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ASLA Yearbook: Chapter Reports East

Arkansas ASLA Chapter  |   Connecticut ASLA Chapter  |   Illinois ASLA Chapter  |  New Hampshire ASLA Chapter

Arkansas ASLA Chapter

Arkansas ASLA Chapter Members and Youth Strategies students worked side by side to develop a design for a one-third-acre garden space, Manna Gardens was a learning lab for students from concept to completion. Two half-day charrettes with the students led to a conceptual design that fit the site and project goals.

In the spring, the Arkansas chapter kicked off a productive 2013 with a golf tournament at Rebsamen Golf Course in Little Rock. The tournament raised money during national landscape architecture month for the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture's Neil Hamill Park scholarship, which is awarded each year to a landscape architecture student. Neil Hamill Park was one of the first landscape architects to practice in Arkansas and helped introduce the profession of landscape architecture to the state. The tournament finished with a barbeque lunch, which Neil Hamill Park's daughters attended, and celebration cupcakes in honor of chapter member Bob Callans' birthday.

Arkansas ASLA chapter members and Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks staff worked together on a green wall design for the botanical garden in Fayetteville, Ark. The meeting led to two designs for the space, which will be installed by garden staff.

Arkansas ASLA Executive Committee members participated in ASLA's Advocacy Day in April in Washington, D.C., and several Arkansas ASLA members attended the ASLA annual meeting in Boston in November. Other 2013 events included public service projects. ASLA designated 2013 as a Year of Public Service for all chapters in the nation. The Arkansas chapter worked on two projects; the first was a green wall design for the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Ark. A one-day charrette produced two designs for the garden, one that can be built quickly and easily by garden staff, and another, more complex design to be completed in the future.

(Left to right) Arkansas chapter members Dave Roberts and Melissa Evans with national ASLA President Tom Tavella, FASLA.

The second project was Manna Gardens in Springdale, Ark. Since spring 2013, several design professionals in the Arkansas chapter have been working with a non-profit group called Youth Strategies. The project initially began with a request for assistance from Youth Strategies to develop a design for a one-third-acre garden space located at The Jones Center for Families in Springdale. Youth Strategies students worked with ASLA volunteers during the design phase and learned the basics of site inventory, topographic measurements and assisted with soil sampling from the Manna Gardens site. Manna Gardens was a natural fit for the Arkansas ASLA Executive Committee to facilitate a project that benefits local youth and the community.

(Left to right) ASLA National President Tom Tavella, FASLA; Tanner Weeks, ASLA; Martin Smith, ASLA; and Arkansas ASLA President Jordan Parker at the chapter's awards banquet. Weeks and Smith's firm, Ecological Design Group, Inc., earned several awards from the chapter.

Over the following months, several Youth Strategies high school students and a team of design professionals brought the general concepts together into a cohesive, artistic, functional design that fit the site and the program goals. The garden will be a learning lab for the students from the initial vision and project design through the construction phase. The project includes business plan development and day-to-day oversight of operations. The garden is intended as an anchor to the east entry into downtown Springdale, and will be a key part of the trails and revitalization efforts for the city of Springdale. Youth Strategies is now working to complete construction drawings for Manna Gardens before construction begins.

The Arkansas ASLA chapter presented the Manna Gardens project at an awards banquet in September, along with award-winning work submitted by other members. Tom Tavella, FASLA, National ASLA President, attended and spoke. The evening highlighted how the Arkansas chapter of ASLA is active in the community and continues to promote the stewardship values inherent in landscape architecture.

Connecticut ASLA Chapter

The Connecticut Audubon hosted an enormously successful CTASLA continuing education program in September, "Diving Into Swimming Pools," that featured five speakers and a dozen exhibitors. More than 100 people attended the full-day event, earning 6.25 PDH/HSW credits.

The Connecticut chapter of ASLA began 2013 with the chapter's annual Professional Awards, announcing 16 outstanding projects as award-winners, which can be viewed at CTASLA also provided nearly 28 hours of continuing education programs this year for members and associates in peer professions. Content included workshops on sustainable hardscapes, stormwater management, "right tree right place" and other plant specifications, trends in play design, Complete Streets, and swimming pool safety and design.

Phil Barlow of TO Design presented William DeMaio (right), Director of the New Britain, Conn., Parks and Recreation Department, with the 2013 CTASLA "Connecticut Olmsted Award," in recognition of his outstanding commitment to stewardship of the land.

The landscape architecture month gala in April was a tribute to Frederick Law Olmsted and featured author Justin Martin and filmmaker Lawrence Hott. This event also featured the chapter's annual Olmsted Award, given this year to William DeMaio, Parks and Recreation director in New Britain, Conn. Olmsted, a Connecticut native, was also the inspiration for a new CTASLA website,, which will launch in the fall and highlight the man's significant landscape legacy across the state. CTASLA's advocacy and outreach efforts this year led to landscape architects being included in the state's new general permit for the stormwater discharges, a great victory for local practitioners.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Honorary ASLA (center), posed with Justin Martin, author of Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, and filmmaker Lawrence Hott, whose company is producing a documentary on Olmsted, at the Chapter's "FLO: Connecticut Yankee" gala in April.

To continue to educate the public and state legislators about the importance of landscape architect licensure, the Legislative Office Building in Hartford played host to a display of landscape architectural works by members of CTASLA for two weeks in April. The exhibit, on more than 100 feet of wall space, featured winners of chapter Professional Awards and poster boards showcasing the contributions of landscape architects to the built environment.

In June, the chapter awarded $5,000 in scholarships to two worthy students from the University of Connecticut and Virginia Tech.

Tom Tavella in a relaxing moment this summer in between his many ASLA presidential duties.

The CTASLA Executive Committee is assisting the University of Connecticut, which houses the state's only accredited college-level landscape architecture program, through the creation of a new UConn Ambassador Committee, which acts as a liaison between practicing professionals and the university. In past years, mentorship projects -- with teams of landscape architecture students working closely with mentor professionals -- have led to improvements to public spaces in the cities of Bridgeport and Stamford, as well as valuable "real world" experience for burgeoning designers.

The chapter also nominated Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch -- a passionate advocate of landscape architecture, vibrant urban spaces, and Olmsted (his city houses two Olmsted parks) -- as an honorary ASLA member this year, an honor bestowed upon him at the annual meeting in Boston in November. Finally, the chapter is particularly proud of Connecticut's own Tom Tavella, who served as president of the national ASLA in 2013. Thank you, Tom, for a phenomenal year of leadership!

Illinois ASLA Chapter

University students from the Illinois chapter traveled to Washington, D.C., for the National ASLA Advocacy Day in March. (left to right) Chapter President-Elect Chris Lannert; U of I students Claire Sanders and Renee TeVogt; chapter members Jennifer Graham and Bill Quinlan.

Engagement and partnership were strong themes for the Illinois chapter during an active 2013, which included the production of 21 events, five printed publications (along with a monthly Dispatch and Weekly Newsletter), new networking opportunities with allied organizations, integration of students into the national and local Advocacy process, and the creation of online videos to increase outreach for the chapter's education series. These initiatives were well supported by chapter members, non-members and sponsors.

LandUp, a premier chapter event for business development and marketing for landscape architects, was held in September, and attracted more than 125 attendees from eight different states.

In support of ongoing advocacy efforts, two university students traveled to the National ASLA Advocacy Day in March to meet with legislators and tour Washington, D.C., with ILASLA professionals. In addition, seven partnerships were forged with allied associations, gaining exposure to other audiences while providing discounts for members. ILASLA partnered with the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo 2012, Cities Alive, The Architects Newspaper, ILCA Hardscape Illinois Conference, ILCA Summer Field Day, and ALA Architecture Conference and Product Show.

At Celebration, the Illinois Chapter's annual professional awards recognition event, the chapter recognized 16 outstanding projects and one public service award. ILASLA President Chris Gent spoke to attendees during the conference.

Education was a major emphasis of many chapter events this year. LARE preparation sessions were held in the spring and fall, and gave attendees an opportunity to become familiar with the new format of the exam. As a part of the Bartlett Seminars, four professional enrichment seminars were held throughout the Chicago area, and ranged in topic from urban orchards, to public participation, to construction administration.

In addition to the aforementioned education events, ILASLA held five networking events, and planned another five events in partnership with allied organizations. The summer mixer was held in conjunction with the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association's (ILCA) Summer Field Days at Ball Horticulture, and brought together more than 100 members and guests for a day of networking, a panel discussion, great music, and garden tours. The newly formed Emerging Professionals Committee had multiple events across Chicago, bringing together students, recent graduates, and the young at heart. The final networking event of the year, the holiday spritzer, was over capacity with attendees and holiday fun. ILASLA continues to serve as a resource and advocate for its members through advocacy efforts, events and publications. The chapter has fantastic volunteers and sponsors that make it all happen, and 2013 wouldn't have been the same without them.

New Hampshire ASLA Chapter

New Hampshire ASLA officials attended the ASLA Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., in April. Left to right: Susanne Smith Meyer, chapter president; N.H. Senator Kelly Ayotte; chapter trustee Anne Cruess.

The executive committee focused on many new initiatives benefiting GSLA members, including a monthly electronic newsletter, quarterly submissions to the AIA NH Forum newsletter and regular educational and networking events. In March, members braved 12-plus inches of snow and gathered in Concord for a "Sustainable Design Practices" conference. Speakers included James Houle, from the UNH Stormwater Center; Deborah Lighthall-Howe, a certified arborist and landscape architect with Wolf- Lighthall; Tom Smarr, a horticultural professional and Toby Wolf, PLA also with Wolf- Lighthall.

NHASLA members attended a joint meeting with members of the New Hampshire Landscape Association at Service Credit Union in Portsmouth, N.H.

In an effort to reach out to and establish new relationships with the Planning Community in New Hampshire, the Granite State Landscape Architects held a session at this year's Office of Energy & Planning (OEP) annual spring planning and zoning conference. More than 300 municipal officials attended the conference and participated in 21 different sessions. The focus of GSLA's session was "Integrating Landscape Design into Development Projects," and was moderated by GSLA President Susanne Smith Meyer. GSLA Secretary Jennifer DiNovo was a panelist along with a planner, engineer and planning board member. The panel discussed the benefits of including requirements in municipal planning regulations that landscape plans for major commercial and residential development projects be prepared by licensed landscape architects.

NHASLA members braved more than a foot of snow in March to attend the Sustainable Design Practices conference in Concord, N.H. Topics included stormwater management, horticulture and green design concepts.

In April, GSLA celebrated landscape architecture month with a dinner reception in Portsmouth, N.H. Lisa Cowen, an ASLA Sustainable Design and Development PPN Officer from Maine, gave a presentation on Sustainable Sites Initiative rating system (SITES), high performance landscapes and the potential for SITES to transform land design, construction and maintenance practices.

GSLA members also participated in two community-based projects, one in Concord and a two-day charrette in North Hampton, N.H., as part of the ASLA year of public service. The GSLA is collaborating with other professional organizations like the New Hampshire Landscape Association, Plan NH and New Hampshire AIA to organize educational and networking opportunities throughout the state.

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