Naval Cemetery Landscape, a Sacred Place, earns new ASLA accolade

Part of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Naval Cemetery Landscape is a unique Sacred Place — even by Sacred Place standards. It’s the only one that thousands of visitors have been welcomed into, while never, actually having set foot on the ground. It’s this uniqueness, in part, that’s earned it a prestigious “Honor Award” from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

The announcement appears in the latest issue of ASLA’s magazine, which features the site and recognizes the designers, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

Journal entry left at the Naval Cemetery Landscape Sacred Place.

“We are thrilled to see this Sacred Place gaining this level of recognition from ASLA,” said Nature Sacred CEO Alden Stoner. “Our hope is that it will help grow awareness of the importance of these spaces, ultimately sparking others to create Sacred Places in their own communities.”

Naval Cemetery Landscape is built on the site of a former cemetery that was established more than a century ago; the space’s design is characterized by a combination of wildflowers and a winding suspended wooden walkway that seems to hover over the hallowed ground. The community wanted to create a design that honored the site’s history while at the same time responding to the needs of a new generation of urban dwellers.

Since opening in 2016, it has served as a needed nature respite in a densely populated environment and a nexus point for the surrounding community. Amid native grasses and pollinator plants like bee balm and mountain mint, people gather to practice yoga; schoolchildren get a close-up look at the natural environment they are studying and participate in a beekeeping program; a diverse community comes together to pause or pace peacefully, in nature.

The site is one of a handful nationally that in 2013 was awarded a National Nature Sacred Award grant to create a Sacred Place that would also serve as a study site to help grow society’s understanding of the ways nature can help build community cohesion. The study portion of the project is still underway.

Visit Naval Cemetery Landscape via our short film, Green Space for You