Robert Castelo, a master’s student in the Landscape Architecture department at the University of Idaho, has been awarded the second Linda Milbourn Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. He will be working on a project with University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
“I am oriented toward gaining knowledge in the design, restoration, and conservation of ecologically productive landscapes, a concept that has distinct appeal to me,” Castelo said in his application. “As my master’s project for a graduate degree, I would like to propose a third updated Master Plan [for the Arboretum] and implement a few of the proposals in the plan.”
The master’s project officially began in the spring semester of 2023 and will continue throughout the summer and the following fall. The deliverable for the project will be a third master plan that addresses the present challenges within the site and the challenges presented by the evolving social dynamics of the surrounding area.
A major area of focus for the project will be the two water features within the Arboretum. These ponds currently experience annual explosive algal blooms that cannot be controlled with the resources currently available to the maintenance staff. Designing and implementing a fixed and permanent system to handle this algal growth will be a major component of the project.
Additionally, former farmland on the Arboretum’s southern border has been sold for residential development by the city. What used to be a picturesque view of the Palouse Hills is now changing to a view of high-density residential units. Creating a visual, vegetation-based screen to preserve the naturalistic intimacy of the Arb’s user experience is another goal of the project.
Finally, the Arb is home to a historic dairy barn with a history that goes beyond the inception of the site itself. It currently houses equipment integral for arboretum operations. The barn is nonetheless a striking feature of the landscape and is a scenic focus for many visitors who post pictures of it on social media. Weddings and celebratory events are also held here. Developing the barn with a more formal event space is another goal of the project.
“The University of Idaho’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a treasured and storied component of our campus,” Castelo said. “It is a place of intense natural beauty and to be a part of its story is an honor. Applying the Linda Milbourn Fellowship award to its longevity and continued conservation benefits the community as a whole and retains an important environmental asset the region possesses.”
The funds from the Linda Milbourn Fellowship will provide a stipend for continued education costs during this experiential research/planning process.
The Linda Milbourn Fellowship in Landscape Architecture was introduced in 2021 to provide financial assistance for a promising student pursuing a graduate degree in landscape architecture with a distinct project at a member garden. We’re indebted to an anonymous donor who established this $5,000 Fellowship at the Association to honor one of industry’s visionary leaders who passed in 2019.
Graduate students of Landscape Architecture interested in applying are encouraged to begin planning their 2023–2024 projects with affiliated gardens in advance of the next application cycle which opens July 1, 2023.