Nathan Heavers, ASLA

Associate Professor

MLA, University of Pennsylvania

B.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Certificate in Visual Arts, Princeton University

MLA, University of Pennsylvania

B.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Certificate in Visual Arts, Princeton University

1001 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA, 22314

Nathan Heavers is an associate professor of landscape architecture at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, VA. He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture (2009) from the University of Pennsylvania where he was awarded a Van Alen Traveling Fellowship and the John Dixon Hunt Prize in History, Theory, and Criticism. He has taught landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, the City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture, and Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. In addition to design studios, he has taught field ecology and plant identification, site engineering and grading, materials and construction methods, digital representation, and scholarship in landscape architecture.

Nathan earned a Bachelor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University (2000) and was awarded membership to Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, for his senior thesis on Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Park. He also received a Certificate in Visual Arts and produced a solo exhibition of paintings at 185 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ. After graduation, he worked as the gardener at The Cloisters Museum of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2000-2003) and the horticulture manager at the Washington National Cathedral (2003-2006). These professional experiences built on internships at NOAA’s Narragansett Lab, RI (1997); The Konza Prairie, KS (1998); and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA (1999). More recently (2008), he was an intern at Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects in Wilmington, DE.

In 2013, he was a member of a multi-disciplinary team from Virginia Tech, who won First Prize in the Casey Tree Farm Masterplan Design Competition, and currently a principal investigator in the development of a site design for the Foundation. In 2014, Professor Heavers created the Prince Street Arboretum in Alexandria, VA, a teaching arboretum, which extends Virginia Tech’s urban campus into to the city. His research papers on the forest farming practices and arboreta, including a study of the National Mall, have been published and presented to international audiences.

Nathan’s current teaching, scholarship, and design practice build on years of experience farming on his family’s land in Rhode Island, where learn to draw, construct with stone and wood, and grow plants. Among the projects he and his family have created with their own hands over the past two decades are twenty acres of forest cleared for sheep pasture, an antique apple orchard, over one mile of dry-laid stone walls, two timber frame houses, and three timber frame barns.

research areas

  • Contemporary and Historical Arboreta
  • Temperate Agroforestry
  • Urban Forestry
  • The National Mall
  • Rock Creek National Park


  • Heavers, N. (in review). The Evolving Arboreta of the National Mall in Washington: 19th Century to Present. Landscape Journal.
  • Heavers, N. (2016). Integrating Agroforestry Practices within the Springsbury Arboretum. In European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools. Rapperswil, Switzerland.
  • Heavers, N. (2016). Wayside Fruit: Considering the Productive Potential of Roadway Verges in Washington, DC, and Alexandria, VA. In International Federation of Landscape Architects. Turin, Italy: International Federation of Landscape Architects.
  • Heavers, N. (2015). Arboretum on the National Mall: A Study of Tree Labeling. In Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. Landscape Research Record 4: Kansas State University.
  • Heavers, N. (2015). Finding and Mapping a Teaching Arboretum in Alexandria, Virginia. In European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools. Tartu, Estonia: European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools. Retrieved from