President's Remarks

Laura Thompson 

Happy May, WASLA members! There is a lot to recap from April, so I am just going to jump right into it! On April 20th, WASLA hosted the pre-conference reception at Left Bank Wine Bar in Spokane.  It was a packed house which made the mingling and festivities that much better! You couldn't help but spark up conversation with passerbys as you made your way from one end of the venue to the other. Let's be honest, getting that second ticket's worth of beverage proved to be quite the feat! But that's what it's all about - bumping into old friends, meeting new people, sharing stories and coming together as a group of like-minded individuals. I loved hearing the indistinguishable conversations happening all around me and the outbreaks of laughter roaring through the room. It certainly sounded like everyone was having a great time - I know I did!

April 22nd was the big day; the 2017 Annual WASLA Conference! If you were able to make it over to Spokane, you probably heard me say this over and over, but I was absolutely THRILLED, EXCITED, and OVERJOYED that I got to play host in my hometown for this year's conference. Mike Terrell, Garrett Jones, and Guy Michaelsen kick-started our day of learning with a tremendous presentation on Spokane; its history, a current summary and future vision which really set the tone for the entire day.  It was difficult to choose from all the wonderful breakout session options, I wish I could have somehow gone to them all! The vendor booths and tables all looked amazing, and the expo hall was bustling with people at breaks. Chip Sullivan "blew our minds" during the luncheon keynote presentation and the sun even decided to show itself during the latter half of the day so that guests could enjoy the beauty of the Spokane River and Centennial Trail. Rounding out the day's festivities was the closing reception which was a perfect conclusion to the day. Thank you again to all of our sponsors, all of our guests, those who presented, our volunteers, and to our event committee members. I may be biased, but I'd say that the Spokane WASLA conference is one for the books. I hope to see everyone on the "East side" for a conference again, hopefully sooner than later.

Another huge event which took place at the end of April was the ASLA CPC Midyear meeting and Advocacy Day! I had the honor of travelling to our nation's capital with our Trustee Curtis LaPierre, and students Joshua Gawne and Philip VanDevanter of UW and WSU respectively. This year's message was "Landscape Architects Leading Community Infrastructure Design and Development." We spoke to our legislators about supporting TIGER funding, Clean Water and Drinking Water Revolving Funds, and the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Programs which help fund projects that landscape architects work on.  Overall we feel like it was a very successful day on the hill. Following our advocacy escapades, the Chapter Presidents Council lead us in discussion on diversity, outreach, and career discovery for K-12 students; effective communication with members and external communication with media; and public awareness outreach.  There were so many imaginative ideas shared at our breakout tables for ways that our chapters can reach out to students, allied professionals, and the general public to spread the knowledge of our extensive yet unique profession. I left D.C. completely inspired, so watch out members - I have a feeling new and big things will be coming to our chapter soon!

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