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Shelburne Farms, National Historic Landmark

Sustainability & Stewardship

Shelburne Farms, National Historic Landmark
Shelburne, Vermont

At Shelburne Farms, a 1,400 acre historic ornamental farm serving a mission of place-based environmental education and stewardship, Heritage Landscapes has consulted on varied planning and implementation projects for six years. Along with the National Historic Landmark status and its mission, there are four principles that Heritage Landscapes has developed with Shelburne Farms as a foundation for testing approaches and aligning interventions within the Shelburne Farms landscape. Potential undertakings are weighed and selected with these statements of values in mind:

  • Target lowest level of intervention, to repair rather than replace, rehabilitate rather than reconstruct using conservation and preservation ideals and approaches;
  • Approach all efforts with historical appropriateness in mind, meet preservation standards while suiting contemporary and future needs;
  • Consider sustainability aspects of the project holistically to include resource conservation, historic preservation, ecology and green technology applications;
  • Focus work for best economic return, match lower cost approaches to attaining project goals.

Heritage Landscapes planning and implementation project work at Shelburne Farms addresses sustainability. In particular for the Breeding Barn Getty Grant, Heritage Landscapes researched and studied documentary materials addressing the origins and evolution of the Breeding Barn Complex. The vision for the future of the Breeding Barn Complex is to create an ecologically designed campus for residential learning by preserving, rehabilitating, and adaptively reusing its historic buildings and landscape and carefully adding structures and landscape features to support new uses and engaging programs addressing sustainability and environmental education. The project seeks to blend sustainable architecture and landscape with the historic resources.  The recommended treatments for the Shelburne Farms Breeding Barn Complex address sound stewardship of historic features while contemporary uses are accommodated.

The Shelburne Farms Landscape Stewardship Plan, 2005 explored the property from multiple perspectives, adding conservation interest in surrounding lands as a context for the property. The recently completed Shelburne House & Garden Landscape Stewardship Plan, 2006 addresses the lakeshore frontage, historic gardens and Inn visitor needs and aesthetics in concert with sound practices in conservation, preservation and sustainability. Planting of disease resistant elms began in 2004 and expanded in 2006. Implementation of shoreline stabilization, Elm Swamp tree management and replanting of historic Southern Acres allées are underway.


Shelburne Farms

Breeding Barn Complex, Campus Conservation Plan, 2004; Shelburne Farms Landscape Stewardship Plan, 2004; Entry Road and Dairy Barn Plantings; 2004; Coach Barn Parking Reorganization, 2002; Visitor Center Landscape Improvements, 2002; Scenic Plantings. 2001; National Landmark Nomination contributions, 2001; Lakeshore Drive Restoration, 2001; IMLS Conservation Assessment, 2000

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners with SAS Architects for Breeding Barn Complex Conservation Plan, and with Martin Tierney, Architects and Conservator for IMLS Conservation Assessment

Award-Winning Project