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Magic of Landscaping - May 2004
Dennis Higbie - Walt Disney World Horticulture Orlando, FL

Dennis began his career at the Walt Disney World Resort as a gardener, after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science at Rutgers University in 1980. Over the next 20 years he held positions of increasing responsibility and in January 2000, was named Director of Disney’s Horticulture and Pest Management. For the past five years, Dennis has directed a staff of over 675 horticulturists who nurture and maintain the award-winning landscapes of the 30,500-acre Walt Disney World Resort that includes four theme parks, 19 resort properties and over 70 miles of roadways.

Under Dennis’ leadership, this team of horticulturists, designers, gardeners, arborists, irrigation specialists and pest management technicians ensures that Disney’s horticultural traditions of beautiful gardens and themed landscapes continue to inspire guests who visit the Walt Disney World Resort year-after-year.

Topic: Factors and Considerations in Budgeting and Facilitating the Growing Asset of Walt Disney World’s Impressive Gardens and Landscape.

View or download Dennis' presentation - View or Download

Dr. Kathleen L. Wolf - University of Washington Seattle, WA

Kathleen is a Research Scientist at the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, and does research in environmental psychology. She has worked professionally as a landscape architect and as an environmental planner. Since receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Kathleen has worked to better understand the human dimensions of urban forestry and urban ecosystems. In addition, Kathleen is interested in the integration of scientific information in policy and planning. She is a member of the Washington State Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, the Environmental Design Research Association, and the Seattle Mayor’s Urban Sustainability Advisory Panel. Kathleen has taught and published on such subjects as Nature and Commerce, Urban Forestry in Business Districts, Roadside Landscape Perceptions, and Human Response to Urban Green Spaces.

Information about Dr. Wolf’s research can be found at:

Topic: Growing Better Communities! Research on Human Response and Nature.

View or download Kathleen's presentation- View or Download

Nancy Graham - N-K Ventures West Palm Beach, FL

Nancy is a nationally recognized leader in urban development and city building. Since 2002, Nancy is a partner in N-K Ventures, LLC responsible for the planning, design and entitlement process of the company’s urban infill redevelopment projects. From June 2003 to September 2004, Nancy also served as the Executive Director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. Prior to starting
N-K Ventures, Nancy was the President of the Palm Beach Division of Watermark Communities.

As the City of West Palm Beach’s first “strong” mayor from 1991 and 1999, Nancy gained national recognition for her visionary and dynamic leadership. Nancy was responsible for taking a fiscally impoverished city and transforming it to national prominence through innovative fiscal measures, careful attention to customer service and sponsorship of major new development projects, including CityPlace, a 2.3 million square foot urban mixed use project that has received wide acclaim since opening in the fall of 2000. Nancy was the co-recipient of ULI’s annual Award of Excellence in 2002 for CityPlace.

Topic: The Public Realm – Where it Meets the Private.

View or download Nancy's presentation - View or Download


Announcing the Character of a Place through Roadways and Entrance Statements

Join the Walt Disney World Horticulture Staff on a behind-the-scenes bus tour of the Walt Disney World Resort grounds. From theme parks to hotels, vacation clubs to outdoor retail areas, learn how Disney has used entrances and roadways to brand developments and announce the character of a place. Get an inside look at how landscaping has been used to create a sense of arrival, inviting guests into a development, and building a sense of excitement for what lies beyond the threshold.

Reinvestment Projects: Maximize the Impact of your Redevelopment Budget

View Epcot in a way you never have before on this stimulating walking tour.
Discover the process used for completing reinvestment projects at Walt Disney World, as your guides walk you through five recent projects in Epcot. Learn about the specific objectives, challenges and issues surrounding each project. Discuss how value was created, and how this value can be measured in objective analytical terms.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Tour

Take the time to smell the roses on this exclusive walking tour of the International Flower & Garden Festival. Your guides will take you on an around the world tour of horticulture and landscape design as you explore the gardens, exhibits and pavilions of the Festival. Ask questions about the use of specific plants, maintenance issues, design elements, or simply relax and enjoy a beautiful spring morning in the park.


8:00 - 8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 11:30 Tour (Select One)

  • Announcing the Character of a Place through Roadways and Entrance Statements
  • Reinvestment Projects: Maximize the Impact of your Redevelopment Budget
  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Tour

11:30 - 12:30 Lunch at the Odyssey

12:30 - 1:15
Keynote Speaker Dennis Higbie

1:15 - 1:45 Panel Discussion

1:45 - 2:30
Keynote Speaker Dr. Kathleen L. Wolf

2:30 - 3:00 Break

3:00 - 3:30 Panel Discussion

3:30 - 4:15
Keynote Speaker Nancy Graham

4:15 - 4:45 Panel Discussion

5:00 - 6:00 “On Top of the World” Cocktail Reception

6:00 - 9:00 Dinner on Your Own

9:00 VIP viewing of IllumiNations