Celebrating Women in Landscape Architecture

The 2021 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk in Nashville’s Frankie Pierce Park / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA / @lauraschroederphotography.com

On this International Women’s Day, ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) is excited to see landscape architects in the spotlight and taking the lead in a variety of ways, from ASLA National—with President Eugenia Martin, FASLA, President-Elect Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, and President-Elect candidates SuLin Kotowicz, FASLA, and Pam Linn, FASLA—to 2019 ASLA conference keynote speaker Kotchakorn Voraakhom, ASLA, being interviewed by The New York Times as part of their Women and Leadership special report.

In the midst of Women’s History Month, we are taking a look back at 2021 WILA highlights, along with initiatives currently underway, including a partnership with WxLA and the new Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program.

Last November at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, Women in Landscape Architecture PPN Co-Chairs Lara Moffat, ASLA, and Sahar Teymouri, ASLA, led a session on “From Mentorship to Sponsorship: Friendship is the Key!” exploring how professional relationships contribute to a flourishing career.

The WILA PPN campfire session on “From Mentorship to Sponsorship: Friendship is the Key!” / image: Jason Mallory

The first part of this interactive campfire session asked attendees—many of whom were students and emerging professionals currently seeking a mentor—what they were looking for when considering possible mentors and sponsors. Most agreed that person should be:

  • Open and honest
  • Passionate about their work
  • Able to provide a safe space
  • Able to frame guidance in a positive way, providing hope and help when you encounter a challenge
Women in Landscape Architecture PPN Co-Chairs Lara Moffat, ASLA, and Sahar Teymouri, ASLA / image: Jason Mallory

Attendees also shared how the experience of being a mentor, sponsor, or friend to a colleague has benefitted them along their career paths. Among the many benefits and skills sharpened by these relationships:

  • Learning about values and building organization and soft skills
  • Listening and communicating
  • Seeing that there are many different paths in landscape architecture, from teaching to public practice to starting your own firm
  • How to build new connections, including through your ASLA chapter, ASLA National, and allied professions’ programs
  • How to become a licensed landscape architect
The WILA Walk at Nashville’s Noble Park in the Gulch / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA / @lauraschroederphotography.com

The last day of the conference began bright and early for the 70 attendees who joined the Tennessee Chapter for the Women in Landscape Architecture Walk. The outing covered downtown Nashville spaces designed by, worked on by, or featuring women, led by Sarah Newton, ASLA, and Lindsey Bradley, ASLA, and featuring speakers Mary Vavra, ASLA, Katie Rudowsky, ASLA, Kim Hawkins, ASLA, Jennifer Smith, Laura Schroeder, ASLA, and Carol Ashworth, ASLA. It was a favorite event of the conference (or a favorite WILA Walk, for repeat participants) for many of those who made it.

West Riverfront Park and the sculpture Light Meander, by HADDAD|DRUGAN / image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA / @lauraschroederphotography.com

Stops on the three-and-a-half mile walk included: Noble Park, Frankie Pierce Park, the Deaderick Street complete street, Public Square, and West Riverfront Park. From parks and plazas to streetscapes and amphitheaters, women had a hand in designing and realizing all of these projects. See the conference website for more about the 2021 WILA Walk, including project photos and a Google map with links to videos about the projects visited.

image: courtesy of Laura Schroeder, ASLA / @lauraschroederphotography.com

Now that you’re up to speed on WILA highlights from last year, here’s what’s happening right now:

WxLA and ASLA are partnering for Women’s History Month with a new series, WxLA Wednesday Walks, in which fierce women leaders in landscape architecture are giving Instagram Live tours of landscapes they have designed across the country. Signe Nielsen, FASLA, led the first walk on March 2:

Here are the WxLA Wednesday Walks coming up next:

March 9, 12pm MST
Allison Colwell, ASLA, and Michelle Shelor, ASLA
Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture, Phoenix

March 16, 12pm CST
Hana Ishikawa, AIA
Site Design Group, Chicago

March 23, 12pm CST
Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Austin

March 30, 12pm EST
Christine Hite, FASLA
Dix.Hite + Partners, Orlando

Drawing on one of the topics raised at the WILA PPN campfire session in Nashville—succeeding on the path to licensure, and the guidance and resources needed in order to do so—ASLA has also launched the Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program, designed to support women of color in their pursuit of licensure and increase racial and gender diversity within the profession.

In its inaugural year, the program will provide 10 women of color with a two-year, personalized experience that includes up to $3,500 to cover the cost of sections of the Landscape Architectural Registration Exam (LARE), along with funding for and access to exam preparation courses and resources, and mentorship from a licensed landscape architect. The deadline to apply for the program is April 1, 2022.

Interested in learning more about ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN)?

Or, not sure if you’re already a member? You can check by logging in to the ASLA website and seeing what’s listed for your PPN(s), located under the Activities / Orders tab. If you are not currently in any PPN, or would like to switch PPNs, you may do so by completing this form.

If you are new to the WILA PPN, we encourage you to explore our webpage, join our Facebook and / or LinkedIn groups, and read through our most recent posts for The Field. A reminder for any writers or aspiring thought leaders out there: all ASLA members are welcome to write for The Field—submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

If you would like to be more involved with the WILA PPN on an ongoing basis, any member of the PPN may volunteer to join the PPN’s leadership team. The commitment would be a monthly Zoom meeting with like-minded professionals and volunteering to support one of the PPN’s resources. Learn more and sign up to be a PPN leader.

Leave a Reply