FellowshipAbout the Marco Polo Stufano Garden Conservancy Fellowship
For ten years starting in 1999, the Marco Polo Stufano Garden Conservancy Fellowship offered a gardener or horticulturist an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the preservation of America's gardens. To preserve our garden heritage for the future, it is essential to foster tomorrow’s horticultural leaders. The Fellowship offered an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to manage an exceptional garden and develop it for public education and enjoyment.
The Fellowship fostered a number of promising professionals who have elevated the level of maintenance and horticultural distinction of these exceptional gardens. Each one completed a special project such as a management plan, garden documentation, or plant inventory. These skilled individuals have gone on to distinguish themselves in the field of public horticulture and to inspire in others a greater appreciation of excellence in horticulture, garden design, and garden preservation.
For more information about this fellowship, or to become involved in helping to enable the resumption of a similar fellowship, call our Preservation Projects department at 845.424.6500.
Profiles of Marco Polo Stufano Garden Conservancy Fellows:
Elizabeth Lawrence Garden, Charlotte, NC
Kathleen (Katie) Mullen had a head start on her stint as the ninth annual Marco Polo Stufano Garden Conservancy Fellow, designated to serve the Elizabeth Lawrence Garden in Charlotte, North Carolina. She had already been at work there part time since February 2009, creating a database of all plant material, hosting guided tours, and doing general garden maintenance. When the nine-month fellowship term commenced in September, Katie began to work full time. She earned her bachelor of science in horticulture from the North Carolina State University in 1994, was a field manager for Carolina Nurseries, ran her own gardening and landscape design businesses in the Charleston and Charlotte areas, and worked in landscape sales and project management.
During her fellowship, she had the opportunity to learn and develop skills needed to operate and manage a public garden. Katie worked exclusively at the Lawrence Garden alongside staff from nearby Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary, which owns the Lawrence property. Her tasks were to care for the garden, revitalize portions of it, document the plant material, and help develop the garden as a horticultural study center.
Longue Vue House & Gardens, New Orleans, LA
Paul Cady of Washington, DC, the Garden Conservancy's Marco Polo Stufano Fellowship for 2008, earned his bachelor of science degree in plant science at Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2005. Paul's nine-month assignment was at Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans, helping it recover from the impact of Hurricane Katrina. He developed a planting plan for display and interpretation and assisted in its implementation.
Before his fellowship, Paul worked as a zone gardener at the Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC. His responsibilities included all horticultural aspects of five acres and two additional off-site houses and coordinating and teaching an elementary-school level garden curriculum. Prior to joining Washington National Cathedral, Paul was horticulturist with Designs for Greener Gardens in Annapolis, Maryland.
Tessa Izenour worked at Hollister House Garden in Washington, Connecticut, as the 2006 Marco Polo Stufano Garden Conservancy Fellow. During her internship, Tessa worked with owner and creator George Schoellkopf to maintain and document the garden. Tessa was selected from a strong field of applicants. She earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a certificate in floral design in 2005 from Temple University. She has an M.F.A in painting and printmaking from Yale University School of Art (1993) and a B.A. from Swarthmore College (1990)
Hollister House Garden, Washington, CT
With her twin interests in plants and painting, Tessa found Hollister House Garden an ideal assignment. “Both are preoccupied with color, texture, space. I’ve never worked in a garden with this level of sophistication. I’m learning a lot just being in these spaces.”
Gardens of Alcatraz, San Francisco, CA
Carola Ashford, the 2004-2005 Marco Polo Stufano Garden Conservancy Fellow, was selected as a gardener of outstanding promise and impressed the interview team with her knowledge of plants, ability to communicate effectively about gardens, and her keen desire to learn and to make significant contributions in public horticulture in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Carola spent much of her time on the island working the the gardens and with volunteers. She updated the plant inventory and conducted research into the history of the gardens, especially seeking photographs of the gardens from the 1950s and 60s. After her fellowship, Carola stayed on as the Gardens of Alcatraz Project Manager. In the spring of 2010, the new propagation greenhouse on the island was dedicated in her memory.
"I am so excited about this unusually popular tourist destiniation being the site of a historic garden preservation effort. So many people will plug into the importance of these gardens to the military families, the prison staff and thier families, and the inmates. I would hope that our restoration work will tell the compelling story of people connecting to gardens to enrich their lives, and the importance of preserving these kinds of connections." -- Carola Ashford.
Van Vleck House & Gardens, Montclair, NJ
Sonia Uyterhoeven of Auburndale, Massachusetts, had been most recently a research fellow at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. Prior to that, she served as a horticultural intern at the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts, and as a horticulturist at Wolfson College in Cambridge, England. A graduate of Harvard University and University of Cambridge, Sonia was also completing her dissertation in the history of science.
Sonia worked with staff members and volunteers at Van Vleck to document, rehabilitate, and maintain the historic landscape, which features collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other broad-leaved evergreens. She is currently the Gardener for Public Programs at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, NY.
"During the course of the fellowship, I had an opportunity to take on leadership roles in the management of my project and in my interactions with the staff at the Van Vleck House and Gardens. I gained confidence in my professional skills and had the opportunity to explore new areas in terms of my professional development."
-- Sonia Uyterhoeven
Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, CA
Rebecca Rice enjoyed her time at the dramatic setting of Ruth Bancroft's renowned dry garden in Walnut Creek, California, just over the hills from the San Francisco Bay Area. The very first project of the Garden Conservancy, the Ruth Bancroft Garden has been open to the public since 1992. To help ensure the preservation of this work of art, Becky created a botanical inventory program, assisted in the daily management of the landscape, and developed interpretive programs. She continued to be employed by the Ruth Bancroft Garden as Education Director and then Executive Director.
"With six weeks of my fellowship behind me and thirty-three left to go, I can say that it is such a treat to work at the Ruth Bancroft Garden and witness first-hand Mrs. Bancroft's approach to gardening and design. Through this opportunity I have been introduced not only to a whole new world of plants and xeriscape gardening, but also to a host of volunteers that donate their time to ensure the garden's preservation and success. I have met a variety of gardeners, visited some outstanding California gardens, and made contacts that will impact my future. I cannot think of a better way to forward my career than with the Garden Conservancy." -- Becky Rice
Chase Garden, Orting, WA
The Chase Garden, a richly planted four-and-a-half acre garden was begun in the late 1950s by Emmot and Ione Chase. Situated high on a plateau with majestic Mount Rainier rising in the distance, the garden draws from a Japanese inspired palette, and includes a stroll garden, a rolling meadow and a woodland. While living and working at the Chase Garden in the Pacific Northwest, Caroline Eells contributed greatly to the design development, maintenance, and documentation of the landscape.
"Through my relationship with the Chases and their garden I gained a deep understanding of the importance of garden preservation. As a Garden Conservancy Fellow I was given the opportunity to work in a garden I grew to love, to learn about the horticulture of the Northwest, to develop my public relations and administrative skills, and to meet many wonderful people along the way." -- Caroline Eells
Marion Murray was the recipient of the second Garden Conservancy Preservation Fellowship. While at The Fells, she completed a management plan for garden vistas and honed important horticultural skills. She is currently the Interpretive horticulturalist at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island.
The Fells, Newbury, NH
"I will never forget my time spent in New Hampshire researching and gardening in the beautiful landscape of the Fells, attending classes, taking field trips to surrounding gardens and making lasting friendships. The staff and volunteers made the experience absolutely unforgettable. The Fellowship was very instrumental in helping me attain my career goals, as I am now employed at another Garden Conservancy project garden." -- Marion Murray
Peckerwood Garden, Hempstead, TX
Burton Knight was the first Garden Conservancy Fellow. Through his experiences at Peckerwood Garden, he gained an in-depth knowledge of the flora of Texas and Mexico and contributed to the maintenance and development of this significant landscape.