Prior to kicking off the 2023 Conference on Landscape Architecture, the Board of Trustees from across the country met in Minneapolis for our annual fall meeting. We began our session by assisting with drafting original federal legislation. ASLA’s advocacy achievements in transportation, national and community parks funding, water and stormwater management, and climate mitigation and adaptation, have come by way of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and the Great American Outdoors Act. ASLA begins a new chapter in advocacy through two new legislation proposals, one that addresses the biodiversity crisis, and the other, preserving our country's small communities.
The Biodiversity Design Bill will attempt to establish a competitive grant program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would allow grantees to fund nature-based design and construction solutions that protect biodiversity. The Small Community Improvement Act will likewise establish a competitive grant program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist small communities in developing long-term innovative visions that address community livability and growth. To find a full list of ASLA’s public policies and position statements, navigate here.
The ASLA Fund, which provides monetary contributions to the following programs, National Professional and Student Awards, Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program, Climate Action Plan, Career Discovery, Dream Big, and Fellows Scholarships, continues to successfully support the work of landscape architects no matter who you are or where you’re at within your career. The Board received an update for FY 2023 that the Fund has completed 8 grant submissions, 14 grant submissions are in process, and 27 letters of intent have been written. The MacArthur Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund, NFWF, and the Doris Duke Foundation, among many others, have agreed to meetings with ASLA and are prospective future donors. To learn more about the ASLA Fund, and how to make a personal donation, navigate here.
Licensure always makes an appearance during the Board of Trustees meetings, and this year was no different. Licensure defense is consistently voted the top benefit of membership, second only to education (professional practice credit hours (PDH)). The members of the State Government Affairs Committee are among the hardest workers you’ll ever meet. They keep their ears to the ground around the clock to preempt deregulation bills and ensure Chapters have the resources they need to oppose deregulation attempts by State Boards, Legislatures and Anti-Licensure Groups. Thanks to our own Advocacy Committee, chaired by Billy Almond, and the State Government Affairs Committee, Virginia was among a half-dozen states to successfully fend off deregulation this year.