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Bernheim Hosts Sustainable SITES Initiative Workshop

By Claude Stephens

The natural light in the Bernheim Visitor Center – Sassafras Room provided the perfect location to discuss landscapes that value nature.
The natural light in the Bernheim Visitor Center – Sassafras Room provided the perfect location to discuss landscapes that value nature.

On Thursday, April 28, the United States Green Building Council hosted the first regional workshop in the nation to introduce the Sustainable SITES Initiative. Fifty-eight design professionals including landscape architects, architects, engineers, ecologists and site planners gathered in the Bernheim Visitor Center to explore a sustainability rating system for landscape design. Sustainable SITES projects are required to exceed best practice standards in ten different design areas including water, soils, materials, human health, construction, and education. Projects seeking SITES certification achieve points to become certified or additional points to reach silver, gold, or platinum award levels.

The SITES workshop team included (from left to right): Nancy Church, Executive Director, KY Chapter of the USGBC Jamie Statter, Vice President of Strategic Relations, USGBC Danielle Pieranunzi, Program Director, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Sarah Weidner Astheimer, Senior Associate, RLA, James Corner Field Operations Micah Silvey, Director of Certification, Green Business, Certification Inc. Claude Stephens, Bernheim Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design
The SITES workshop team included (from left to right):
Nancy Church, Executive Director, KY Chapter of the USGBC
Jamie Statter, Vice President of Strategic Relations, USGBC
Danielle Pieranunzi, Program Director, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Sarah Weidner Astheimer, Senior Associate, RLA, James Corner Field Operations
Micah Silvey, Director of Certification, Green Business, Certification Inc.
Claude Stephens, Bernheim Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design

Jamie Statter, Vice President of Strategic Relationships for the USGBC said “ We were thrilled to partner with Bernheim to host the first regional Sustainable SITES workshop in the US. Considering Bernheim’s long history of leadership in sustainability – as a founder of USGBC Kentucky and the owner of the first LEED Platinum building in the region – they were an obvious choice. The sense of place and magic created by the Bernheim meeting space made for a truly memorable and impactful day. USGBC is excited by the interest in SITES in the region and looks forward to working with local leaders in coming weeks and months.” Workshop leaders from California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington DC spoke about SITES. Workshop participants came from Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and West Virginia.

This workshop is another great example of Bernheim’s world-class leadership in sustainable and regenerative design. Convening design professionals at Bernheim to push forward on new horizons in thought leadership that benefits the entire region is yet another great example of the value of Bernheim. During the gathering, Dr. Mark Wourms, Bernheim’s executive director, announced Bernheim’s intentions to pursue SITES certification in upcoming landscape designs.

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