Featured Presenter: Betsy Damon

Betsy DamonBetsy Damon is an internationally known, award winning artist/ecologist who has spent the past thirty years pioneering a collaborative form of ecological art resulting in large-scale functional works that inspire, motivate, and educate. Since 1985 the focus and passion of her work has been water.

“Water is the foundation of life, the connective might of the universe. Therefore sustaining the water systems must be the foundation of planning and development.” – Betsy Damon

Betsy Damon founded Keepers of the Waters in 1991 with the support of the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Since then, she has been active in projects across the globe, including multiple sites in China and the U.S.

In 1995, she conceptualized the Living Water Garden in Chengdu, Sichuan, China while directing Chengdu’s first environmental public event. From 1996–1998 she directed a Chinese and US team in designing the six acre bio-remediation park, which is now a worldwide model for urban ecological solutions. She continues to work on large-scale innovative projects in China and the US, such as an award winning plan for Beijing Olympic Park. From 2002–2005, she directed projects for the Beijing planning bureau, three of which won awards. Damon has inspired such community efforts as Portland Urban Water Works, The Edwards Aquifer National Park in San Antonio, Texas—the first and only aquifer park in the US—and CURA, Chengdu Urban Rivers Association, which developed a model village project in Ping Yi county, Sichuan to clean upstream watersheds. Among her current commissions is the Trinity Lakes project in Dallas, Texas, which is a plan to create a 23-mile long, ecologically sound corridor on the Trinity River.

Damon is the recipient of numerous grants, among them the Bush Individual Artist Grant, and was most recently nominated for the Swedish Water Prize. Betsy believes that since water is the foundation of living systems, it must be the foundation of sustainable design and planning. For an upcoming book, she is researching the 1,000 year old culture that has sustained rural water sources in Tibet as a basis for watershed planning and economic development.

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