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Sherry Xu (MLA ’22) in Kubota Garden Foundation Newsletter

Meet Sherry Xu

When I first entered Kubota Garden, I was struck by its unique and traditional Japanese landscape features. I wanted to know more about how such a beautiful Japanese garden was designed, built, developed, and maintained, so I decided to volunteer with the Kubota Garden Foundation.

To learn more about Kubota Garden, I decided to participate in the “Tuesdays in the Garden” events first. During the weekly mulching and weeding activities, I was fortunate to meet many volunteers and gardeners who also love the garden, and I got to know it better. In the process, I also met KGF’s Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, Sophia Eichholz, and Kubota Garden Historian, Ernie Dornfeld. I learned from talking with different people about how Fujitaro Kubota, his family, and Seattle Parks and Recreation grew the garden from a 5-acre swamp to a 20-acre public garden with many thousands of annual visitors.


Based on interviews and experiences, two of my classmates and I made a video called, “Multi-angle Storytelling of Kubota Garden: A Public History Video,” which talks about how different people see the garden. In May and June, I also volunteered as a Garden Greeter and helped with the Soapstone Carving Workshop. Because of my landscape architecture degree, I am most interested in the “Tuesdays in the Garden”; events because I can learn a lot of useful plant knowledge from experienced volunteers and gardeners. These events have also given me access to soil, fresh air, leaves, and flowers during my busy weeks and I’m grateful. I also really like working as a garden greeter to help various visitors with wayfinding, question answering, and history introduction. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the happy faces of touring visitors.

For the future development of the garden, I think it’s important to reflect upon its history in more ways. Overall, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in KGF volunteer activities. I hope to be able to participate in more events in the future.

This post was originally written by Sherry Xu (MLA ’22) for the Fall 2022 Kubota Garden Foundation Newsletter.  Interested in volunteering at the garden?  Please check out the KGF Volunteer page

WASLA: ASLA 2022 National Conference Stipend Recipients

Congratulations to the 2022 ASLA National Conference Stipend recipients, Kove Janeski and Natalie Weiss (both MLA ’24), and Emerging Professionals Rebecca Bachman and Lauren Iversen (both MLA ’20).
Thanks to the generous support of our local ASLA – Washington Chapter, our students were able to attend this year’s ASLA Conference in San Francisco and visit field sites such as Albany Bulb (former landfill) and Casa Adalante (affordable housing).
Award recipients meet up with current WASLA President Nick Zurlini (BLA ’19) and past past President Tim Slazinik in SF. Photo courtesy of WASLA.


Emily Saeger featured in Freeway Park Newsletter

Freeway Park In Profile

The Faces of our Community 

Courtesy of Freeway Park Association Newsletter

Emily Adelia Saeger

Graduate student – Master’s of Landscape Architecture ‘23 @ UW & Botanical Artist

What brings you to the Park? 
Freeway Park is a unique urban park design – it spans a major freeway, connecting two severed halves of downtown Seattle, yet still offers lush well established shrubs and trees, plus the iconic Lawerence Halprin fountains, which I hope to see full of water someday!  I first learned about the park in my landscape architecture program, but my first visit to the park was in preparation for In-Bloom!

What is your favorite part of working in parks/public spaces? 
I love being outdoors – I always have, though my love for the outdoors and plants grew tremendously in my early 20’s when I started working in organic agricultural production and landscaping in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Having grown up in a city myself – Washington D.C. – parks and public space have always been important to me, defining so many memories, both consciously and subconsciously, since childhood.  Parks/public space, particularly in an urban context, at their best, are essential grounds of respite, refuge and play.  My favorite part about working in parks/public space is the spontaneous connections that can occur – the opportunity to reflect on one’s own humanity through interaction/relationship with others both human and non-human friends (plants, animals, fungi!)

What is one way you would love to see our community come together? 
I would love to see our community come together around climate change (including processing climate grief) and environmental justice.  This city, like many cities in the United States, still visibly shows the legacies of redlining through disproportionate access to green space based largely upon race and class.  As the climate becomes more variable and extreme, it is critical that we work with our landscapes – plants, water, soils, etc. – and each other, to help buffer and mitigate the effects of climate change across all neighborhoods equally, increasing access and environmental health for everyone, not just for those who can pay.

What is the intersection of art and public space, in your opinion?
I think the intersection of art and public space is conversation.  All art is a dialogue – between artist and the idea/material(s)/environment; as well as between artist and the viewer/participant.  Art in public space is an opportunity for conversation, an opportunity to imbue the everyday with spontaneity, magic and/or awareness – a new perspective, new understanding, new idea.

Future Food Forest: Radical Landscapes for Uncertain Times

Students in the summer studio led by Elizabeth Umbanhowar present their installation for the Seattle Design Festival titled “Future Food Forest: Radical Landscapes for Uncertain Times”. The festival took place August 20th and 21st at Lake Union Park from 10-7. Their installation at the Seattle Design Festival represent what a loss of biodiversity would look like from present into the future. Visitors could dye pieces of fabric at the altar presented in the middle of the archway that displayed different native Pacific Northwest plants.

In this studio, students were encouraged to think of landscape as a library and how we can preserve flora and flauna in changing climates. Their final project considered how urban forests can potentially help the loss of biodiversity that we are seeing in current times as well as how to cope with environmental grief, a common side effect of realizing the disastrous outcomes of a rapidly changing landscapes.

Summer Design Build 2022 in Traena, Norway

We welcome back some of our students who went to Traena, Norway to complete their Design/Build with Daniel Winterbottom and co-instructors Luka Jelusic and Mate Rupic! 

A group of 16 students, some matriculated at UW, left the US in the middle of June 2022 to work on a design/build project on a small island off the coast of Norway for five weeks. Students were asked to create a unique space that could be offered year-round to the local community as a place to gather. They also wanted the space to feature an outdoor kitchen, classroom, community garden and hold community events such as their annual summer music festival. 

Students spent the first week designing and collaborating, leaving the following three weeks for building and implementation. Before beginning the design process, they had a chance to tour the island and visit some local landmarks. They met some of the locals to learn about their lifestyle and hear input on what exactly the community needed. Students, working in groups of four, began conceptualizing and iterating potential ideas and designs for the site. Overall, the group agreed that they wanted to create an area that met the community’s needs while paying homage to Traena’s unique culture, identity and history. At the end of the week, each group presented their proposal to the community and let them select which project they connected with the most.

Building began during the second week of their stay. As always, the proposal would not come out exactly as planned and some aspects would have to be altered so that it was feasible given the small time span and allotted resources. 

Students were led in sketching exercises by Daniel Winterbottom throughout their time there. Students traveled back to mainland Norway to visit Oslo and Bergen for their final week.

Here are some of the process and final images of the students’ amazing work abroad!


  Site Dedication


“The tides rolling into the island bring new people/visitors, new stories and even concerns from the outside world. But at the heart of the island is a community, whose intimate relationships form a resiliency that attracts the wayward and longing for respite to stay while deflecting the negative and worries of the world back out to the sea. That this haven seemingly at the end of the world away is a vibrant beacon of humanity. Our design lies at the center of Traena, and pulls people in formally. That line continues throughout the site consistently redirecting attention towards the central area (to other people in the space) and eventually dissipates or “recedes” back out in the landscape and to sea from where people came.” 

– Grant Guliano MLA, UC Berkeley


Photo credit: Maron Bernardino, Heather Fortunato, Jenna Simpson

UWASLA Youth Outreach Updates

DRCC Youth Corps attending their second to last event on Water Justice in May 2022
Ecology of PNW Life Cycle diagrams are pinned up on the 3rd floor of Gould until the end of the week 6/3

In the month of May, UWASLA Youth Outreach Project: Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures worked with the Duwamish River Community Coalition (DRCC) Youth Corps on a design mock studio to redesign Jack Block Park.

Each workshop began with a presentation regarding the day’s topic, then in smaller teams, the youth collaborated on completing an activity that was related to Jack Block Park and the topic of the day. Workshop activities included a CBE Student Panel, a site visit, and a charette, and covered topics including environmental justice, the ecology of the PNW and water justice. 

As of May 31, UWASLA Youth Outreach has completed this year’s objectives, and successfully worked with two different student cohorts: Denny International Middle School and DRCC Youth Corps. Come check out some of the student work on the 3rd floor of Gould!

WASLA | Call for Design Leads – Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures

For the next cohort UWASLA Youth Outreach; Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures, will be working with DRCC Youth Corps on a series of events to redesign Jack Block Park. We are looking for people interested in joining the events to lead the youth in the process of design. Please refer to the flyer for more information regarding the project. A LOOK INSIDE THE PROJECT: In the month of May, Empowering BIPOC Youth: Pathways to Sustainable Design Futures, will be
working with DRCC Youth Corps on a design mock studio to redesign Jack Block Park. During each event we will have a presentation stating the goals of the day. Then in smaller teams the youth will collaborate on designing their ideal Jack Block Park. Leads will be present and work with the youth to answer questions and push their designs. We hope to empower students in the design field by letting them make their own choices, we are there to support and elevate their designs. Please note there is an opportunity to join the planning team that works on organizing the outline of each event. If you’re interested please fill out this short survey to have you listed!Email with any questions:
Learn More!​​​​​​​