Design teams looking to incorporate natural elements into their projects often head out to spend time surrounded by nature. But two team members at Scott | Edwards Architecture have taken that idea of immersion one step further by actually digging their hands in the dirt.

“I used to do a lot health care design,” said Melisse Kuhn, a Scott | Edwards project manager. “There is a movement for mimicking the outdoors in interior environments. The best inspiration for that is to be outdoors.”

One way Kuhn does that is by helping the Nature Conservancy with its land restoration projects, including serving as a crew leader for the past five years. While she admits that the involvement often provides a creative spark for her day job, her love for the environment is what really motivated her to volunteer with the non-profit nature group in the first place.

“I think it’s a connection with the environment, with the land and having a positive impact,” she said. “It is a pretty amazing experience.”

Kuhn and colleague Katrina Deponte have spent time leading Nature Conservancy volunteer groups of as many as 10 people in the restoration and preservation of natural areas across the state. For Deponte, who works at Scott | Edwards as an administrative assistant, the trips are a way to continue the environmental interest she developed in her native Knoxville, Tennessee.

One of their most recent efforts for the Nature Conservancy took Kuhn and Deponte to the 33,000-acre Zumwalt Prairie preserve in northeast Oregon, where they spent two days restoring habitat for native plant species. Much of the work the two women were involved in revolved around removing about two miles of barbed wire fencing. In areas where the fencing couldn’t be removed altogether, they focused on removing the bottom lines of barbed wire and replacing them with smooth wire

“By removing a couple of the wires, native wildlife can get across,” Deponte said.

She and Kuhn also helped document the location of invasive plant species using GPS devices to “tag” locations. Other volunteers then used those locations to collect the plants, making sure they clipped and bagged seed heads to prevent further invasion.

The Zumwalt Prairie work also gave Deponte and Kuhn a chance to see wildlife that city residents rarely come into contact with, including early morning visits by mule deer.

“In the early morning you see some of the wildlife,” Deponte said. “It is an incredible way to see something that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see.”


Original Article

Title:  Environmental restoration efforts offer inspiration

Posted By: Kent Hohlfeld


Date: October 19, 2017

Link: Original Article