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Advocacy Summit Scores a “Touchdown” in Milwaukee

2017 Advocacy Summit – Milwaukee. Site tour of the Menomonee Valley.

ASLA National and ASLA Wisconsin hosted the 17th Annual Advocacy Summit in Milwaukee September 8-10. The football-themed event brought together 30 chapters to examine the current political and legislative environment and to discuss new and innovative opportunities to advocate for licensure and improve chapter advocacy efforts.

After a brief opening session, summiteers were joined by Wisconsin State Senator LaTonya Johnson and a staff member from U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s office for an advocacy site tour of the Menomonee Valley. The advocacy tour, led by local landscape architects and a representative from the mayor’s office, highlighted the landscape architect’s role in designing a green infrastructure stormwater system, a riverbank restoration project, and a popular local park. These projects showcased the transformation of unused, contaminated, and abandoned spaces into iconic places that now benefit community health and well-being and protect the public.

After a “tailgate lunch,” the summiteers spent the afternoon discussing licensure threats and advocacy. ASLA State Government Affairs Director Elizabeth Hebron opened the afternoon by providing an in-depth overview of 2017 state and federal licensure activity. Josh Sundloff, ASLA, led the next session which focused on the recent update of the Landscape Architecture Licensure Handbook, and Sundloff provided tips on using the handbook for advocacy. A “Big Ten (Licensure) Battle” session then ensued with Wisconsin Chapter President Cody Axness, ASLA, and representatives from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois participating. Each panelist shared information about their state’s recent licensure battle and provided peer-to-peer advice on fostering an active advocacy campaign to educate policy makers on licensure. Completing the afternoon was a presentation by the Wisconsin Chapter’s lobbyist, who offered insightful tips on hiring and working with a lobbyist.

On the final day, ASLA State Director Hebron, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) Senior Director of Strategy Veronica Meadows, and landscape architect and CLARB consultant David Sprunt, ASLA, presented the results of the joint ASLA/CLARB licensure threat readiness survey. Summiteers were then assigned into breakout groups and presented their ideas on developing effective chapter/board relationships and on identifying creative ways to educate legislators. Also woven throughout the two days were “pecha kucha” chapter sharing sessions, with each chapter having the opportunity to highlight its recent advocacy efforts.

Chapters unable to participate in this year’s summit can visit ASLA’s Advocacy Tools page for toolkits and resources to help 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.

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