Hope all of you are doing well and enjoyed the fall. It has been an exciting time at ASLA, both at the regional and national level. The MDASLA 50th Anniversary and Awards Gala was the highlight of my fall along with the opportunity to see most of you at the event, and then the ASLA Conference in San Francisco was very inspiring, fun and educational. I hope some of you were able to attend the conference. MDASLA President Joe Ignatius, ASLA has been great about sharing events and news at the Chapter level and therefore, my report will focus on highlights of National ASLA.
On September 22-23, ASLA hosted DREAM BIG with Design, A Showcase of Landscape Architecture and PreK-12 Design Learning for young students and educator communities. This year, 705 students were enrolled by their teachers, which is an increase from 638 last year. And $32,000 was raised this year, which is almost double the amount (19,000) raised last year.
The Take podcast, produced by Al Jazeera, interviewed 2022 Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal recipient Kofi Boone, FASLA, in their episode, “How are Black American farmers reclaiming their land?”
ASLA joined with the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Coalition in sending a letter to the Biden-Harris Administration urging them to include an additional $450 million in discretionary LWCF funding in the Fiscal Year 2024 President's Budget Request. This funding will help support greater conservation and recreation needs of our lands and waters in the face of accelerating nature loss and continued disparities which cannot be funded by the $900 million that is guaranteed by the Great American Outdoors Act.
In November, myself, President Joe Ignatius and Lauren Hill, Executive Director, attended the Board of Trustees (BOT) and Chapter Presidents Council (CPC) Annual meeting at the conference. It was a great two days of inspiring conversations, policymaking, and a joint meeting of BOT and CPC, which provided a wonderful opportunity to think and brainstorm together. The conference was well attended and provided great opportunities with a variety of educational sessions and field sessions. At the President’s dinner, ASLA celebrated the installation of new national officers and our new president Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA.
The ASLA Fund launched a campaign to raise funds to send students to the conference! This was a highly successful campaign, as over 900 students attended the conference thanks to the generous support of many members. Cheers to you if you contributed!
The highlight of the conference was the release of ASLA’s Climate Action Plan. In support of the plan, the conference featured Climate Action Plan-focused track of activities hosted by the ASLA Climate Action Committee, Climate Action Plan Task Force and Advisory Group. Members shared more detail about the vision for 2040 and how ASLA members can navigate the Climate Action Field Guide and access in-depth toolkits of strategies and techniques under the core topics of practice, equity, and advocacy. We urge you to visit the ASLA website for more information. CLICK CLIMATE ACTION
Lastly, I know that we are all always looking for CEU’s to keep our knowledge up to date and to maintain our licensure. A reminder that ASLA offers the Free PDH of the Month for all members! Please keep checking your email and visit FreePDH every month to earn your credit- a wonderful benefit of being ASLA members, and a great reason to encourage other non-member colleagues to join!
Thank you all for the continued membership and your support to your chapter. We cannot do this without you! An important note and reminder that you can now sign up for auto renewal of your membership and avoid membership lapse. As always, my plug for volunteering - If you want to contribute to the profession, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. We always need volunteers and welcome everyone to join our team and contribute in your own unique ways.
Last but not the least, I am very grateful for my second term as Trustee of MDASLA. I really enjoy and appreciate being your representative at the Board of Trustees – so thank you for your support! Happy Holidays and stay safe. I look forward to reporting back to you all in 2023!
Om Khurjekar, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C