ASLA Supports White House Strategy to Promote Health of Pollinators

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) applauds the Obama Administration for its announcement, National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds and bats are vital to the American landscape and public health, and the White House strategy provides a comprehensive approach that will help reverse pollinator declines.

According to ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, the national strategy offers meaningful guidance for reversing pollinator declines, especially through its support of sustainable landscape design. The federal strategy also includes recommendations/principles submitted by ASLA that showcase the role and ingenuity of landscape architecture to foster vibrant, well-designed landscapes to improve pollinator health and vitality.

“Pollinators play a critical role in food production, health, diverse ecosystems and vibrant communities. Sustainable landscape design practices—such as those supported by the White House strategy—contribute to the health of honey bees, monarch butterflies and other native pollinators,” says Somerville. “We are confident that implementation of the strategy will continue to highlight the expertise of landscape architects in contributing to pollinator health.”

The national strategy includes new training on pollinator basics aimed at federal professional design and construction staff employed by the General Services Administration (GSA). This training will be in addition to webinars on sustainable land development provided to GSA staff via the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), an interdisciplinary partnership led by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to transform land development and management practices through the nation’s first voluntary guidelines and rating system for sustainable landscapes, with or without buildings.

The new training will allow GSA professional design staff to become educated on pollinator best practices as part of their annual continuing education agreements to maintain accreditations by ASLA, the American Institute of Architects and the American Planning Association.

The national strategy also calls on the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to evaluate opportunities to encourage pollinator habitat on rights-of-way. USDOT has worked with ASLA and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to develop information on pollinator-friendly landscape design for unused rights-of-way. A number of USDOT websites will provide visitors with links to resources promoting pollinator health and the planting of pollinator-friendly vegetation.

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