The Host With The Most

What an incredible weekend! For those of you who may not know, this past weekend was the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo. This year it was held here in Phoenix, and the Arizona chapter was the host.

A report from the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo.

If you are reading this and you attended the conference this year, by now you are probably back home digesting lessons learned during the numerous educational sessions. This was the third ASLA Annual Meeting that I had the pleasure of attending. The first was two years ago in Washington D.C. It was one of the most inspirational weeks of my life. Not only was it my first trip to the nation’s Capitol, but it was also my first ASLA Annual Meeting.

I was so inspired after attending the Annual Meeting that I submitted a proposal with two other landscape architects to speak at the 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Our proposal was selected, and we presented at one of the education sessions last November.

This year, with the Annual Meeting in Phoenix, our host chapter was extremely excited to participate in the planning of the conference. If your chapter ever has the opportunity to host an Annual Meeting, I highly recommend you volunteer to help plan the event.

Our host booth committee went all out in planning our booth. We wanted our booth to be both welcoming and fun.

I won’t lie. It was hot here. The temperature was in the upper 90s, and while we are used to temperatures like this, we know most visitors are not. We tried to make the best of the situation by giving away complimentary water bottles and packets of sunscreen.

We also had a photo booth with a desert backdrop, and attendees could have their photo taken with our mascot, Jack, a stuffed jack-a-lope.

We also gave away prickly pear cactus-flavored and saguaro-shaped lollipops.

We had maps of downtown and the Phoenix metro area available, with points of interest and local restaurants highlighted to help attendees find their way around.

Lastly, our chapter sent a “call for submissions” to all of our members, asking for landscape sketch or photography submissions. We then had a panel pick 10 sketches and we had them made into postcards and gave them away.

It was so amazing to meet so many landscape architects from across the country and across the world.

The Expo was a popular draw this year, as always, and it was great to see the support of many companies who donated their display items to the ASLA / ACE Mentor Legacy Program Project.

The opening general session was packed with members who heard a great presentation about water and the amount of water consumed on an annual basis throughout different parts of the world.

The second general session included a roundtable discussion about How to Shape the New American City.

The field sessions were popular this year, and I heard great things about all of them. There were multiple education sessions throughout the conference.

My favorite was a presentation by Steve Martino on Designing Award Winning Residential Gardens.

Land8 Lounge hosted the third annual happy hour party at The Deuce, a local restaurant, and everyone had a great time.

As you can tell, each day was filled with many activities. Even though the days were long and the nights of sleep were short, the Annual Meeting was a great success and we are looking forward to attending next year’s conference in Boston.

Did you attend the Annual Meeting this year? If so, what was your favorite event? I’d love to hear your overall thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or even an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email: