Darwina L. Neal considers her almost 40-year involvement with the restoration and rehabilitation of Meridian Hill Park to be her favorite project.
WASHINGTON, DC, May 22, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Darwina L. Neal with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Darwina L. Neal celebrates many years' experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Growing up on a farm, Darwina planted flowers in the gardens and planting beds and transplanted wildflowers from the woods to beds around the house. She also sold roses from Jackson & Perkins Rose Co. to get free ones to plant in the flower beds. After she started taking Horticulture Magazine, she became interested in both horticulture and landscape architecture, but majored in horticulture when she started at Pennsylvania State University (PSU). However, the landscape architecture department was in the same building as horticulture, so she got to know those students. When her advisor saw her interest, he suggested she talk with that department head to learn more about the field, after which she switched to landscape architecture and earned a Bachelor of Science in that in 1965. Ms. Neal went on to enjoy a successful tenure with the National Park Service, for the entirety of her illustrious career, starting as a landscape architect with the National Capital Region in 1965, working on the Beautification Task Force, through which she met First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson, moving on to be Chief of Design Services, and ending as Chief of Cultural Resource Preservation Services in the same region, until her retirement in 2009.
In a career suffused with highlights, Ms. Neal considers her almost 40-year involvement with the restoration and rehabilitation of Meridian Hill Park, a National Historic Landmark, which was originally built in the 1930s, to be her favorite project. She was also instrumental in initial work to restore a portion of Dumbarton Oaks Park, which is known for its historic landscape design, but coordinating the design, construction and post-construction improvements of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove, the first Presidential Memorial that was a landscape, was one of her most significant projects. However, she also served as a consultant for landscape plantings at the White House and Camp David, and designed and managed construction of the award-winning U.S. exhibit at the 1980 Les Floralies Internationales de Montreal.
After serving in various positions in the local Potomac Chapter, Ms. Neal's earliest national involvement in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), her professional organization, was as a staunch advocate for increasing the numbers and involvement of women in the profession, as she advanced in it, eventually becoming the first woman elected as its President. She was elected as ASLA Fellow, received the ASLA President's Medal, and the Potomac Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award. She was the first ASLA Ex-Officio Representative on the Board of the U.S. Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), was elected to that Board and various offices, was made a Fellow and became a member of the ICOMOS/IFLA Cultural Landscape Committee, serving as a reviewer/evaluator of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for ICOMOS and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Ms. Neal was ASLA Delegate to the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA), was elected to its various offices and committees and was made an Honorary Member.
A previous columnist for Land, an ASLA monthly newsletter, Ms. Neal has contributed numerous articles to professional journals, co-authored sections of professional bulletins and magazines and authored book introductions. She has judged local, national and international planning, landscape architecture, and historic preservation awards programs, advised government agencies and citizen groups; has participated in numerous local, national, and international conferences and seminars; and has traveled extensively throughout North America, as well as visiting various European, Asian, Central and South American, and Pacific Rim countries for professional meetings and tours.
In recognition of her noteworthy professional endeavors, Ms. Neal has received several additional honors and awards. A life member of the Penn State Alumni Association, she had the distinct privilege of becoming the first woman to earn the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Society Award in 1981, served on the Penn State Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Advisory and was made a PSU Alumni Fellow in 2017.
Ms. Neal has also maintained her affiliation with additional organizations in her areas of expertise, such as the National Association for Olmsted Parks, The Garden Conservancy, Alliance for Historic Preservation, Preservation Action, the Historical Society of Washington, and Committee of 100 for the Federal City of Washington, DC, serves on the DC Preservation League (DCPL) Project Review Committee and is President of the National Preservation Institute. She also volunteers her time to edit various IFLA and other professional publications and documents, author articles in professional journals, lecture at universities and serves as an advocate for the preservation of significant DC historic parks and landscapes.
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