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BY ZACH MORTICE

Ten years ago, this landscape was mowed turf. Photo by Larry Weaner, Affiliate ASLA.

A long-running workshop on native landscapes will move online for the first time.

 

Foraging for wild ramps to sauté, collecting and sprinkling seeds over a fallow field, watching how annual nurse plants and slower-growing perennials advance and retreat as a native meadow matures. They’re all ideal landscape experiences for the COVID-19 era: remote, contemplative, and socially distant. They’re also squarely in the wheelhouse of Larry Weaner, Affiliate ASLA, and the organization he started 30 years ago, New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL). Weaner is a highly sought-after meadow designer, and NDAL is an education and ecological design nonprofit that emphasizes native landscapes and minimal maintenance practices. This spring and summer, NDAL will be bringing its long-running workshops online for the first time.

Weaner views designed landscapes and meadows as continually evolving layers of proliferation and withdrawal among native species, where maintenance can be kept to a minimum. These online seminars, which NDAL typically holds twice a year, are rough translations of the “very intensive native design workshops that go into all aspects of integrating ecological restoration into garden design,” Weaner says. But with the need for social distancing and the move online, Weaner elected to host shorter presentations for landscape professionals, and has programmed separate sessions for general audiences. (more…)

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United States Capitol dome under restoration. Photo Architect of the Capitol

United States Capitol dome under restoration. Photo Architect of the Capitol

A monthly bit of headline news from ASLA’s national office.

It’s April, which at ASLA headquarters in Washington means that Advocacy Day is nigh—Thursday, April 23. Every year around this time, hundreds of ASLA members come to town ahead of the midyear meetings of the Society’s Board of Trustees and Chapter Presidents Council to spend a day on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of their senators and representatives to make the case for national issues that are important to landscape architects.

This year, the focus of advocacy efforts is on three issues: the reauthorization and full funding of the Transportation Alternatives Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the authorization and funding (at $100 million) of the National Park Service Centennial Challenge. Advocacy Day is about showing strength in numbers. But the individual work of telling Congress what landscape architects do and why it matters never stops—especially because design in the public realm helps create new jobs, stimulate consumer spending, increase property values, and, in turn, generate billions in new federal, state, and local tax revenues. Even design professionals not planning to take part in Advocacy Day activities should stay aware of how these issues are moving, or not, in Washington, and keep in touch with the members and staff of their congressional delegations.

Each day, Roxanne Blackwell, Mark Cason, and Leighton Yates of ASLA’s government affairs staff work with legislators on issues of importance to the profession, and you should follow them on Twitter at @ASLA_Advocacy. But members of Congress really sit up and listen to the concerns of individual constituents and business owners. To help acquaint you with ways to communicate with Congress, the government affairs staff will hold a webinar tomorrow, April 9, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern. You can register to join the webinar here. Questions? ASLA’s government affairs staff is happy to help. Contact the director of federal government affairs, Roxanne Blackwell, at rblackwell@asla.org.

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