life in the Gardens, water is also a wellspring of play and artistry that finds expression in our fountains, which are monuments both to nature and to human ingenuity. Such human ingenuity was a defining trait of Longwood’s founder, Pierre S. du Pont. And yet even the most imaginative ideas build upon the knowledge of what has come before. Pierre "collected" ideas for gardens and fountains during his many trips to Europe and to world's fairs, and then implemented them at Longwood, shaping them according to his own American vision and innovation. He also gained inspiration from the pages of his personal library, a tradition that continues today when staff, students, and volunteers step into the Longwood Gardens Library & Archives.
March 25, 2015
"They know how to build soil, recycle water, create homes for endless other beings; they give us the very air we breathe, they know how to make berries out of light. We might do well to listen." —Robin Wall Kimmerer. Photo by Richard Donham.