Michael Davidsohn, MCLP, Chair Elizabeth Thompson, RLA, Member Elisabeth Hamin, PhD, Department Chair
The Stockbridge School Agricultural Learning Center (SSALC) will be a 40-acre hands-on agricultural learning laboratory for students, staff, visitors, and neighbors. Still in its planning phases, the Center will be located on what is currently a hay field just north of UMass Amherst campus. A conceptual master plan was created in 2013 that is being used for fundraising as well as planning for agricultural demonstration plots and architectural hubs. Improperly managed agricultural landscapes are known as one of the biggest threats to water quality in the United States. As a model of forward thinking agricultural practices, properly managed stormwater on the SSALC site should be as paramount as the primary demonstration agricultural plots. Currently, however, the relationship between agriculture and stormwater is not represented in existing planning documents. The SSALC project presents a unique opportunity to merge sustainable agricultural practices with sustainable stormwater management practices in what will be a public and heavily utilized landscape. This project ultimately reintroduces stormwater management to the planning process of the SSALC so that as the Center becomes established, stormwater management will not be a reaction to development in the landscape but an integral aesthetic, functional, and educational aspect of the visitor, student, and staff experience.
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