How do we prepare incoming students with very different areas of expertise for their year at Conway? Conway School students vary in background and educational and work experience. Before Conway, students might have worked in horticultural sales, community organizing, engineering, journalism, environmental education, the arts, or agriculture, among other fields. Others arrive with experience in landscape design and planning, seeking to explore new scales of design and learn more about ecology. To help acquaint students with terminology and the social, economic, and environmental perspectives of ecological design, we distribute a summer reading list. We review the list annually and update it with new titles of interest.

We’ve seen quite a bit of interest from folks about what’s on our list, as well as other books we might recommend even if they don’t make it onto our suggested reading list for students. We decided to present it as a blog series, with each post highlighting a category or commonality between the publications.

To start, here’s a list of some of the authors who have been guest speakers at Conway, either as part of our Ecological Design and Ecological Planning workshops, as teachers in the field, or at one of our events. We hope that you’ll find their works as inspiring and informative as we have!

Julian Agyeman

Tom Wessels

Anne Whiston Spirn

Charles Mann

David Orr

Nancy & John Todd

Claudia West

Eric Toensmeier


Stay tuned for more selections from our Summer Reading List, and follow our #booksofconway on social media for more recommendations and favorite picks from our library.