100 Years of Parks – #NPS100

Yellowstone National Park, the most famous and the first National Park - this photo captures the namesake yellow rock outcroppings and picturesque falls that captivated Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson in the 1800’s. Left to right: Jana McKenzie, FASLA, Joe McGrane, Ran Ran, Craig Coronato, FASLA, Logan Simpson. image: Craig Coronato, FASLA

Yellowstone National Park, the most famous and the first National Park – this photo captures the namesake yellow rock outcroppings and picturesque falls that captivated Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson in the 1800’s. Left to right: Jana McKenzie, FASLA, Joe McGrane, Ran Ran, Craig Coronato, FASLA, Logan Simpson.
image: Craig Coronato, FASLA

Happy Birthday, National Parks!

Today, the National Park Service celebrates 100 years since its founding on August 25, 1916. People all across the nation are taking advantage of this birthday year to visit National Park sites to enjoy all that these special places have to offer.

In the photo above are 4 of us landscape architects hamming it up at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, in Yellowstone National Park during a visit in 2014. Craig Coronato, FASLA, and fellow landscape architects were recently invited by the Friends of Yellowstone and the Park Director to look at ways to restore the historic trails and overlooks around the canyon. When asked about the value of this park, Craig states, “Yellowstone has a way of making you feel insignificant, yet overwhelmed to be in it.”

This year, my family and I visited several National Park sites, including Fire Island National Seashore, Governors Island National Monument, and many National Memorials and Sites in Washington, DC. These sites not only offer beautiful views and scenery but also demonstrate the rich history and culture of our nation, offering public places for reflection and remembrance.

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July is Parks and Recreation Month

The Slide Crater in Chicago's Maggie Daley Park image: Alexandra Hay

The Slide Crater in Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park
image: Alexandra Hay

To highlight our members during Parks and Recreation Month, we are taking a look back at the last annual meeting of the ASLA Parks and Recreation Professional Practice Network (PPN). At that meeting, the PPN’s co-chairs came up with a few questions to spark conversations and let the attendees get to know one another, including identifying key areas of interest and trends in parks and recreation design and moments of inspiration they’ve had in public spaces. The meeting attendees came from across the country and from all stages of their careers, from students to senior landscape architects and firm principals.

Read on to see some of the key questions, topics of interest, and inspiring places that are on Parks and Recreation PPN members’ minds.

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Kids to Parks Day School Contest

Kid’s free fishing event image: USFWS photo by Larry Jernigan via the Every Kid in a Park media kit

Kid’s free fishing event
image: USFWS photo by Larry Jernigan via the Every Kid in a Park media kit

The National Park Trust Announces an Expanded Kids to Parks Day School Contest

May 21, 2016 is National Kids to Parks Day and to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, now 100 schools will win grants!

This national contest—open to all under-served public, public charter, and private schools across the U.S.—aims to empower students to create and plan their own park experience by inviting them to submit proposals for a Kids to Parks (KTP) event at a park in their community. With help from the National Park Service Centennial Challenge fund and other support, the National Park Trust (NPT) is looking to award 100 schools with park scholarships of up to $1,000. Schools should implement their KTP event during May 2016, but exceptions will be made to accommodate school schedules. This contest also supports the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative to get every 4th grader to a park this school year! The deadline for entries is Friday, March 4. Winners will be announced Friday, March 25 on the NPT website.

If you know a teacher or school that wants to get Kids to Parks, please share this information with them today. Volunteer to help them with their event by talking to students about landscape architecture and how we design great parks like the one they are visiting. This is a great way to interact with future landscape architects and expand understanding of our profession! Don’t forget to post on social media using #KidsinParks, #Landarch, and #NPS100 to show your support and broaden our reach.

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Help Brainstorm the Future of Parks

ASLA 2008 Professional General Design Award of Excellence. The Lurie Garden is prominently sited at the southern edge of Chicago's Millennium Park, adjacent to the Great Lawn with bandshell and trellis designed by Frank O. Gehry & Associates. Chicago's skyline and Lake Michigan are visible on the horizon. image: Linda Oyama Bryan

ASLA 2008 Professional General Design Award of Excellence. The Lurie Garden is prominently sited at the southern edge of Chicago’s Millennium Park, adjacent to the Great Lawn with bandshell and trellis designed by Frank O. Gehry & Associates. Chicago’s skyline and Lake Michigan are visible on the horizon.
image: Linda Oyama Bryan

Help us brainstorm the future of parks and public spaces (we’d really like to know what you know…and what you are thinking about)!

At the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago this November, be sure to attend an engaging gathering of your fellow Parks & Recreation PPN members on Sunday, 11/8 @ 12:45 PM. Given the rare opportunity to tap into the collective knowledge and experience of landscape architects from across the country, we couldn’t resist the idea of facilitating a hands-on session to capture your thoughts about the trends influencing your work, the sites and experiences that are informing your thinking, and the information you need to improve and enrich your practice.

We will be using this networking opportunity to hear the experiences that are influencing your practice; to identify the specific trends, subject matter, and areas of interest that will be most important to in the immediate and far future; and to have your input on a content management plan that we can use to set the specific direction of the PPN in the year ahead.

In addition to facilitating and disseminating the collection of expert ideas on parks and public spaces, we want to offer Parks and Recreation PPN members the opportunity to actively contribute to the PPN community in a meaningful way that will directly influence future PPN activities. The PPN is a resource that is only as strong as we all can make it.

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This July, Celebrate National Parks & Recreation Month

Parks and Rec Social Media Challenge

This month, the National Recreation and Park Association is celebrating 30 years of Park and Recreation Month, and we’re inviting you to take part. The mission parks have had since the start—to serve the people, and give them a place to appreciate nature, exercise, socialize, and have fun—is as important as ever. July is a great month to get out and enjoy parks, so the ASLA Parks & Rec Professional Practice Network (PPN) would like to challenge you to show off your favorite park and activities in parks, highlighting what you consider the best feature of that park (or parklet!). Think big or small, tangible or experiential, amenity or observation. Take photos and post to Instagram, Twitter, or your favorite social media platform and include what you value most about the park. Don’t forget to add #JulyPRM30 and #ThisIsLandArch. You can view all posts on the #JulyPRM30 tagboard.

To get you started, here are some guidelines and samples for your posts, courtesy of NRPA:

Official 2015 Park and Recreation Month Hashtags

  • #JulyPRM30
  • #PowerOfParks
  • #JulyTBTChallenge (contest hashtag—you can find more information about this year’s contest at nrpa.org/july and on NRPA’s blog, Open Space)

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Parks & Recreation Annual Meeting Preview

Morning in Denver's City Park image: mclcbooks via Flickr

Morning in Denver’s City Park
image: mclcbooks via Flickr

The ASLA Annual Meeting starts today! This year’s theme, Resilience, could not be more appropriate as cities around the nation are faced with natural disasters and economic struggles over the past few years. Landscape architects are well positioned to lead cities through these challenges and work towards building resilient communities. Parks and Recreation is an invaluable part of the fabric that builds these resilient cities by creating public spaces that foster community building. Please join us for our PPN meeting this year!

Parks and Recreation PPN Meeting
Sunday, November 23, 1:40-2:15 pm
PPN Room 2 on the EXPO floor

At the Parks and Recreation PPN Meeting Sunday afternoon, we will discuss our PPN’s goals for the upcoming year. We will discuss how the PPN can better support your practice and identify topics and issues that are important to you as well as identify topics for Online Learning webinars and posts for The Field. Bring recent success stories to share! We are also looking for a few volunteers to serve as a PPN Co-Chairs and/or Officers starting after this year’s Annual Meeting. Please attend the PPN Meeting in Denver if you are interested to learn more about serving as a chair or officer.

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Park and Recreation Month is Almost Here

July is Park and Recreation Month, and this year’s theme is: OUT is IN. Agencies can register as official participants to have their Park and Recreation Month events added to the main listing, which includes activities across the United States ranging from outdoor dance and exercise classes to kickball, white water rafting, volleyball tournaments, garden tours, and family hikes.

Park and Recreation Month this year also comes with a social media challenge: participants are asked to share their photos on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #JulyOUTisIN. Prizes will be awarded to the best photos of an indoor activity being done outside.

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