First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson pushed for a billboard-free Capitol Beltway around Washington, DC. The roadways, to work, are filled with trees, vice billboards that are increasingly becoming jumbo screens of flashing lights. I benefit every day from Mrs. Johnson's vision, investment, and persistence from 1968.
History is full of people that have given their all to promote the preservation of the natural world. How do you connect-the-dots between the work these hero's achieved, and your life? It is easy to say Rachel Carson's book; Silent Spring made an impact, but how does it directly affect your life today?
I discovered the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, nearly twenty years ago. His genius used trees, bushes, plants, water, and architecture to construct public and private venues for the enjoyment of nature. His commitment to preserving the natural landscape and using his talents only to change what is necessary.
Olmsted and Calvert Vaux collaborated to build New York's Central Park and were most pleased with the assessment of New York Tribune editor, Horace Greeley. He assessed the newly opened public space and commented: "Well, they have let it alone a good deal more than I thought they would." Olmsted's fingerprints are on many of the most significant works built during his lifetime.
Olmsted designed the US Capitol grounds and influenced the design of the Capital building itself. In Genius of Place, biographer Justin Martin, wrote: "his design was also meticulous, packed with thoughtful little surprises." Olmsted designed the Summerhouse, a small way station for visitors to take a respite from the Washington heat and enjoy a drink in the shade.
I have toured many of Olmsted's works and appreciate his dedication to enhancing the beauty of the space. The photo above is one of the Summerhouse details and was taken on my inaugural photo trip around Washington to support my creative effort that has resulted in this IOTD365 project.
Your turn; this work can range from those changing the world on a massive scale to those that established an urban garden plot. Take a moment to do the heavy lifting and connect-the-dots for those that have impacted your life.
Going Further: Who's work in nature are you most grateful? Who's practices do you think are misguided? What is one element of their mostly misguided work, was done well? Who is someone that is currently doing work to influence nature, that has much promise?