ASLA Advocacy Summit Speeds into the Hoosier State


ASLA hosted the 16th Annual Advocacy Summit in Indianapolis on August 12-14. The annual event brought 33 advocates from 29 chapters to discuss new and innovative opportunities to improve their chapter advocacy efforts. This year’s Summit featured strategies and information on the importance of engaging policy makers on licensure issues, and new resources and tools related to landscape architecture’s impact on public health, safety, and welfare. 

Summiteers heard presentations from Hodge Patel, state director with the Office of Senator Joe Donnelly and Brian Gould, government affairs director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. Both presenters discussed how landscape architects are active stakeholders in educating policy makers on an array of local, state, and federal public policy issues, and encouraged attendees to build and maintain strong relationships with elected officials and their staffs. 

This year’s program also included a breakout session that challenged summiteers to plan advocacy events with their state legislatures and state agencies. Individuals were divided into groups and tasked with developing a comprehensive, step-by-step plan for their respective advocacy events. The agenda also included a role-play exercise, providing the opportunity for attendees to participate in mock meetings with legislators and practice conveying and promoting the value of licensure.

Additionally, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) Chief Executive Officer Joel Albizo, Hon. ASLA, presented an update on next steps following the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners vs Federal Trade Commission Supreme Court decision on licensing boards. ASLA State Director of Government Affairs Elizabeth Hebron then led an in-depth discussion on how states are reacting to the recent Supreme Court action and its potential to impact landscape architecture. Director Hebron also highlighted federal legislation related to occupational licensing. 

The ASLA government affairs team also provided summiteers with a review of the iAdvocate Network and how chapters can use the system to connect chapter members with their elected officials on public policy issues, including licensure.

INASLA President Jonathon Geels, ASLA, along with advocates from the North Carolina, Arizona, and Ohio chapters, kicked off Saturday’s afternoon session with presentations on their respective chapters’ licensure battles and provided peer-to-peer advice on how to foster an active advocacy campaign to educate policy makers on the importance of maintaining current licensure laws. The afternoon session also included the debut of the new Licensure Advocacy Toolkit and how such materials can be used to promote licensure. The new Licensure Advocacy Toolkit will be available on the ASLA website on September 6.

On the final day of the Summit, a representative from the Indiana Environmental Council joined the group on a tour of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail led by INASLA Trustee David Gorden, ASLA. The eight-mile, world class urban bike and pedestrian path in downtown Indianapolis seamlessly connects neighborhoods, cultural districts, and entertainment amenities while serving as the downtown hub for central Indiana’s vast greenway system. The tour included an array of local landscape architecture projects and highlighted how such projects are spurring economic development.

If you or your chapter were not able to attend this year’s Advocacy Summit and want to help make a difference in your state, visit ASLA’s Advocacy Tools page for toolkits and resources to help you carry out an effective chapter advocacy program. Also, be sure to check out the ASLA Advocacy Twitter feed for a visual and social media recap of this year’s event and to follow up for current advocacy updates.


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator