As an undeclared major in my first year of college in the early 80's I struggled to find that balance between the living and the static, between horticulture and architectural design. That balance for me was landscape architecture. My early influence was my chores as a child working in the yard helping pull weeds or harvesting our vegetable garden. I remember from about the age of five years old putting my thumb on the hose trying to create more arch to water the plants as the spray's mist cooled my face and the dripping water filled my rubber boots. I observed how water drops clung to the leaves, listened for the birds around me, marveled at the insect paths I crossed, looked forward to the smell of the damp earth, and knew that I was in my element.
This continues to influence my teaching and remind me that the ecosystem and I are better when we help each other. It is humbling to realize that while I continuously strive to sustain a level of symbiosis with my environment, mother nature really doesn't need me. She'll get the job done. It may take hundreds or thousands of year for an empty grass land to become a woodland forest but she's in no hurry. I on the other hand am. That's why we have thermal composting, worm bins, compost tea, and bee keeping to name a few. That's where taking the ecosystem and applying architectural principles, which incorporate natural and manmade form, come into play. It embraces the subjects of my studies that I learned from a child up until now. I continue to learn about the different genus and species of plants and organisms along with their functions in the environment, botany, soil biology, irrigation, grading and construction.
I believe that we are all stewards of the land in the highest form and groundskeepers of the landscape installations we create, the food fields we cultivate, and the delicate balances of the continually evolving ecosystems and microclimates that develop as a result of Nature's hand and man's influence. What is produced from the union of ecology and architecture, this ecotecture, is diverse environments that feed, shelter, and encourage positive interaction between organisms. Sometimes these environments are meant for humans to harvest but many times and I have to say most times, these places are meant for other creatures to inhabit and harvest undisturbed, while humans admire them from afar.
It is with this mind that I find myself a continuous learner and observer of the changing landscape around me. Where the growth of a old tree creates a deep shaded environment, everything changes when it collapses during a snow storm. It opens a new area of sun, growth, and flowering where none existed before. The fact is that nothing is permanent and nature has a way of sustaining itself and adapting on its own. We must also adapt as we find ways to cultivate and cycle the land for food as well as forage while leaving the least amount of disturbing footprints behind. We must look beyond our space and think globally on the footprints we do leave. It is my goal to continue to cultivate teaching practices which inspire, inform, and strengthen an appreciation of our ecosystems while caring for the organisms that dwell within it.
We are the Stewards Of the World,
Blanca holds a B.S. degree in Landscape Architecture from the School of Environmental Design at Cal Poly University Pomona, California. She also holds an MBA with a Geographic Information Systems emphasis from the University of Redlands, California. She is a perpetual volunteer having a been trained as a docent with the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve in the hills above Murrieta, California. She has continued her volunteerism with the Riverside County Waste Resources as a Master Composter and speaker, completed a Soil in the Food Web Intensive Certification and holds the equivalent of a Viticulture, Enology, and Winery Technology Certificate from Mount San Jacinto College. She is dedicated to teaching and sharing her experience and knowledge about designing functional landscape for harvesting while caring for the land. As a developing Moringa Educator and Grower, one of her main focuses is to teach how to grow and benefit from the Moringa tree. This tree is the most nutritionally dense plant in the world and vital in the efforts to combat malnutrition in struggling countries. In her classes she teaches about harvesting and drying, bee keeping, soil biology, thermal composting, vermiculture, and compost tea. Other aspects of her work involve managing her own small demonstration area and vineyard. One of her goals is to map the Moringa projects and growers throughout the world. Among other things she is a certified aesthetic pruner, tree climber, bee keeper, and wine maker. She is also a Licensed Landscape Architect and works as a consultant for the Planning Department of the City of Temecula.