It’s back to school time for students and we offer a few sobering thoughts…the profession of Landscape Architecture is shrinking and there are not enough graduates from college to fill the spots that are being vacated by those retiring. With a drop in the national birthrate—last year was the lowest in 30 years—there are less students applying to college and, due to the rising cost of college, more of those students are pursuing trade industries. The other significant issue is that students, parents, college counselors, and teachers do not know much if anything about the profession of Landscape Architecture. So how is ASLA/MSLA helping? How can YOU help?
What is ASLA Doing?
ASLA has been working on numerous fronts trying to address the awareness piece. There are ongoing efforts to have landscape architecture recognized as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field. This would elevate awareness of the profession on par with other STEM fields. On July 24th, ASLA Career Discovery and Diversity hosted its first partner meeting with the STEM Education Coalition. The Coalition’s mission is to inform policymakers of the role science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education plays in keeping the United States as the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace.
In addition, ASLA has recently developed a Back-to-School toolkit that includes a growing collection of downloadable PDFs packed with blogs, videos, exciting topics, and other free ASLA resources to help introduce landscape architecture as a fun and engaging profession.
That information can be found here: https://www.asla.org/toolsforteachers.aspx
What is MSLA Doing?
Michelle Grover (MSLA Co-Chair) and Amy Segal (MSLA Treasurer) attended the Maine STEM Summit at Central Maine Community College in Auburn on Friday, May 10th, sponsored by the STEM Collaborative. Michelle and Amy had numerous discussions about the profession of landscape architecture with state educational policy makers, students, STEM educators, and organizations that offer STEM internship opportunities.
What can YOU do?
Reach out to your local Middle and High School about the profession. Show students interested in creating climate change resilient, socially responsible, and beautifully inspiring places how to do it through landscape architecture. Sign up to host a student job shadow, or give a career day presentation about the profession and your work! We have several copies of Your Land magazines, an ASLA publication with a broad and inclusive description of the profession that may be helpful. You can view Your Land magazine online or contact us for copies.
YOU can also publicize yourself, your staff, your accomplishments and your projects more! We should be taking every opportunity to display our work, talk about why, what, and how Landscape Architects contribute to improving the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of Mainers and beyond.
Please feel free to contact Maine ASLA with any questions!