May 2020 Print

President's Message

A Ray of Sunshine During Dark Times

I am encouraged to see that, despite the tragedy of the global pandemic, there are positives emerging, especially as it relates to the environment. This National Geographic article highlights that with lock downs in place we’re seeing less pollution in the air.  The largest artic ozone hole is now closed, greenhouse gas emission have decreased by 8% and animals are investigating empty cities. All of this tells me that collectively we have the power to make big changes, even if in this case it took a pandemic and lock down to get there.

I’m reminded of Gina McCarthy’s general session at the 2019 Conference on Landscape Architecture (Excerpt below is from ASLA article in link above):

She exhorted the crowd of landscape architects to fight the good fight: “Do not sit on the couch. Stop being angry and anxious. Taking action is what being adult is all about. And we must demand action. We can’t turn our backs on our children and grandchildren.”

“Stop following the latest dramas in Washington, D.C. The Beltway isn’t the real world. Have you ever heard of an innovative idea that was initiated at the Federal level?”

She urged landscape architects to “speak up, challenge the status quo, and make your families proud. Design the future; show people what it looks like; tell the story.”

“We need landscape architects to design a world that is healthy, safe, and beautiful — and more just. Landscape architecture can kindle hope in all of us.”

I’ll leave you with a call to action. How we emerge from this pandemic is up to all of us. What changes do can you make personally and professionally? What steps can you take to advocate for a better future?

We are in this together.  The offer stands, please reach out to us if you have questions about how COVID-19 is impacting the profession or your work and if you have ideas how WI ASLA can help our community.  Stay tuned for new socially distanced opportunities for gathering.

Stay Well!


Sarah McDonald, PLA, ASLA

Wisconsin Chapter President

WI ASLA Operational Changes

COVID-19 has drastically changed our world and WI ASLA  continues to adapt how we operate to be resilient. adjust how we operate the chapter as a result.  We are modifying our operations and exploring new methods for providing member benifets. Below are a few new things we’re doing:

  • Zoom Account Remote meetings are now the norm. Our chapter was meeting remotely via conference calls for some time. Zoom allows us to share screens to view documents and one another. We are also exploring ideas to expand our remote offerings to include zoom social hours, topical discussions and webinars. Stay tuned for invites!


  • YouTube Channel Our advocacy video has made its debut and can now be found on our new YouTube Channel. As we provide online learning opportunities, we are hoping to add more videos for members.


  • Spring Conference Format Preference Survey Is Coming Soon! We are developing a survey to determine member preferences for how to deliver continuing education credits during the COVID-19 pandemic and the age of social distancing.


  • Have an idea? Please share ideas on how we can strengthen our community. E-mail us today [email protected]

ASLA’s 2021-2022 Federal & State Legislative Priorities Survey

We encourage you to respond to ASLA’s 2021-2022 Federal & State Legislative Priorities Survey. Your response will help determine ASLA’s federal legislative agenda and state advocacy activities for 2021-2022. Survey deadline is Friday, May 15!

The current federal priorities for 2019-2020 are transportation planning and design, stormwater management, community and national parks, and planning for climate change and resilience, all with an emphasis on equity and environmental justice. Two years ago we broke all our previous response records when over 1,100 ASLA members!

Let’s represent WISCONSIN! You should have received an e-mail directly from ASLA.  The survey took all of 5 minutes to complete.

Click Me for the Survey!

WI ASLA 2020 Board Call for Nominations

Call for Nominations ended on May 1st. Our nominating committee will be approving candidates and will releasing bios soon. Stay tuned to meet the candidates!

Call for Volunteers!

We have vacancies for several chair positions, descriptions here.  Not interested in being chair but want to help out on an ad hoc basis, no problem!

  • Advocacy Chair
  • Emerging Professionals Chair
  • PR & Communications Co-Chair
  • K-12 Education subcommittee Chair/Co-Chairs
  • All committees are searching for members


E-mail us today with inquiries about how you can get involved [email protected]

ASLA National Chapter Presidents Council (CPC) and Board of Trustees (BOT) COVID Edition

President Sarah McDonald and Trustee Jonathan Bronk attended CPC and BOT meetings via zoom April 23rd-25th.

Noteworthy information to have emerged from the meetings:

  1. With your health and safety in mind, ASLA is fully committed to hold the 2020 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Miami Oct 2-5. Go to for more information, the lasted updates, and to register. Early Bird registration begins May 6. 
  2. Free membership is now available to students of landscape architecture around the world and student affiliates enrolled in institutions without a landscape architecture program. Stay tuned for more information regarding other initiatives for our students.
  3. To help any of our members struggling finically during COVID-19, ASLA has updated its policy for deferring membership dues due to hardship.
  4. Washington D.C. is now accepting landscape architecture license applications for those practicing within the district.
  5. Board of Trustees voted on future VPs for Professional Practice, Finance, and Membership. Look for the official announcement coming soon.
  6. ASLA continues to update its webpage with member resources for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 burn out is a real. We know everyone is getting inundated with an overwhelming amount of information every day. Our lobbyist is sending us updates regularly and we want to make sure we are sharing the value of this service with our members. We plan to reduce the number of e-mails in your inboxes but please do check in to the COVID-19 page on our website regularly for the latest updates.

2020 HALS Challenge: Calling One-Time Volunteers!

Looking for a low-stress way to help document historic Wisconsin landscapes?

1. Schumacher Farm Park HALS Survey Day, Sunday June 14th
Mark your calendar (tentatively!) to join the HALS Committee in Waunakee to tour the property, photograph landscape features, and discuss this historic site and Dane County park. Details to follow.

2. Tell us about a historic landscape
The HALS Committee is compiling a list of Wisconsin historic landscapes for future documentation - anything from old farms and forests to formal gardens. If there is a special Wisconsin landscape you know of, please email Megan at [email protected] so we can add it to the list.

HALS Coordinator Megan Turner to Speak at 2020 Local History and Historic Preservation Conference!

Megan Turner will be a speaker at the 2020 Local History and Historic Preservation Conference to be held at the Central Wisconsin Convention Center in Rothschild, WI on October 29-31.  She will be presenting on the HALS program and connecting with local historical groups to encourage documentation of Wisconsin historic landscapes.  Registration for this event will open in July.