I developed the Harvard Yard Soils Restoration Project during my Loeb Fellowship. It is based on the successful sustainable landscape management program developed and implemented over 20 years at Battery Park City Parks in lower Manhattan. The program avoids the use of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and significantly reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizer. It builds a healthy natural nutrient cycling system in the soil by encouraging and balancing microbial activity. This is accomplished through the application of specific composts and compost teas in relation to biological, chemical, and textural soil test results. The project was a two-part study conducted within a one-acre test plot. Results were measured on a biweekly basis. The second phase of the study demonstrated the transferability of the technical and philosophical aspects of the Battery Park City program to the Harvard Facility Maintenance Operations Landscape Services Division (FMO) so that it could be successfully continued and expanded in the future. If this completely organic approach to landscape management could be proven successful in two such differing, challenging urban environments as Battery Park City and Harvard Yard, it should be replicable in many other environmental situations.
The project proved to be very successful and the Harvard FMO retained my services to assist them in transitioning their program to be fully organic. Currently 35 acres of the campus has been transitioned to fully organic with the goal that the rest of the campus will be transitioned by 2011.
The Loeb Fellowship enabled me to look at my work within a different structure. This led me to see how my work could fit into different contexts and how I could more effectively represent myself and achieve my aspirations.