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ASLA, National Park Service Partnership Celebrates Year of Public Service

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program have announced a heightened collaborative partnership that will celebrate ASLA’s Year of Public Service. Under this partnership, ASLA’s local chapters can volunteer in their communities to provide technical assistance for such outdoor resources as trails, bike paths, and other recreation facilities. 

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In 2000, ASLA and the National Park Service (NPS) formalized a partnership to help communities across the nation plan, design, and manage their natural, cultural, and recreation resources. This unique partnership, first tested in the Pacific Northwest, expanded opportunities for ASLA chapters and NPS staff across the country. Dozens of community projects have benefited from this valuable collaboration, and the two groups are excited to ramp up their efforts in 2013.

ASLA has designated 2013 as the Year of Public Service to spotlight the community service performed by landscape architects across the nation and to engage the public in the landscape architecture profession. Among the design professions, landscape architecture plays the most significant role in encouraging active living, thus contributing to public health. Landscape architects create and design environments that encourage daily exercise, provide clean air and water, and even supply nutritious food. This helps combat growing epidemics of depression, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

According to Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, expect to see landscape architects doing what they do best—actively contributing to the development of healthy communities through sustainable landscape design. NPS staff will work with ASLA’s 49 local chapters to identify, plan, and implement technical assistance projects or activities, including community design charrettes.

“Both ASLA and the NPS have goals in common, including creating a national network of healthy, sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities,” says Somerville. “We encourage our local chapters to collaborate with the National Park Service on mutually beneficial projects and undertake at least one public service project this year.”

“Partnerships like this one between the NPS and ASLA give communities access to expert planners and designers so they can turn their ideas into actions,” says NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, Hon. ASLA. “We are proud to support healthy communities and extend the missions of the National Park Service and ASLA to all Americans.”

Click on this NPS link to learn more about state success stories and current projects (click on any state). Whether you work with the NPS or on your own, be sure to commit to a project this year to help demonstrate the profession’s contributions. Here's how to get involved.

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