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  • Writer's pictureCTASLA

Year In Review

The chapter submitted the following summary to Landscape Architect and Specifier News to summarize events and achievements from 2020. An abridged version appears online; the full version appears in print.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the chapter hosted two major continuing education events. “Risk and Resiliency: Adapting to Connecticut’s Changing Climate,” held February 19th, featured three panels and a keynote address about looming impacts of sea level rise, drought, and weather events over the next 30 years. Several state Senators and Representatives were in attendance, and a few others were contacted during the subsequent Statehouse Day advocacy program. “Observing Construction: Techniques, Tips & Thoughts” was held on March 5th and featured several moderated panels on pool fabrication, contract law, concrete, and using drone technology.

During the Risk and Resiliency event, the chapter gave its annual Connecticut Olmsted Award to Save the Sound, a nonprofit committed to restoring and protecting the land, water, and air of Long Island Sound and its watershed. The award recognizes the life and lasting legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, a native son of Hartford who pioneered the modern landscape architecture profession as an advocate for public spaces and a steward of natural resources. Save the Sound’s work as a pioneer in urban green infrastructure, rain gardens and bioswales have become a model for Connecticut communities.

In May, CTASLA awarded its $2,500 Karen Ann Shopis-Fox Memorial Scholarship to Bridgeport resident Ely-Anna Becerril, who attends the University of Connecticut. The chapter also awarded its $1,500 Landscape Architecture Environmental Stewardship Scholarship for High School Seniors to Elisabeth Helmin, of Simsbury. Now in its 18th year, the chapter's scholarship program has awarded more than $75,000 to worthy students pursuing education in landscape architecture.

“Women in Landscape Architecture” was the theme of the Spring 2020 edition of The Connecticut Landscape Architect released in April 2020. Articles included profiles of several female practitioners at different stages of their career as well as a historical examination on the life of Elizabeth Bullard, the first woman to practice as a landscape architect. The 2020 Annual, released in August, featured coverage of the 2020 Professional and Student Award winners. Other articles included reflections on the importance of mentorship as well as a call by the President for chapter members to educate themselves on racial equity and justice in the profession. The Fall 2020 issue of The Connecticut Landscape Architect, released in November provided a roundtable discussion of how COVID-19 has changed the way the profession works. Total circulation for all three publications was approximately 1,700 including members, allied professionals, educators, legislators, and other influential decisionmakers.

The chapter has adapted to digital-only model of programming until further notice with much success. Over a dozen webinars have been offered since June at no cost to practitioners. Most sessions were accredited with LA CES, AIA CES, or both. Attendance averaged 35 people per program with an audience drawn from across the country! The ability to connect with like-minded practitioners, regardless of location, has increased the chapter’s esteem and usefulness at a time when landscape architects need it most.

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