Laurie Olin Receives PHS Distinguished Achievement Medal


The 183nd Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Council  convened on Tuesday, Nov. 9, to elect new members and present the 2010 PHS awards to an exceptional list of honorees.

L-R: PHS Chair John Ball, Laurie Olin, and PHS President Drew Becher

Renowned American landscape architect Laurie Olin received the PHS Distinguished Achievement Medal. Olin is a founding partner of the Philadelphia-based landscape architecture and urban design firm, OLIN. The firm received the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design in 2008 and was on the winning team in the 2010 competition to design the new United States Embassy in London with architects Kieran Timberlake. OLIN landscape designs include the Campus Development Plan for the University of Pennsylvania, where Laurie Olin serves on the faculty; the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles; Bryant Park, Battery Park City, and Columbus Circle in New York City;  the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.; the Brancusi Ensemble in Romania; and the Simon and Helen Director Park in Portland.

OLIN is currently working with PHS on the renovation of the landscape at the Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Laurie Olin was also selected to serve as the landscape architect for the Barnes Foundation’s new site on the Parkway.

The PHS Distinguished Achievement Medal is presented each year to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of horticulture and has had a strong impact on PHS programs and projects.

PHS also presented its Certificates of Merit to the following recipients:

Michael Bowell is an orchid specialist and self-described “general practitioner horticulturist.” He and his partner, Simple, own Create-a-Scene, Inc., a landscape design service in Chester County where they have a two-acre garden and large greenhouse. Bowell received a BS in plant science from Rutgers University. He regularly volunteers as a lecturer at the Philadelphia International Flower Show, where his orchids have earned numerous blue ribbons and rosettes. He also leads container and trough workshops on his property, a favorite destination for gardeners and PHS members.

Margo Eremus and Sherrill Rowland have been longtime partners in many PHS projects. They worked together for more than a decade on the Flower Show’s Infonet Committee, which they co-chaired. Their latest venture is organizing volunteers for the Meadowbrook Farm Store, which sells houseplants, herbs, perennials, Gold

(L-R) Sherrill Rowland and Margo Eremus

Medal shrubs, and gardening accessories on the exhibit floor of the Flower Show. They also help with Meadowbrook’s booth at the PHS Fall Garden Festival. Eremus serves on the Azalea Garden Party Committee with her husband, Joe.

Sister Margaret McKenna is the garden coordinator for the New Jerusalem Now community garden in North Philadelphia. This special garden is managed for and by people living at New Jerusalem Now, a substance abuse recovery program. The garden participates in the PHS City Harvest program, which grows fresh produce for area food cupboards. The garden has been a winner in the PHS City Gardens Contest and has been described by the judges as “a life force in North Philadelphia.”

Sister Margaret McKenna (right) with PHS staffer Eileen Gallagher

The PHS Council approved the nomination of the following members for re-election to second three-year terms, starting Nov. 9: Heather Ascher, Thomas L. Bennett, Leslie Anne Miller, John F. O’Rourke, Paul A. Reid, and Patricia L. Smith.

The Nominating Committee elected to three-year terms the following individuals to three-year terms on Council:

Roberta Dranoff has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a grants administrator and development manager for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She is a docent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dranoff served as chair of the 2010 Flower Show Preview Party Committee, and is a member of the Flower Show Executive Committee.

Margaret McCarvill is the global supply chain director for Dow Coating Materials. She has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Villanova University. She and her husband, Stephen Amadio, enjoy developing their garden in Cherry Hill, N.J. McCarvill is vice president of the Neighborhood Gardens Association, a Philadelphia Land Trust, and serves on the PHS Finance Committee.

Robin M. Potter spent 20 years in the computer services industry before turning her focus to horticulture. She completed the Barnes Foundation Arboretum course and became a Master Gardener in Camden County. A lecturer and garden design consultant, she serves on the Haddonfield, N.J., Shade Tree Commission and the Board of the Haddonfield Civic Association. Porter chairs the PHS Plant Dividend Committee, serves as a Flower Show tour guide, and judges for the PHS City Gardens Contest and Community Greening Award.

Frank J. Soucek is director of business development for Delaware Valley Wholesale Florist in Sewell, N.J. He serves on the Flower Show Executive Committee.

Founded in 1827, PHS motivates people to improve the quality of life and transform their communities through horticulture. PHS’s signature initiatives – Philadelphia Green and the Philadelphia International Flower Show – uphold a tradition of quality horticulture, sustainable community development, and floral and landscape design that inspires gardeners throughout the nation.

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