Letter from the Chair
by Joe Howard

It has been a great couple of years for the Reclamation and Restoration Professional Practice Network. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to have met several more of you both at the ASLA Annual Meeting in San Francisco in 2007, and just recently in Philadelphia. During these meetings, our PPN convened to discuss current topics facing the Reclamation and Restoration field and general PPN business.

One of the best features for PPNs has been the introduction of the e-communities interface on the ASLA website.  It became a good professional resource and forum for posting questions and assisting our peers. While this feature is temporarily unavailable as the site is reconstructed, we are promised that the new e-Networks that will replace it will have even better features for improved communications within and between PPNs.

We were encouraged to see themes of ecology, habitat restoration, and reclamation woven throughout the ASLA meetings. In realization of one of our PPN goals set during our meeting in Minneapolis, we were able to assemble an Education Session oriented toward our PPN titled “Integrating Science and Design in Landscape Architecture” at the meeting in San Francisco last year. This session featured Darrel Morrison and his recent work at the University of Wisconsin’s Curtis Prairie, as well as Dr. John Bourgeois’s salt marsh restoration work in the San Francisco Bay, while I explored habitat design for sensitive and endangered species. Past PPN Chair Lee Skabelund summarized the session, giving a brief introduction that reflected on the current state of the restoration and reclamation field. Subsequently, the Landscape Journal asked us to adapt this session into an article they are considering for publication.

We are also looking forward to next year’s Annual Meeting, September 18-22, 2009, in Chicago. For this meeting, a handful of ed session topics aligned with the interests of our PPN have been floating around. For anyone interested, we hope to conduct a focused planning session for such sessions early in 2009. Keep your eyes open, as more details are to come. In the meantime, if you have any topics you would like to explore, please feel free to email them to the PPN Vice Chair Keith Bowers and me. 

Included in this newsletter, Keith explores the inclusion of the human system in evaluating an ecosystem as a vital component of habitat restoration design. 

Also, Dr. Jon Bryan Burley dodges tornados to bring us an account from last year’s American Society for Mining and Reclamation meeting. His adventures included site tours of the reclamation at the Belle Ayr and the North Antelope-Rochelle surface coal mines in eastern Wyoming. The information and images from Dr. Burley .give an interesting perspective into this natural resource industry and the effort required to reclaim and restore such mine sites post-use. 

Thank you to Sabrina Siebert for her editing assistance, and on behalf of ASLA, our PPN co-chairs, and myself we hope you enjoy this newsletter.

Joe Howard, Division Head of Landscape Architecture, H. T. Harvey & Associates – Ecological Consultants

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Lee Skabelund, ASLA, Chair
(785) 532-2431