My name is Carrie Gregory, I’m a native of San Diego, California but currently I’m working in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a private consultant, statistical research firm.
How did you become interested in landscape preservation?
I’m a historic preservation specialist there and very recently about six years I was an archeologist and anthropologist by trade, decided I wanted to get my masters degree. I went to Goucher College working on a Masters of Historic Preservation and trying to find my place. My mentor Hugh Miller at Goucher College introduced me to the idea of landscape preservation. It really worked for me because in archeology there’s a theory called the catchment area. It’s where prehistoric peoples gathered their wood, get their water, and so just coming from that background in archeology I’ve always looked at places holistically. Landscape preservation tended to put all the things I was interested in together: photograph and map analysis, and history, and historic context, and archival research. So, it just worked.
How would you define a cultural landscape?
Beyond the definitions, it’s a place of the heart. It’s a place that you go to and you feel the presence of the past, of important events, of ordinary people or extraordinary people. It’s a place that touches you and I think we find them every day, we see them every day, and we usually walk through them. They are places that touch your heart. So for different people, different places are more important than others. That’s one thing about having a holistic group like the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, an archeologist is going to have maybe a more special association or feeling about something that is prehistoric or historic archeology. Then you are going to have an architect who really likes this building. It’s a place of the heart.
What types of projects are you working on now?
As a historic preservation specialists for a cultural resource management firm I don’t get to do landscape projects as often as I like, but currently I’m working on a project for the Bureau of Land Management. They are looking at landscapes of the National Historic Trails System, so I get to go out and do landscape assessments along the El Camino Real in New Mexico and the Old Spanish Trail in New Mexico.
What has been your most significant project so far?
I think my most significant project was I got to revise a National Register Nomination for a rural landscape, Agua Caliente Ranch in Arizona, and it got listed in the National Register in 2010. So that to me was the best.
What do you think the future is for landscape preservation?
I think it’s bright, I think with all of the graduate programs in the country and in Canada instructing that and teaching it as a course, I think it is only going to get better. As far as direction, I see more technology being used in documentation and anaylsis: Lidar, ground penetrating radar, more GIS analysis, which I think is really good. I think it’s an area that provides more data to the researcher than just the archival record. I also see, now that this field is finally gaining ground, the underappreciated landscapes being documented, the ones associated with social history or more recent ethic groups, or industrial landscapes, the ugly landscapes. So I’m looking forward to seeing the world of landscapes expand through technology and the underappreciated landscapes being recorded.
How did you become involved in the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation?
Hugh Miller said, “Carrie, you ought to come to this conference,” because he could tell I was very interested in landscape preservation. So I applied for the student scholarship and won in 2005 and 2006, got elected to the board of directors in 2010, and last year got elected as vice president. I can’t wait to see what’s next. It’s been a wonderful ride.
What does the Alliance mean to you?
After my first meeting in 2005, I walked away with the feeling “I’ve found my people.” I finally found people that thought like I did, felt the way about resources the way that I did, approached preservation like I did. Throughout the year I’d talk to members and I’d be working on a project and try to get a hold of them as a resource base. The membership provides a resource base and for me the annual meetings are rejuvenating. I get caught up in the day-to-day work and I come to annual meetings and I open my eyes, open my brain, it’s just a wonderful experience. So on the whole it’s a great resource form me in landscape preservation.
Recorded at the 2011 Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation Annual Meeting in Forth Worth, Texas