The Springsbury Institute at the Casey Tree Farm


The Springsbury Institute at the Casey Tree Farm project is a First Prize winning design competition proposal by a multidisciplinary team from Virginia Tech, including landscape architecture, architecture, natural resources, and urban forestry. The Casey Tree Foundation of Washington, DC, organized the competition to generate ideas for their 730-acre historic estate on the Shenandoah River. The competition brief challenged teams to envision an environmentally sound masterplan for the forests and fields of the Casey Tree Farm, as well as to imagine new possibilities for the buildings on the property. The landscape was to include a sustainable tree nursery to support Casey Trees’ mission of managing the urban tree canopy of Washington, DC. Associate professor of landscape architecture Paul Kelsch led the team comprised of faculty Nathan Heavers, Susan Piedmont-Palladino, Eric Wiseman, John Fike, John Munsell, and graduate students Taylor Chakurda, Laura Cohen, Amanda Foran, Sarah Richter, and Andrea Swiatocha. Their proposal, the Springsbury Institute, supports and advances scholarly research and learning in agroforestry, urban forestry, and the cultural landscape of Virginia. The former barn complex houses the proposed institute and the farm implements agroforestry practice to manage the landscape. The agroforestry practices combine agriculture and forestry operations and yield multiple environmental benefits and products. The Springsbury Institute supports experiments in agroforestry and tree nursery design. A key element of the plan is the 50-acre tree nursery, which produces container-grown trees for Washington, DC, conserving soil on the farm and carefully managing nursery run-off to protect the water quality of the Shenandoah River.

Contributors: Paul Kelsch, Nathan Heavers