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NCPTT’s Historic Landscapes program encourages research and partnerships to improve the technologies available to practitioners as they undertake the complex tasks of documenting, preserving, and interpreting the historic landscapes significant to a wide variety of people and cultures.


Electronic Landscape Maintenance Plan

The Historic Landscapes program is developing a web-based tool for planning and management of historic landscapes. Prototype development during FY08 will concentrate on inventory and assessment of vegetation, enclosures (fencing, walls, etc.), and monuments.

The database software will support disconnected data collection in the field with automatic synchronization when an internet connection is available. The system will be field tested during the summer using inexpensive handheld devices and a tablet computer. The goal is to have the database system operational for use in the field during the Cemetery Landscape Preservation Workshop in September. The project is a joint effort between NCPTT’s Historic Landscapes program, IT, and Materials Research programs.

Training and Outreach

The Historic Landscapes program is planning a training video and a training event. Additionally, Debbie Smith, program chief, presented to students in Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s Master of Heritage Resources (MAHR) program.

Replacing Trees in Historic Landscape Video

Video location – Tree  stump at Magnolia Plantation

Video location – Tree stump at Magnolia Plantation

The video will demonstrate best practice tech- niques for planting trees in a historic landscape. Two techniques will be highlighted: replanting an in-kind tree within the stump of a removed tree and planting a tree in an archeologically sensitive area. The video will be filmed at the Magnolia Plantation slave quarters and will be made in cooperation with the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and the Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Filming is scheduled for the week of April 20.

Cemetery Landscape Preservation Workshop

The hands-on workshop is focused on preservation and maintenance of historic cemetery vegetation. Lecture and hands-on sessions will include: determining historic character; botanical symbolism, inventory, assessment, and proper care of plant material; vegetation vs. built features; the effects of improper maintenance on monuments; and stump and invasive plant removal. The workshop will take place Sept. 16-17 in Natchitoches, La. at NCPTT and in American Cemetery.

MAHR Program Presentation

Smith spoke to NSU’s Masters of Heritage Resources students working on a project within Breda Cemetery in Natchitoches, La. about historic cemetery vegetation. The presentation focused on the historic use of vegetation, determining a cemetery’s historic character, and the identification of invasive vegetation. It also included a discussion of vegetation issues at Breda Cemetery.


Maintaining Historic Urban Parks Workshop, Washington D.C., Nov. 5-8.

Maintaining Historic Urban Parks Workshop

Maintaining Historic Urban Parks Workshop

National Mall, Washington DC. Photo by: Debbie Smith

Debbie Smith attended the workshop co-sponsored by the National Association of Olmsted Parks and the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. The workshop provided a forum for discussion of current issues and solutions associated with maintain historic urban parks. Behind the scenes field sessions included the National Mall, Mt. Vernon, and Meridian Hill Park.

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

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