Greetings from BSLA’s new Public Outreach Path Leader

Greetings all.  With this blog post, I’d like to introduce myself to you as BSLA’s new Public Outreach Path Leader (POPL – new acronym!) and Public Awareness Liaison to ASLA. A recently created role within the BSLA, the POPL’s duty is to “collaborate with the other committees to increase awareness of chapter endeavors through the use of electronic and other media.” I’d like to give a thank you to Todd Robinson, who so ably handled these duties previously.  If any Chapter members would like help with publicizing an event, write an article of interest or anything that would help boost the public’s knowledge and appreciation of our profession and our Chapter, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at communications@bslanow.org.

In the role of Public Awareness Liaison, I attended the Public Awareness Summit in Savannah, GA the weekend of January 6-8, an ASLA sponsored event, with my counterpart representatives from 47 other ASLA chapters representing 48 States. It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to connect with folks from across the country, learn about other Chapters‘ successes and failures over the past year, to have the professional staff at National get feedback from the local level, and to set ourselves up for success over the next year by aligning our efforts and creating tools of effective communication in a more instantaneous way (we created a closed Facebook group to share ideas). In addition, we received a basic course in public relations; ie. how to create a press release, effective use of social media, etc.  All in all it was time well spent.

Successes over the past year at National include:

  • World Landscape Architecture Month last April. The “This is landscape architecture“ campaign was a big success as well.
  • Park(ing) Day, September 2015.
  • A big overall increase in social media presence, even though web visits to asla.org are slightly down over 2015.

I can also report big interest in our Fieldbook from the other chapter representatives.  Although many are aware of it, for some it was the first time they had seen the publication since BSLA first published it in 2012. They were also quite intrigued that we are able to generate net revenue from it’s publication!

Some great ideas came from other Chapters, such as:

  • Displaying design award winners in public libraries throughout the State (Michigan Chapter)
  • Spending time in schools promoting our profession to the next generation
  • A successful pop up park program (Northern California – Sacramento)
  • Landscape Architecture trading cards (no kidding!) in the Minnesota Chapter
  • A. Expo on TV (Mississippi Chapter)
  • Creating swag (BSLA branded car magnets, tree calipers, and fleece vests)

However, the highlight of the weekend for me took place before Summit even started. On Friday afternoon, I spent time at a local charter school talking about landscape architecture and conducting a design charrette with about 15 students. More about this in my next blog post…

Cheers!

Michael Radner, ASLA