Do Not Migrate
Historic Landscapes - Cemetery Landscape Preservation Workshop

September 16-17, 2008

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Deadline: August 15, 2008


American Cemetery American Cemetery American Cemetery American Cemetery American Cemetery American Cemetery

The Workshop

Vegetation management is essential to preserve the character of historic cemeteries and for the protection of historic features. Too often, proper maintenance of historic vegetation is neglected. Infrequent and improper maintenance can irreversibly damage historic vegetation, monuments, fencing, and other site furnishings. Join us for a two-day hands-on workshop in historic American Cemetery to learn the basics of proper cemetery landscape maintenance.

American Cemetery is located within Natchitoches, Louisiana’s National Historic Landmark District. The cemetery is believed by many historians to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase. The earliest marked grave dates to 1797. The lush, undulating landscape includes mature shade and evergreen trees, ornamental trees and shrubs, and a variety of ground covers, bulbs, and other herbaceous material.

Training Facilities

Classroom lectures and discussions will be held at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), 645 University Parkway, Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Hands-on demonstrations will take place at the American Cemetery, Natchitoches, Louisiana. The cemetery is within walking distance of NCPTT and historic downtown Natchitoches.


Natchitoches is located 75 miles south of Shreveport, Louisiana and 60 miles north of Alexandria, Louisiana. Flights arrive daily into both the Shreveport Regional Airport and the Alexandria International Airport.


September weather in Natchitoches historically ranges from a low in the mid-60s to a high in the high-80s.

What to Bring

Participants are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. Work gloves are suggested.


Dan McCarthyDan McCarthy is the Gardener Supervisor of the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation the cultural landscape program in the Northeast Region of the National Park Service. In this capacity, Dan provides technical assistance on cultural landscape issues; performs comprehensive condition assessments of landscape features; manages, organizes and coordinates field projects that promote the stabilization and preservation of important landscapes; coordinates education and training programs for National Park Service staff to become skilled preservation maintenance professionals; and manages the Historic Plant Nursery Program. His work has included preservation maintenance field projects at over 45 National Parks in 16 states, and is credited with training 24 NPS staff to become certified arborists. Dan is a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and practices Preservation Arboriculture in the National Park Service. He has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his initiatives and accomplishments in cultural landscape preservation, including an award for Professional Excellence in Cultural Resource Management in 2003.

Chris WeisengerChris Wiesinger is the owner of the Southern Bulb Company, a flower bulb farm in East Texas that offers perennial flower bulbs for warm climates. Most Southern Bulb Company bulbs are time tested heirlooms once forgotten in the trade and now rescued from old homesites destined for commercial developments and highway expansion projects. Since the New York Times story of his life as a bulb collector and farmer, he is now known nationally as “The Bulb Hunter.” Chris was recently featured in the March 2008 issue of Southern Living. He is a 2004 Horticulture graduate from Texas A&M University. When not giving lectures or collecting bulbs, Chris officially resides in “the cabin” not far from the Southern Bulb farm.

Guy SternbergGuy Sternberg is a certified arborist and a retired landscape architect. He served on the staff of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for thirty-two years and currently is the owner and manager of Starhill Forest Arboretum, which holds the most extensive oak genus (Quercus) living reference collections in North America. Guy works with the National Famous and Historic Tree Program and the Champion Trees Project to promote awareness and appreciation of special historic trees, and is the tree consult and propagator for a special tree nursery serving Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield Illinois, the setting of President Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb. He is the principal author of the reference books Landscaping with Native Trees and Native Trees for North American Landscapes. Guy has also provided articles and photographs for numerous periodicals including American Nurseryman, Arborist News, American Horticulturalist, Landscape Architecture, Fine Gardening, Country Woman, and Old House Journal. He has also been a contributor for several volumes in Houghton-Mifflin’s Taylor’s Guide garden encyclopedia series, including Taylor’s Master Guide to Gardening, and for Taunton Press, Ortho, Timber Press, Reader’s Digest, Meredith, Better Homes & Gardens, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden horticulture books.

Debbie SmithDebbie Smith is Chief of the Historic Landscapes Program at the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology. Debbie coordinates the Center’s historic landscapes training program. Prior to coming to the Center in May 2007, Debbie was a historical landscape architect at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work at the Olmsted Center included property research, analysis of historic character, and treatment recommendations for National Park Service sites in six states, including Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord Mass., Gettysburg National Military Park, in Gettysburg Pa., Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, Mich., and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. She also served as project manager for the rehabilitation of a c. 1920s perennial garden at the Longfellow National Historic Site in Cambridge, Mass. Debbie earned her M.L.A. degree from the University of Michigan.

Jason ChurchJason Church is a Materials Conservator in the Materials Research Program at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. Jason’s focus is in the coordination and development of the Center’s national cemetery training initiative and related research. His love of cemeteries started at an early age with a fourth grade project on Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, NC. Since then he has concentrated his training as a conservator on the care of cemeteries with special attention placed on cemetery ironwork. Before joining NCPTT, he was a conservator for the City of Savannah, Ga., Department of Cemeteries. He earned his M.F.A. in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Charles M. ButlerCharles M. Butler has been a Maintenance Worker at the Barataria Wetlands Preserve unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve for 5 years. He is a recent graduate of the National Park Serviceƕs arborist training program, coordinated by the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation of the Northeast Region and currently practices preservation arboriculture at JELA. Before coming to the National Park Service, he operated a landscaping and grounds maintenance business and ran reforestation, chemical application, thinning and limbing crews for forest products corporations.

Tentative Schedule

DAY 1 – September 16, 2008

8:00 Registration
8:30 Welcome/Overview
9:00 Maintaining Historic Character
10:00 Dark Side of Dendrology: Cemetery Trees & Botanical Symbolism
11:00 Heriloom Bulbs
1:00 Is This Tree Hazardous?
1:45 Cemetery Tour
2:15 Condition Assessment – Trees
3:45 Vegetation vs. Built Features
4:30 Cemetery Bulbs & Perennials
5:15 Wrap-Up

DAY 2 – September 17, 2008

8:30 Effects of Improper Landscape Maintenance on Built Features
10:00 Tree Care
1:00 Bulb/Perennial Care
2:00 Shrub/Vine Care
2:45 Stump Removal
3:45 Invasive Plant Removal
5:00 Wrap-Up


Workshop fee includes a course notebook, supplies, and lunches and snacks both days.

For more information, contact Debbie Smith online or by phone at (318) 356-7444.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119