HEIDI THOMAS, PLA, ASLA
Heidi Thomas is a Professional Landscape Architect with 20 years of experience as a lead designer and project manager. Her work is grounded in visioning and placemaking projects spanning a wide variety of sectors and site scales and all phases of project development - from planning and design through documentation and construction administration. In addition to partnering with architects and engineers as a landscape architectural consultant, Heidi has led multi-disciplinary teams of professionals as a prime consultant. Over the course of her career she has worked directly with municipalities, county and state governments, real estate developers, institutional clients, and non-profit organizations.
Heidi’s recent graduate studies in Cultural Sustainability focused on the co-creation of environment, culture, and community in urban agricultural contexts - a theme which continues to serve as the cornerstone of her engagement and design approach across the breadth of her professional work. She aspires to enhance the visibility of and increase access to the field of landscape architecture, particularly among women, minorities, and under-served communities. Her experiences as an adjunct instructor, a community advocate, and a neighborhood organizer for environmental projects in Baltimore have furthered this aim, while also helping to illuminate with others the correlation between social equity and access to nature.
CHERISSE OTIS, PLA, LEED AP, CBLP
SENIOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Cherisse Otis joined EnviroCollab in 2019, sharing her passion for ecological and community-driven design. She comes to the EC team with 13 years of experience engaging communities, generating concepts, and seeing through the construction of public parks, plazas, and streetscapes, institutional landscapes, and retail developments. She has honed skills and knowledge in native-centered planting design and stormwater/green infrastructure design and has a heart for urban vacant lot renewal and agriculture. Cherisse is honored to collaborate with EnviroCollab and the firm’s recent, current, and prospective partners.
Cherisse is a Professional Landscape Architect in the state of MD, LEED Accredited Professional, Certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional, and Baltimore City TreeKeeper & Weed Warrior. She is also an avid home, church, and community gardener, a wife, and mother to a tiny future master gardener, two fur babies, and many plants.
AMY SAMETSHAW, MLA
PLANNER + LANDSCAPE DESIGNER
Amy Sametshaw is a landscape designer with experience in community engagement and design, transportation design, public health policy and planning, and environmental assessments. She is certified in public interest design by the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network.
While earning her Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Maryland, she specialized in designing urban agricultural landscapes and GIS analysis for urban planning. Her interests in the planning and design of food systems has led to her return to the University of Maryland as an instructor in the Plant Sciences & Landscape Architecture Department.
Amy is excited about the opportunity to work with EnviroCollab on environmentally sustainable, community-driven design projects. She lives in Baltimore with her daughter, husband, and cat, and enjoys gardening, cooking, and hiking.
ZOE ROANE-HOPKINS, MAID, ASLA
Zoe Roane-Hopkins is a landscape designer with EnviroCollab who loves designing thoughtful interventions that leave the world a more colorful, compassionate, and resilient place. Native plants, ecological design thinking, and community placemaking are the mainstays of her work as a designer. Any opportunity to create positive change for people and our Earth is an opportunity Zoe's going to take. In addition to working with the EnviroCollab team, Zoe is also an associate placemaker & project designer with Graham Projects.
After graduating from Penn State's landscape architecture program, she attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, earning a Master of Arts in Industrial design. She loves merging design methods from landscape and industrial design together to find new creative solutions. In 2020 she was a winner of the Baltimore Design for Distancing competition, and in 2021 her rain water harvesting planter design, 'Gumbo Box' earned 3rd place in the New Orleans Water Collaborative Planter Box design competition. When Zoe's not working, she is probably playing the ukulele, petting her cat, or doing handstands in her living room.
AMANDA FORAN, PLA, ASLA
Amanda Foran is a licensed landscape architect, and has lived along the Atlantic seaboard and practiced in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of the US for 7+ years. Her previous experience includes residential and commercial projects, public park planning, adaptive reuse and ecological planning and design. She has also previously been an Instructor at Boston Architectural College, teaching and learning along with her students.
She is passionate about building projects with locally grounded partners, and bringing a playful and energetic spirit to design, especially through the use of local materials and regionally indigenous and adapted plants. Her work engages latent histories embedded in the landscape, and by bridging ecological and social connections between past and present, she believes we can create integrated, thriving human and ecological communities.
When not designing or teaching, Amanda can be found experimenting with natural inks, testing propagation techniques on her indoor jungle, and spending as much time as possible outdoors, hiking with her husband and two pups.
JULIE SHAPIRO, PLA
Julie Shapiro is a licensed landscape architect with a wide range of experience in public, civic, and institutional projects, including vision planning, park and campus design, walkable urbanism, and active transportation. Julie's previous work in pedestrian, bike, and complete streets design informs her dedication to creating equitable, human-centered public spaces for people of all ages and abilities. A lifelong naturalist and plants enthusiast, Julie brings experience in green stormwater infrastructure and urban forestry. In addition to landscape architecture, Julie has worked in organic agriculture, backcountry trail construction, and youth leadership. She loves artistic collaboration, working with her hands, and sharing in the joy of connection to land and place.
Outside of work, Julie can be found hiking, biking, visiting museums, getting excited about urban ecology, or attending one of Baltimore's many community festivals.
CANDACE CHANCE, FOUNDER + CEO, THE VPI FIRM
ENGAGEMENT + EQUITY PARTNER
Candace, in her role as Founder and CEO of The VPI Firm, is redefining what's possible in community development initiatives.
The firm pushes beyond building "buy-in" and the traditional "doing just enough" effort to get stakeholders to say yes to something. Instead, they support mission-aligned real estate developers, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders in the equitable transformation and healing of disinvested communities. The firm is working towards a world where previously distressed communities are thriving, regenerative ecosystems creating and supplying what they need to flourish.
They integrate the following principles, approaches, and frameworks:
1) Human-centered design to ensure that those who will be impacted are included in the design process.
2) Trauma-informed and healing-centered care to acknowledge systemic impacts and prevent retraumatization in communities.
3) Equity-centered framework to push the boundaries on community and stakeholder ownership, influence, and agency.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN INTERN, YOUTHWORKS
Mekhi Onque is a 16-year-old student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute who’s working with EnviroCollab over the summer of 2023 to explore a career path in engineering, architecture, and environmental sustainability. He has an unending interest for both natural and unnatural environments, as well as how these environments directly affect the mind, body, and spirit. He’s an artistic, creative soul who is constantly searching for alternative answers to any given problem.
He has a fascination with urban design, walkable cities, public transport, and communal spaces, though he also has a larger scale ambition for global environmental conservation. Mekhi is passionate about contributing to his community and making the city he calls home a better place to live, he’s been told all his life that he should “make it out of Baltimore,” but he asks why we should escape if we have the power to make Baltimore better.
When not studying, working, or doing chores, Mekhi often sketches while listening to music or plays Destiny 2.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER + MURALIST
An experienced designer for over ten years in the creative industry – from landscape architecture to graphic design – Saba leverages her strong visual communication skills and a lifelong commitment to the creative arts to effectively share ideas. With a human-centered approach, her focus lies in driving an idea from conceptualization to implementation through storytelling, installations, exhibits, digital graphics, and print collateral. Saba is skilled in design strategy, conceptualization, and visual storytelling, with expertise in digital renderings, illustration, and medium to large scale mural installation.
As a ‘Visual Storyteller,’ Saba gravitates toward media and subject matter that can be used as tools to heal, unit, inspire and bridge divides. For her, the most important works are those that, through collaboration and listening, generate dialogue, enhance a sense of community, and tell stories that need to be heard (and seen).
MEGAN OLIVER, AICP
URBAN PLANNER + GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Megan Oliver is an AICP-certified planner and urban designer rooted in Baltimore—her hometown and the city where she earned both a BFA in Environmental Design at Maryland Institute College of Art and her Master’s of City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University.
Megan is an urbanist and happiness enthusiast with an acute awareness of the influence environments have on driving choices, behaviors, and feelings. Recognizing the power of places to either nourish or discourage us, Megan focuses her work on improving well-being through urban design and planning. Over the past 12 years, she has utilized a holistic and person-centric approach to help more than one hundred communities share their stories, celebrate identity, shape public spaces, and craft visions of the future. Megan formed her own research-based design practice, Hello Happy Design, to apply the science of human experience and perception to environmental design strategies. Through storytelling, public art, placemaking, livability planning, and responsive spatial design, she fosters strong communities and cultivates happier spaces and places.
TEDDY KROLIK, MCP
COMMUNITY ORGANIZING + PLANNING CONSULTANT
Teddy Krolik is a Baltimore-based specialist in participatory design, stakeholder
engagement, and cross-sector partnership building. He was most recently the Chief of
Engagement at Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA), where he led efforts to integrate the perspectives of both internal and external stakeholders into the transportation planning process. Standout projects included prototyping rail wayfinding signage co-designed with older adults and people with disabilities, collecting and implementing suggestions for service changes from transit vehicle operators, and directing bi-lingual (Spanish and English) outreach efforts in support of an upcoming transition to zero emissions buses.
SHANEK KUMI, MA
Shanek Kumi is one of our team’s newest collaborators! She is a talented architectural designer who is also experienced in landscape architecture, graphic design, and interiors. We asked her to share with us what inspires her in design and in life:
“I am always researching and exploring across areas of design for inspiration (textile, fashion, industrial, graphic) as well as aspects of nature, human interactions, and art forms (cliche but just the truth). Due to observation, lived experience, and research I became interested in the design and development of low-income housing and use of sustainable materials globally. In general, I try to break down life to simple desires, and my ultimate contributions - playfulness, abundant health and inner peace, community (family & friends), culture, and most importantly faith. Art and design are my means at living out these purposes. I've had the pleasure of incorporating furry pets Gizeppi and Luna into my adult life - something seemingly trivial but, over the years has really helped to mold the ways in which I view us as animals, and our interconnectivity to our surroundings.”
ALICE STURM, PLA
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT + ECOLOGICAL RESEARCHER
Alice is a licensed landscape architect and ecological researcher - her publications have covered topics as varied as theory of climate-adaptive waterfront design and meadow maintenance planning for institutions, but these days her focus is on establishing evidence-based goals for the aesthetics of sustainable landscapes. When she's not working, you can find her encouraging her toddler to get as dirty as possible.
GRAHAM COREIL-ALLEN, MFA
PUBLIC ARTIST + PLACEMAKER, FOUNDER OF GRAHAM PROJECTS
Graham Coreil-Allen (he/him) is a Baltimore-based public artist making places more inclusive and livable through public art, placemaking, and civic engagement. Coreil-Allen collaborates with neighbors to interpret and activate public spaces through public art for pedestrian safety and play, interactive mapping, radical walking tours, and neighborhood advocacy. From artistic crosswalks and creative wayfinding to immersive sculptures and participatory light art, Coreil-Allen infuses public space with play and intrigue.
Coreil-Allen was born in Galveston, Texas, grew up in Tampa, Florida, studied at Tulane School of Architecture, completed his BA at New College of Florida and received his MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art.
Since founding Graham Projects in 2005, Coreil-Allen has created public projects and programs for numerous organizations, places, and events both nationally and abroad, including the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, The Deitch/Creative Time Art Parade, Eyebeam, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Washington Project for the Arts, Arlington Art Center, Artscape, Transmodern Festival, VisArts, Current Space, ICA Baltimore, and Light City.
JUSTIN WILSON, PLA, CPSI
PRESIDENT + DESIGN LEAD OF PLAYSPACE CREATIVE
Justin Wilson has over 10 years of design and project management experience in outdoor play environments. He is a passionate advocate for inclusive, multi-generational, and community-based play spaces that provide positive developmental benefits for all users. His ability to effectively engage communities and partner with other professionals allows him to create play spaces that users love and are invested in.