Sustainable Site Design and Landscape Architecture
continuing our education
Since we started DALA in 1989, we have valued continuing education. Our goal is not only to satisfy the requirements of our licenses but to expand our knowledge base so we can better serve our clients, projects, and the environment. Thirty years later, we are convinced that one of the reasons for our firm’s success is this commitment to education.
Our recent education sessions have been eclectic but have provided invaluable information that we will integrate into our practice. Keith has attended two seminars in New York that discussed Current Issues in Landscape Architecture and New York Wetlands Law and Compliance. Topics included complying with land use and wetland laws, understanding barrier-free requirements in outdoor spaces and creating pollinator habitats. The barrier-free requirements and pollinator habitats were of particular interest to Keith because:
- Barrier-free requirements quite often require creative solutions for a project to be in compliance while maintaining the aesthetic value of a project. However, with early planning in the design process and an open mind to different solutions, compliance can be beautifully achieved. One example is our design of the accessible route for the Danbury Library Plaza. It not only provides access to the building but visual access to the Sybil Ludington statue and an element that complements the design concept of the plaza. (see photo)
- Habitat for pollinators has been decreasing and becoming more fragmented as more of the world is developed. Pollinators (bees, butterflies, etc.) are critical for the natural environment as well as modern agriculture and by increasing and diversifying their habitats, providing better proximity to resources and employing integrated pest management techniques, the pollinators can thrive as they perform the essential functions that create a sustainable environment.
Webinars are another method to attend educational sessions and Jane's most recent webinars have been all about trees:
- The Utah State University Forestry Extension webinar on Trees: A Risk Worth Taking discussed what factors influence tree failure and how to assess the risk. An important concept is that all trees present some risk, but how is acceptable risk determined. Using the ISA Tree Risk Assessment form as a standardized check list, the tree professional considers the condition, the location and environment as part of a comprehensive risk assessment.
- Another webinar from Utah State discussed salt as a factor in tree health, especially in coastal and/or northern climates. Sodium Chloride will either enter the tree systemically through contaminated drainage or accumulate on leaves, needle or buds through salt spray. The result in both cases is usually tree failure. Trees may thrive in these environments if some best management practices such as specifying proper species, diverse planting palette, raised beds, and education of methods of salt application, flushing techniques, and/or salt alternatives are incorporated into the planning and maintenance of these landscapes.
At DALA, we not only attend lectures, webinars, seminars, and classes but also teach. Most recently, Jane has been an instructor of stormwater management and landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden. Learning and sharing information will always be an integral part of our thriving firm’s mission.