Tom's Blog

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Visit from Taliesin class

Last Thursday (8/19) we had a nice visit from a class of students from Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, near Spring Green, Wisconsin. This was a class on "Reading the Landscape", taught by Gigi La Budde. Although these students had only modest biology background, they were widely trained, with considerable background at the undergraduate college level. This was in International group, with students from around the world as well as around the country. (There was only one student from Wisconsin!)

The focus of the morning tour was the oak savanna landscape at Pleasant Valley Conservancy. We discussed the presettlement vegetation, early agricultural practices, changes after agriculture ceased, and the extensive work we have carried out to restore the site to its original character. Considerable discussion focused on the important role fire has in maintaining the oak openings character of the site. Kathie and I explained briefly the way prescribed fire is carried out in a savanna landscape.

During the tour, the students had an opportunity of making quick surveys of the understory vegetation. Not surprisingly, these students were quite skilled at quickly capturing with pencil and paper the trees and flowers of the Conservancy.

Taliesin maintains two campuses, the one at Spring Green, and Taliesin West, which is in Scottsdale (suburban Phoenix) Arizona. The students spend most of their time at Taliesin West but transfer to Spring Green for the summer. Details of the educational program can be obtained from the Taliesin web site, at this link.

A week later we received the following nice card:


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