Give+Grow

Solving Stormwater Problems One Mentorship At A Time

Sometimes opportunities present themselves when you least expect it and the opportunity to mentor a group of civil engineering students at Sacramento State was something I couldn’t pass up. You may ask why a Landscape Architect would have any business mentoring engineering students… Well, when the class is focused on green infrastructure, low impact development and stormwater management, then count me in!

Callander Associates has been very supportive of my interests in stormwater management including construction stormwater and post construction low impact development and I wanted to share this knowledge with the students. The CE190 class this semester has included in their curriculum the USEPA’s 2nd Annual Campus Rainworks Challenge.

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This is a competition for college and university students to design creative and innovative green infrastructure for their campus.  I mentored a group of 6 students who were as eager and excited to team up on this project.  Throughout the semester we met to brainstorm master plan concepts, discuss innovations in green infrastructure and prepare for the competition. The students prepared Master Plans and Concept Plan Reports and presented their concepts through video presentations. I had the opportunity to interact with the other student groups during presentation and Q&A’s and also met the other mentors who came from various engineering backgrounds. We shared a common interest in exploring new ways to capture, collect, reuse and reduce stormwater discharge from polluting our waterways.

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It was a great experience meeting the students and other mentors and was exciting to see what innovative ideas the students came up with for the competition and to further explore these in the profession.

There is a new standard found more often in our projects that require stormwater management. As designers we are always striving to find creative and aesthetic ways to integrate it into the site. If I had one goal from this experience, it would be to teach the engineering students to look beyond solving a stormwater problem and more towards creating an experience. I think they met that goal.

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I have to thank Colleen Salveson (our marketing guru in the San Mateo office) for approaching me about this opportunity; Colleen’s cousin, Dr. Matthew Salveson, an Associate Professor at Sacramento State who invited a Landscape Architect into the world of civil engineering; and Ben Woodside who teamed up with me as a guest lecturer for the class.

A couple of selected groups were then invited to refine their reports and videos for the national competition. Winners will be announced in February and March.  The winning teams will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to apply for a grant to help implement their design on campus. For more information on the USEPA’s 2nd Annual Campus Rainworks Challenge, go to:

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/crw_challenge.cfm

Melissa Ruth, Project Manager, RLA, QSD/P

Melissa works out of our Rancho Cordova office. Her experience at Callander Associates has included a variety of projects such as parks, trails, playground design, planting design, master planning, stormwater pollution prevention plans and landfill studies. She is our resident expert on Stormwater Pollution Prevention and is a Qualified SWPPP Developer/Preparer (QSD/P).

 

PARK(ing) Day: 2013

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. The project started in 2005 in San Francisco, when Rebar, an art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco.  The purpose of the project was to make a statement about the overwhelming presence of the automobile, especially in how our cities are organized.  It was also an opportunity to re-imagine the range of possible activities that could occur if the space for storage of a private vehicle could be utilized by the public to create a dynamic urban public space and improve the quality of urban human habitat.  This critical examination of the values that generate the form of urban public space has provoked and influenced people around the world; in 2011, PARK(ing) Day was celebrated in 162 cities in 35 countries.

This year staff from our Rancho Cordova and San Jose offices participated in Park(ing) Day.

Sacramento Park(ing) Day…written by Brenna Castro

Up in Sacramento, the staff along with the ASLA Sierra Chapter, 15 other firms and local organizations turned Sacramento parking spots into unique park sites. The group wanted to showcase landscape architecture and our ability to make beautiful, functional public spaces, and also draw attention to the little details in the landscape that are often overlooked.

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Over the course of four build days hosted at Jon and his wife Sara’s house, ASLA Sierra Chapter members designed, built, and assembled a shady green public parklet complete with curvilinear seating and walls, vegetation, and three “viewfinder” telescopes, which were aimed at points of interest to help visitors discover their surroundings. With an eye toward sustainability, all materials used in the installation were reclaimed or reused. Cardboard document tubes that were no longer needed were cut and glued into benches and walls, an extra scrap of synthetic turf (courtesy of Astroturf) carpeted the ground, and an beautiful bright red umbrella, borrowed from Jon and Sara’s yard, added a splash of color to the street.

As exciting as it was to watch these odds and ends be transformed into a place for people to sit and relax, the most rewarding part of (Park)ing day was watching visitors interact and engage with the installation. Whether they were relaxing under the umbrella reading Landscape Architecture Magazine or discovering public art they had never noticed before, many of the users wanted to know more about (Park)ing day, and were excited to experience with their public spaces in a new way.

San Jose Park(ing) Day…written by Amy Ueno

The streets of downtown San Jose were transformed into mini urban parks for people, bringing everyone out into the sun and interacting with fun installations like giant chess, giant Jenga, a pop-up library, and grassy lounge spaces.

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Our concept for our Callander parking spot was to create a space that represents aspects of our company culture: engaging and interacting with our community, inspiring creativity, and most importantly, fun.  Our parking spot transformed into a life-size checkers game.  Our game pieces were made from squares of rubber surfacing and artificial turf, both materials we use on the projects we create.  People stopped by for a spontaneous game on their lunch break, and also had an opportunity to learn about our industry as landscape architects and the parks we have created, through our game pieces and the project posters that we put up of Parque de Padre Mateo Sheedy (San Jose), and Stojanovich Family Park (Campbell).

The memorable part of the day for me was when I was interacting with people passing by and seeing their reaction to the installation.  The most frequent question I received was, “What’s going on here?”  When I explained that we were making an ordinary parking spot into an interactive space for people for the day, I was met with a smile and “Wow, cool!”  The positive attitude and support that people have towards improving our urban environment and quality of life through design reinforced my passion for my work as a designer and for the field of landscape architecture.

It was a great day for us to get out of the office and engage with our community here in San Jose and Sacramento, and also be part of a global urban open space movement!  If you missed us this year, make sure to check out our spaces on PARK(ing) Day 2014.

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Passion of Park Supporters: Castle Rock State Park

As you probably are already aware, California State Parks have become victims of the state budget crisis and as a result many parks are threatened with placement on a possible closure list.  Fortunately, through the tireless efforts of community members, non-profit organizations, philanthropic individuals, and local administrators, these parks have survived the crisis and are in fact emerging stronger and more beloved than ever. Callander Associates has been fortunate to be involved with one group’s efforts (Sempervirens Fund) and I recently witnessed firsthand the passion that park supporters have for these cherished bits of nature.

Castle Rock State Park was placed on the park closure list.  Although the park is heavily used by the rock climbing community and hikers it has been difficult to measure visitation since most visitors park for free along the State highway.  Even before the closure list, Sempervirens Fund and Callander Associates had been working to remedy this by developing plans for a new off street parking lot and visitor center. So when the park was up for closure, Sempervirens Fund and their supporters stepped up again with funding allowing the park to remain open.

As the lead design consultant for the new park improvements, we were asked to present the project at the recent open house and picnic on site.  I was so impressed with the event and the intense passion everyone displayed for the park.  Through barbecue, live music, guided tours and displays, the event was a true celebration of Castle Rock and a re-commitment to its preservation that I was honored to be a part of.

Brian Fletcher, President