Back-to-School Story Ideas from ASLA


Washington, D.C., July 13, 2012 – For back-to-school stories, consider the following ideas from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). For more information, contact Karen Trimbath at 202-216-2371 or

Discovering Landscape Architecture

Create a mini-green roof using a shoebox. Design and build a rain garden or bioswale to manage stormwater. These are some of the projects offered by ASLA to teach kids and teens about sustainability, ecological issues, and the technical aspects of landscape architecture.

Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management, and stewardship of natural and built environments. Here are nine activities, created for landscape architects to use in their local schools,  that can be adapted by teachers or involve a local landscape architect that let students in grades K-12 explore landscape architecture and sustainable landscape design:

The ASLA Career Discovery Program activities correlate to the national standards created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). McREL is a nationally recognized, private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving education.

Sustainable Landscapes Educational Resources

What's it like to work as landscape architect and how do you become one? One special place to start is with the Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes pages created by ASLA.  They offer 30 case studies in easily understood terms that demonstrate how landscape architects beautify your world while also protecting and working with nature. You can also view and download animations that show sustainable landscape design in action. And another public education site provides an interactive introduction to the profession.

The free site also provides many educational resource guides aimed at K-12 students. Topics include recycling, outdoor recreation, transportation, and more. The guides provide hundreds of vetted games, videos, classroom activities, and curriculum organized by age groups (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12). 

Getting a Lesson in Green Roofs

The Roof is Growing! is the number-one-ranked classroom program developed by ASLA to engage and educate middle school students about green roofs and their environmental benefits. A green roof is a roof substantially covered with vegetation.

Students investigate how green roofs can make a difference in four key environmental areas:

  • Reducing stormwater runoff
  • Alleviating the urban heat island effect
  • Improving air quality
  • Providing habitat for wildlife

Using an online, interactive program and a workbook, students gather facts about green roofs. They then apply their knowledge by preparing a proposal for building a green roof on the Frederick Law Olmsted School auditorium. Click here for teacher resources.

The Roof Is Growing! program is based on Grade Level 6-8 mathematics, science, and geography national standards and benchmarks created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL).

Begin the journey! 

About ASLA

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing roughly 16,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and Communications 
tel: 1-202-216-2356