Board of Directors
Lauren Meier, Belmont, MA, President
Tom Woodward, Benninngton, VT, Vice President
Jay Olmsted, Winchester, MA, Treasurer
Nance McGovern, Belmont, MA, Clerk
Phyllis Andersen, Boston, MA
Alan S. Banks,Tiverton, RI
Alison Bassett, Newton, MA
Amanda Kohn, Medford, MA
Arleyn A. Levee, Watertown, MA
Wendy Machmuller, Brookline, MA
Pat Suhrcke, Roslindale, MA
Sam E. Valentine, Somerville, MA
Maddie Webster, Cambridge, MA
Kyle Zick, Roslindale, MA
Phyllis Andersen is a landscape historian and urban landscape specialist. She was the director of the Institute of Cultural Landscape Studies of the Arnold Arboretum. Earlier she coordinated the Arboretum’s cooperative agreement with the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. She has worked on urban landscape issues for the Boston Parks Department, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. She taught at the Landscape Institute of the Boston Architectural College, a program previously situated at the Arnold Arboretum and earlier at the Radcliffe Institute. She also taught at the Yale College Seminar Program and Roxbury Community College. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters and is currently working on a book with a working title of “A Matter of Taste: The Public Pleasure Garden and Civic Life.”
Alan S. Banks
For close to 30 years, Alan S. Banks oversaw the historical interpretation of Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in his position as Supervisory Park Ranger. During this time, he developed landscape tours and lectures on the Olmsteds which he presented to groups both locally and nationally. He was a regular speaker at local universities including Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston – where he earned his BA in History. Alan also has served as a historical consultant, working with authors and filmmakers on a variety of projects over the years.
Alison Bassett is the Manager at the Archives and Research Center (ARC), in Sharon for The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees). The Trustees preserves for public use and enjoyment more than 120 properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. The ARC is the hub of the Trustees’ historical, curatorial and institutional repositories. Before joining The Trustees, Ms. Bassett had a long career in documentary films for PBS. She then studied landscape design history at the Radcliffe Institute and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and completed additional coursework at Harvard Extension School in Environmental Management.
Amanda Kohn, AICP is an urban planner at Weston & Sampson, primarily working in climate resiliency and sustainability. Amanda regularly manages multi-disciplinary projects and champions public engagement in the company’s planning and engineering efforts. Amanda often serves as a liaison between the technical team and the public. She is well versed in conducting research and complex analysis and then developing easy-to-understand engagement materials and data visualizations. She also coordinates the firm’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant efforts, which requires creative and equitable community outreach as a core value of the program.
Arleyn A. Levee
Arleyn A. Levee, Hon. ASLA is a landscape designer, historian and preservation consultant, specializing in the work of the Olmsted firm. After a lengthy practice in residential design, she now concentrates on research, writing and lecturing about Olmsted firm projects. She is the author of “An Enduring Legacy: Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in the Nation’s Capital,” in Civic Art: A Centennial History of the US Commission of Fine Arts (2013) and The Blue Garden: Recapturing an Iconic Newport Landscape (2016, republished in 2019). She is a board member of NAOP and serves on various committees for Historic New England, The Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Muddy River Restoration, the latter involved with overseeing the rehabilitation of this component of the iconic Emerald Necklace park network.
Wendy Machmuller has been a resident of Brookline’s Pill Hill Historic District for the past 12 years; she can often be seen walking her dog through Olmsted Park, or running through the woods or up the granite stairs, taking in but never for granted the close proximity to it in which she lives. With an interest in planning, environmental sustainability, and social inclusivity, Wendy has served on various Town committees, including the study of the potential redevelopment of parcels adjacent to the Emerald Necklace, transforming Brookline’s only “industrial island” into an “Emerald Island.” Wendy is an elected Town Meeting Member of Precinct 5 and President of the High Street Hill Association.
Nance McGovern is the Director of Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries and of the Digital Preservation Management Workshops. She has been preserving digital content for more than 30 years. Her interests include sustainable digital preservation and radical collaboration for inclusive communities. She is a past president of the Society of American Archives (SAA) and has a PhD in digital preservation from UCL. Her first job as an archivist was at the Olmsted National Historic Site in the early 80s not long after the site was acquired by the NPS.
Lauren Meier, ASLA, is a landscape architect with a specialty in historic preservation and has worked in both public and private practice, helping to preserve many of the nation’s most important cultural landscapes including the restoration of the Fairsted landscape. She has published many articles on landscape preservation practice. Meier is co-author of the historic resource study, The Olmsteds and the National Park Service and is an editor of the Master List of Design Projects of the Olmsted Firm and the final two volumes of the Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted – Plans and Views of Public Parks and Plans and Views of Communities and Private Estates published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Meier is a former board member of National Association for Olmsted Parks and is currently studying botanical art through the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens.
Jay Olmsted is a landscape architect and President of Olmsted Design. And yes, he is related to Frederick Law Olmsted. After working with national design firms on various projects both nationally and internationally, Mr. Olmsted founded Olmsted Design to focus specifically in the New England region and to work more closely with his clients. His work ranges from college campuses and institutions, to municipal and private developments, to residential landscapes. His past work includes LEGOLAND California, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and the preservation of the Ames Gate House designed by HH Richardson with this contemporary FLO.
Pat Suhrcke has a PhD in Russian Literature from the University of Chicago and has worked in both academic and public settings to promote the humanities. She currently teaches Russian literature at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UMass Boston. Pat was assistant director of the Georgia Humanities Council, the education and research director for the Atlanta History Center, and, for 17 years, the director of Cambridge Forum where she produced public discussions and NPR programs on a range of topics. As a volunteer for Frederick Law Olmsted NHS, she co-founded and served as first president of Friends of Fairsted.
Sam E. Valentine
Sam Valentine is a recent graduate of the Master in Landscape Architecture program at Harvard Graduate School of Design, where his research focused on the public spaces of marginalized communities. Prior to his studies, Sam practiced with Richard Burck Associates (RBA), where he managed campus, streetscape, and public-realm park projects, including the renovation of the Westland Avenue Gateway in Boston’s Back Bay Fens, which reconciled contemporary community needs with the historic design intent of the Olmsted firm. Sam’s first job after graduating with his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture was at Fairsted, helping to implement the “Good Neighbors” education program.
Maddie Webster is a PhD candidate in the American & New England Studies Program at Boston University, where she studies urban history and historic preservation with a focus on nineteenth-century Boston. While pursuing her degree, she has worked for the Gibson House Museum, the Nichols House Museum, the Historic American Buildings Survey of the National Park Service, the Boston Landmarks Commission, and most recently, the Red Sox. Prior to coming to BU, she earned her undergraduate degree in history and American studies at Boston College in 2017.
Tom Woodward is a not-for-profit leader with 25 years of experience in higher education, fine art museums and with the National Park Service. Tom most recently served as the Chief Advancement Officer at the Clark Art Institute and the Director of Institutional Advancement for the Harvard Art Museums. Tom has also worked as an administrator, park ranger, and educator for the National Park Service, focusing on administrative and program management with an emphasis on long- and short-term planning, resource development and grants and agreement management. Assignments with NPS included the Olmsted, Longfellow and Kennedy National Historic Sites in the Boston area, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park in Woodstock, Vermont, the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and the Tsongas Industrial History Center at Lowell National Historic Park.
Kyle Zick PLA, ASLA; Principal, Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture (KZLA), has been practicing landscape architecture for over 25 years, on project types ranging from historic sites and parks, environmentally sensitive areas, college campuses, streetscapes, residences, and commercial properties. Kyle has lectured on site design in historic contexts, trail design, and sustainable materials at the Boston Architectural College, Preservation Massachusetts, Build Boston and the Historic Trails Conference. Several of his projects have won design awards from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, the Louisiana Society of Landscape Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects.