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ASLA Yearbook: Chapter Reports Central

Colorado ASLA Chapter  |   Iowa ASLA Chapter  |   Minnesota ASLA Chapter  |  Mississippi/Alabama ASLA Chapter

Colorado ASLA Chapter
Report by Jesse Young, ASLA

A dilapidated courtyard on the west side of Beacon Place, a homeless facility in Denver, was transformed by chapter members and other volunteers over two weeks in June from a dusty eyesore to an aesthetic, park-like space as part of the ASLA's Year of Public Service initiative.

2013 has been a fabulous year for ASLA Colorado, and the chapter is looking forward to hosting the 2014 ASLA convention in Denver next year. The chapter kicked off the year with a spring social event, hosted by Civatas in downtown Denver, that drew a large crowd and gave members a fabulous evening of catching up and networking. Most recently, the second annual End of Summer social was hosted at the Denver Botanic Gardens, which drew nearly 100 members despite looming thunderstorms and the disastrous September flooding events along the Front Range.

Researchers Michael Weir, Associate ASLA (left) and David Sprunt, ASLA (right) are leading a chapter case study that will provide examples of landscape architecture benefits to the public welfare in Colorado. The results will appear in future advocacy efforts, as Colorado's Landscape Architecture Practice Act comes up for sunset review in 2016.

ASLA Colorado is conducting a research project to develop ways to evaluate the public welfare benefits of landscape architecture projects. David Sprunt, ASLA, and Michael Weir, Associate ASLA, are building upon a 2010 study done by the Council of Landscape Architecture Review Boards that developed a working definition of public welfare in the context of landscape architecture, identifying impact areas that include enhancing environmental sustainability, contributing to economic sustainability, promoting health and well-being, building community, stewardship and encouraging landscape awareness. In addition to the evaluation tool and case studies, the research team is developing a proposal for an online database that could collect stories of how landscape architecture benefits public welfare, and deliver that information in ways that clearly communicate the benefits of the profession. The researchers plan to present the proposal at the ASLA national convention in Denver in 2014.

ASLA members (left to right) Kelley Moore, Vivian Kovacs, and Kim Naughtin enjoyed the ASLA spring social at Civitas in May.

Public Service
In early 2013, ASLA Colorado members teamed up with AIA and AEC Cares to complete a volunteer design/build project in Denver at Beacon Place, a large facility run by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless that provides invaluable re-habilitation services for those in need. The project was integral to the "Year of Public Service" that ASLA has encouraged for all state chapters.

A design team of dedicated volunteers was assembled early in the year, as the project was scheduled for completion in June. The project culminated in a final, one day "blitz build" with more than 100 volunteers.

As a highly used social space, the final amenities included multiple paver patios, extensive plantings, new furnishings, and an elegant gazebo.

Iowa ASLA Chapter

Fall chapter conference attendees enjoyed a tour of the Iowa State Campus, stopping for a photo in front of the Campanile.

In 2013, the Iowa chapter planned events to engage member participation and involvement. In April, in conjunction with national landscape architecture month, the Iowa chapter partnered with AIA Iowa, Iowa APA, and Main Street Iowa in organizing a spring conference, "Re-Place". This was the second year that the chapter collaborated with affiliated professionals for such an event, and the conference provides valuable networking opportunities for our membership.

During the entire month of April, custom street banners designed by the chapter are prominently displayed on Locust Street in Des Moines' revitalized East Village - a promenade to the gold dome of Iowa's State Capital building. On April 20th, the chapter also participated in the city of Des Moines' Mayor's Annual Ride for Trails, a 25-mile bike ride that promotes trail development and healthy communities. Members of the Iowa chapter both participated in the ride and volunteered at the rest stop. The chapter also placed catchy Burma Shave-style signage along the trail to promote the role of landscape architects in designing parks and trails.

The Iowa chapter's year kicked off with a winter social, where both professionals and students from Iowa State University met at a local pub for a pool tournament and cold beverages. Iowa ASLA member-at-large Eric Iverson (left) presented the 2013 Pool Tournament Trophy to Jackie Kolpek.

The chapter hosted an annual golf outing in mid-June, and recently hosted the Fall Conference and ASLA/SSLA Tailgate in Ames, Iowa. The theme of the conference was "H2O No! Designing for Extremes in Rainfall Patterns," and included a tour of the ISU campus. The conference was followed by the tailgate, where approximately 50 students and professionals gathered under the cardinal and gold tents.

Mayor's ride volunteers: Jessica Fernandez, Eric Iverson, Sophie Feng, Marco Alvarez, Jim Host.

Most importantly, the Iowa chapter would be remiss to not mention the passing of Jon F. Crose, FASLA, in July. Jon was an influential leader of the profession and truly an icon of landscape architecture in Iowa. After graduating from Iowa State College in 1956, Jon launched his own firm, Jon Crose and Associates, out of his home in 1965. The business continued to grow and eventually became part of RDG Planning & Design. Jon mentored generations of landscape architects throughout the years, many of them later opening their own firms. Jon also served on the Landscape Architecture Registration Board, served every officer position within the Iowa chapter ASLA, and chaired the committee to establish Iowa's landscape architecture licensure law. Jon was the recipient of the first ever Iowa ASLA President's Medal recognizing his significant service to the profession. In 2006, Jon was inducted into the American Society of Landscape Architect's Council of Fellows.

Minnesota ASLA Chapter

ASLA-MN members joined with the Minnesota chapter of Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) and Fair School for Park(ing) Day festivities on September 20, 2013.

2013 Awards The Minnesota ASLA chapter held its 43rd annual awards celebration and Education Day May 3rd at the Marsh Community Center in Minnetonka, Minn. The event theme was "Healthy by Design - Bringing Life to Communities and Communities to Life." Education sessions were presented throughout the day, followed by an awards presentation and dinner.

Nine professional awards were presented, including the Award of Excellence for "Everywhere Nowhere: Paradigm Change for the Lower Duwamish River" by Studio 8201: University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture. Awards in the categories of analysis and planning, general design, communications, unbuilt work and research were also presented.

The Minnesota ASLA chapter inducted two individuals into the 2013 Class of Fellows: Craig A. Churchward, FASLA (Leadership/Management Category) (left), and L. Peter MacDonagh, FASLA (Knowledge Category) (right).

Additional award winners included Kent Worley, ASLA, who was presented with the Theodore Wirth Award for Excellence in Parks. This award recognizes an individual or group that has been instrumental in the planning, design, development, administration or preservation of historic sites, landmarks or cultural landscapes. The Ackerberg Group earned a Community Design Excellence Award, which is given to an individual or group that has recognized the role urban design and environmental excellence plays in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Minnesota's towns and cities. The H.W.S. Cleveland Award, presented to Colleen O'Dell, Associate ASLA, is given annually to an individual trained in landscape architecture who is not yet licensed. Recipients have shown through their work and service to ASLA-MN that they have the potential to be a leader in the profession.

Richard Murphy, ASLA, was presented with the Lob Pine Award, the highest honor given by the Minnesota Chapter of the ASLA. Recipients have demonstrated exemplary leadership and mentorship for the landscape architecture community over an extended period of time.

Student Awards
Honor Awards: Han Zhang and Elizabeth Hixson
Merit Awards: Matthew Traucht and Christine Dorius
Women In Landscape Architecture-MN Student Leadership Award: Allyson Czechowicz
For complete awards results, visit

ASLA-MN members and guests participated in numerous activities throughout this past year including Park(ing) Day, Advocacy Day, Student Mentor Program, annual golf outing, Bowling Bash, SOLO Practitioners meetings, WILA events, student chapter fundraising, portfolio review, and monthly happy hours for networking.

Mississippi/Alabama ASLA Chapter

The Alabama ASLA chapter presented Holcombe Norton Partners with an Honor Award in the Analysis and Planning category for the Ross Bridge master plan, a mixed-use development project designed around the 330-acre Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail course.

The Twin States Conference, held April 11th-13th in Orange Beach, Ala., was one of the best yet, with more than 90 landscape architects in attendance. As the culmination of Design Week Birmingham, the brand-new Alabama Center for Architecture presented the Fit Nation exhibit, on loan from the New York AIA.

The Twin States Conference, held April 11th-13th in Orange Beach, Ala., was one of the best yet, with more than 90 landscape architects in attendance.

Most of the 30 works included in the exhibit are works of landscape architecture, including Birmingham's Railroad Park, the only project from the area included in the original exhibit. Rhea Williams' tireless efforts were responsible for winning the grant to bring Fit Nation to Birmingham and securing corporate sponsors for the exhibit.

Attendees of the Twin States Conference enjoyed the "Low Country Boil" networking event at Shaggy's on the waterfront.

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