Allyson Fairweather (left) and David Hooper
Thursday, June 11, 2020

Two students in the UMass Amherst Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) won scholarship awards from the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF). Alyson Fairweather, MLA candidate, won the Steven G. King Environments Scholarship; David Hooper, an undergraduate, received the 2020 LAF Olmsted Scholars Program award.

Fairweather earned her $5,000 prize for a design project she conducted during the fall 2020 and winter 2020-21 sessions for an independent study. She reimagined the Bement School, a K—9 boarding and day school located in Historic Deerfield. Fairweather considered the benefits of nature-based play.

"Our findings revealed a collective desire among the Bement School community to thoughtfully incorporate new play structures and features that maintain fluidity with the landscape while introducing a variety of new play challenges, materials, and experiences commonly seen in nature playscapes," wrote Fairweather in her design report.

"After synthesizing the insights collected from [two] workshops, we developed a program, goals, and objectives to guide the nature playscape design," she added.

The LAF Olmsted Scholars Program honors students' past achievements and recognizes their future potential to influence the landscape architecture profession. David Hooper hopes to use the $15,000 award to explore ecological gardening as practical therapy for veterans who have experienced trauma.

David has seen the power of artistic expression and design to transcend boundaries, boost morale, and bring people together after a 10-year career as a photojournalist in the US Navy. He would like to design a curriculum and program uniquely focused on healing the earth as well as providing lifelong tools to deal with the effects of trauma.