Jack Ahern is a professor of landscape architecture and urban planning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research and teaching focuses on the application of urban landscape ecology theory in cities to provide ecosystem services and build resilience capacity. His recent publications advance theory on applied urban ecology, supported by case studies and precedents from professional practices in the US, Europe and Asia. He is currently focusing on new theories of “novel urban ecosystems” to better understand how “new nature” in contemporary cities can be understood, classified, designed and managed for beauty and ecological functions. Jack consults on native plant community establishment and management for leading design firms – integrating his horticultural, design and ecological knowledge in the cause of making memorable landscapes.
Ronnit Bendavid-Val has spent nearly two decades working in public parks and gardens in the New York City area. For the past 3 years she has been the Director of Gardens & Grounds at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, following a year as the Vice President of Horticulture & Operations at the High Line. Prior to that, she spent 15 years in horticulture at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, holding various horticulture positions including Director of Citywide Horticulture for four years. Ronnit has always felt strongly about the need for sustainable and environmentally sound practices in both horticulture and agriculture. In every position she’s held, she has brought such practices into her work and looked for ways to expand their application.
Cindy Goulder is a landscape and garden designer based in Brooklyn, NY where her company, Ecological Landscapes/Urban Gardens, has for over 20 years provided planning, design, and installation services, plus management guidance and hands-on coaching, to homeowners, community gardeners, and public land agencies. Earlier in her career, she created estate gardens and suburban landscapes in the New York City tri-state area, then jumped the garden wall to design and supervise installations of municipal ecological restoration projects. Her present energies focus on ecological planting design and efficient use of water for the long term and on serving people who wish to garden and explore/touch/learn from nature. Cindy trained in horticulture and landscape design at New York Botanical Garden and studied wetland ecology and forestry at the University of Washington. She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from Whole Systems Design in Vermont and a Master’s Degree in Ecology (Biological Sciences) from Fordham University.