Updates from ASLA


ASLA's 125th: California Sierra Chapter’s Legendary History

The 2023 Sierra Chapter Career Fair was hosted in partnership with UC Davis's Student Chapter / ASLA California Sierra Chapter

The story of our beloved chapter commenced with Edward (Ed) Kress, ASLA Emeritus, and a cohort of colleagues in the late 1960s. They were driven by a desire to support the needs of government employees and those residing north of the Bay Area.

From this effort, the Central Valley chapter was born, only to morph into the present-day California Sierra Chapter, thanks to the ingenious Marq Truscott, FASLA. Truscott suggested renaming the chapter in the 1990’s to extend a welcoming hand to co-members in Northern Nevada.

In the 1960’s, George Medlicott, ASLA emeritus, and Kress, our early chapter presidents, steered our chapter with valor, spearheading modifications to the California Business and Professions Code that elevated the landscape architect licensure process to cover practice, not merely a title, and successfully advocated for pay parity with comparable engineers and architects!

In the early 1970’s, the chapter collaborated with Robert Thayer, FASLA, to support the establishment of the esteemed landscape architecture program at the University of California, Davis. The program stands alone as the only accredited undergraduate program in the University of California system. Today, the Sierra Chapter maintains a close relationship with the Davis Student Chapter.

The year 1974 marked a milestone as our chapter made its mark at the Cal Expo State Fair, spreading the gospel of landscape architecture far and wide. Communication was our watchword, through brochures, monthly newsletters, convivial potluck gatherings, and engaging speakers. We left an indelible mark on crucial government programs and projects, such as the Environmental Legal Aid Fund and the Sacramento County General Plan, championing environmental stewardship at every turn.

Enter the era of Skip Mezger, a time of fellowship and revelry. The chapter rose to power and distinguished itself by hosting magnificent events like the yearly golf tournament and the summer picnic, still ongoing annual gatherings.

As the 1990’s unfolded, our chapter began its ascent to national recognition within ASLA by having significant state impacts. Past chapter presidents Skip Mezger, John Nicolaus, and Marq Truscott convinced lobbyists Nanette Kelley and Terry Thomas to take us on as a charity case! Their expertise allowed us to become one of the first chapters to have a lobbyist nationwide.

Capital mallChapter Members presenting Sacramento's Capital Mall / ASLA California Sierra Chapter

Fast forward to the turn of the millennium when our chapter played a pivotal role in ASLA's Centennial Celebration. We commemorated the event with a master plan for Sacramento’s Capitol Mall, which was developed and gifted by the chapter to the City of Sacramento and State of California. This showcased the transformative power of landscape architecture on a grand scale.

This momentum created the Centennial Medallion program, which honored Yosemite National Park and Bidwell Park in Chico as beacons of our profession's enduring legacy.

park in a boxASLA Sierra Chapter at a Park in a Box event with Congresswoman Doris Matsui / ASLA California Sierra Chapter

Some of our ongoing triumphs include the pop-up-park, designed, built, and used by the community to illustrate how important these spaces can be and draw attention to the important work of landscape architects.

As the years unfurl, the Sierra Chapter stands poised for even greater triumphs. Our journey is one of passion, community, and boundless potential.

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