Field Notes

Industry News

Aerial Camera Needs Security Clearance Outside U.S.

Applied Ecological Services, Inc., with Ayres Associates, has acquired an aerial camera that captures color and near-infrared (NIR) imagery. It will support a wide variety of groundbreaking projects, from engineering grade mapping to environmental assessments and disaster relief projects, and represents the latest crossroads of science, business, and state-of-the-art technology. AES and Ayres represent one of only two organizations in the country to use the camera this way.


Re-Use Just As Important As Recycle

Looking for a used rubber roofing membrane to be repurposed as a pond liner? How about a retired wine barrel to repurpose as a trash can? Visit to find the only company in America whose entire product line is made of repurposed items. How many different ways can you think of to use the ski-lift cables pictured here?


Publication Gives Guidance On Grassland Restoration

College Station, Texas--To aid landowners in the middle Trinity River basin and similar areas, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service has produced Native Grassland Restoration in the Middle Trinity River Basin , a publication with step-by-step instructions on how to restore native grasslands. Dr. Jim Cathey, AgriLife Extension program leader for wildlife and fisheries sciences, said native bunchgrasses and forbs make ideal habitat for wildlife, such as quail and other ground-nesting birds, as well as several species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects native to prairie habitats. For more information, visit .


Recruits And Ladders

Boral Bricks Facility Earns Star VPP Status

Boral Bricks Inc., a brick manufacturer and distributor of masonry products, announced that its Union City, Okla., manufacturing facility has been approved for participation in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In a letter from Assistant Secretary of Labor, David Michaels, Boral was notified that the Union City facility has earned “star” VPP status, the highest of three program classifications.

The OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) recognizes excellence in safety and health programs, with the “star” status denoting exemplary achievement in this area. Boral’s Union City plant is the only facility in the brick and structural clay tile industry to attain this prestigious designation.

Balsley Associates Gets Snaps For Perk Park

The International Downtown Association recognized designer Thomas Balsley Associates, landscape architect McKnight Associates, and client LAND studio with a Downtown Merit Award for their work and initiatives related to Cleveland’s Perk Park.

The project was among 22 entries in the category of Public Space which recognizes capital improvements that enhanced the urban design, physical function, or economic viability of downtown and the community.

The Washington, D.C. based International Downtown Association (IDA) is a champion for vital and livable urban centers and strives to inform, influence, and inspire downtown leaders and advocates.

SITES Set On Stone Brewing

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, Calif. is one of eight projects to achieve certification under the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of built landscapes.

Among the specific sustainable design benchmarks met by Schmidt Design Group, Inc. and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens:

  • Capturing stormwater and utilizing it as a design feature

  • Edible landscaping and drought-tolerant, regionally appropriate plantings

  • Use of salvaged and reused materials in construction of the site

  • A commitment to sustainable and organic maintenance practices

SITES is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. It was created in 2005 to fill a critical need for guidelines and recognition of sustainable landscapes based on their planning, design, construction and maintenance. The voluntary, national rating system and set of performance benchmarks applies to sites with or without buildings.


Word On The Web

On “When the Fountain Runs Dry,” July 20 Week-Ender blog post:

Most recently, I was involved in a similar project—a roundabout with a water feature—that saw the client reconsider and look for an alternative design (before it ever was constructed). When discussed in more detail, we expressed our opinion that the long-term and ongoing maintenance of such a feature would become a nagging liability.

Rarely do we specify water features in projects geared more towards addressing non-pedestrian needs. Water features may be appropriate for more intimate pedestrian areas—plazas, patios, courtyards, restaurants, residential—and locations where vandalism and mischief are expected to be less opportune (thus lessening the “suds in the bucket” temptation). It is these applications where we start “playing in the water”.

Tim May

Teague, Nall & Perkins

Fort Worth, Texas


Consider Soil Inoculants For Winter

Throughout growing seasons, many individuals rely heavily upon chemical fertilizers to keep lawns filled with the necessary nutrients needed for maximal growth. However, many remain unaware to the detrimental effects that fertilizers bring with them, especially when plant growth shuts down for the winter months.

Fertilizers can flood the ground with more nutrients than are necessary, which over time will make the soil hard and compacted. In summer months, this will result in poor absorption of water and nutrients by grass root systems. In winter—when root systems are in states of dormancy—the problem is even more severe. Root systems absorb little to no nutrients at these times, and are susceptible to chemical burn as they sit in a build-up of minerals. As the build-up compounds over time, plant growth weakens, and the chemical fertilizers adversely affect the surrounding environment.

Soil inoculants are naturally occurring microbial bacteria that can be found in healthy soil. When use (or over-use) of chemical fertilizer compacts the soil, normal levels of these microbial bacteria drop drastically over time. These integral, and overlooked, bacteria digest plant and fertilizer residue making a reusable and un-compacted humus layer. Using soil inoculants during times of plant dormancy is the best possible way to organically prepare soil for future growth.

For further information regarding the benefits of soil inoculants, visit .


Mesh Handrails Add Sparkle To South Street Bridge

Cambridge, Md.--Residents and businesses around Philadelphia’s South Street neighborhood are enjoying the newly reconstructed South Street Bridge that serves more than 30,000 users in this community of shops, dining and entertainment.

Four glass river towers, which double as scenic overlooks, stand in the Schuylkill River shining color-changing LEDs on to Cambridge architectural handrails. These not only act as fall protection, but reflect the lighting to give the bridge a trendy aesthetic reminiscent of the South Street community it serves. To avoid driver distraction, the LEDs will remain white for the majority of the time.

“Overall, the mesh accentuated the horizontality of the bridge and mitigated the harshness of the structural steel railing,” says Bruce Chamberlin, H2L2 Architects/Planners, LLC, the architects commissioned for the design. “In addition, it gave the bridge a soft glow at night, while maintaining the openness desired by the design team and community.”

Engineered by Gannett Fleming of Camp Hill, Penn., and managed by Driscoll Construction Company, Inc., the mesh handrails were installed by L&S Erectors of Litchfield, Ohio.

The City of Philadelphia, who is also the owner of the bridge, released a statement from Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, Rina Cutler, stating “We have a beautiful design that will withstand the test of time,” calling it “a safe and comfortable way to cross the Schuylkill River.”