World Landscape Architecture Month: The Future of the Grand Forest in a Changing Climate

As part of World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM), we consider our natural spaces as they are now, and how changing climate will affect them in the future. AHBL Landscape Designer, Stuart Johnson, joins the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation in a conversation about the popular Grand Forest, a 121 acre forest on Bainbridge Island, and its connection to the changing climate environment. According to Bainbridge Community Broadcasting, “The conversation invites the listener to participate in thinking about what does forest health mean and to become actively involved in this much beloved open-space park in the heart of the island.” 

Stuart has over ten years of diverse industry experience. He received his undergraduate degree in Urban Studies at the University of Washington – Tacoma. Prior to joining AHBL, Stuart supported multiple jurisdictions, including Metro Parks Tacoma, the City of Tacoma, and Pierce County Parks and Recreation.  He also spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer, serving in an Environmental Stewardship capacity in conjunction with the City of Tacoma. Stuart received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington in 2020.  

We asked Stuart a few questions about his experience as a guest on the podcast, and his interest in the future of forests. See his responses, and listen to the podcast below.  

Why you are passionate about the podcast's topic? 

“Northwest forests are essential to the history and character of our region. As someone who greatly enjoys learning about local history and cares deeply about sense of place, the stories that trees tell about our land and ourselves continue to inspire and inform me. “ 

How did you get connected with the podcast? 

“As a graduate student at the University of Washington I had the opportunity to take on a research project focused on three stratified forest sites across Bainbridge Island. After studying Grand Forest West in depth for my thesis I was invited by the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation to share what I have learned about the forest’s condition.” 

What do you hope people take away from the podcast? 

“I think the podcast serves first of all to bring attention to an exceptional resource at the heart of the island community, whose management is the subject of ongoing public debate. Furthermore, the podcast seeks to provide an introduction to the complex factors that land managers face when stewarding these forests in the context of urbanization and a changing climate.” 

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