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2024 Spring Conference Session Descriptions

Reframing Landscape Architecture

Moira O’Neil, PhD - Senior Vice President - FrameWorks Institute

FrameWorks' presentation will: (1) briefly introduce participants to FrameWorks’ theoretical and methodological approach to framing; (2) highlight key findings related to effectively communicating about landscape architecture; (3) offer suggestions about what frames to use, which to avoid, and why; (4) and will include time for participants to practice using  the research in their own communications. 


Water Harvesting as a Survival Tool

Shawn T. Kelly, PLA, FASLA - Distinguished Teaching Faculty, and Principal - DPLA at UW Madison and Kelly Design Group, LLC

A quick reminder of the basics of stormwater management, review of current software and issues germane to same, evaluation of the affects of climate change, and discussion about elements and approaches we can use to turn the threat into opportunities.


Metcalfe Playfield - Equity Through Process

Monica Chadha, AIA, LEED AP - Founder - Civic Projects Architecture

Lucas Geiger, PLA, ASLA - Landscape Architect - MSA

Adam Scott, PLA, ASLA - Landscape Architect - SWA Group

Pamela W. Zimmerman, PLA, FASLA - Design and Development Specialist, Landscape Architect - Milwaukee Recreation 

Melody McCurtis - Deputy Director and Lead Organizer - Metcalfe Park Community Bridges 

Using the Metcalfe Park Playfield project as a case study, this course underscores open space equity in practice via organizing, planning, engagement, and design. It covers Metcalfe Park Community Bridges local community-based work, MKE REC's Playfield initiative, and the design and engagement process for the project. The course emphasizes the intersecting efforts of many entities and stakeholders that create and reinforce equity driven, community centric projects. 


A Woman’s Journey as a Traveling Landscape Architect

Deepika Amonkar, B Arch, MLA - Landscape Architect

In this presentation, I will draw on my international experiences to highlight the similarities and differences in landscape architecture practices from different regions of the world. I will foreground the opportunities and challenges that I have faced as a female landscape architect in a predominantly male-dominated construction industry. By doing so, I aim to build conversations about how to move beyond questions of identity and intersectionality to achieve professional success. 


Implementing Strategies to Enhance the Perception of our Profession

Sarah McDonald, PLA, ASLA - Senior Landscape Architect, Urban Planner - Stantec

Tom Mortensen, PLA, ASLA - Site Planner, Landscape Architect, Senior Project Manager - RASmith

Eric Schuchardt, PLA, ASLA - Chair - Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Program at UW-Madison, Principal - POPLAND Studio

Stephanie Wilson, PLA, ASLA - Landscape Architect - Milwaukee Recreation 

Building upon what we heard in the FrameWorks Institute Session - An engaging session on how we as landscape architects can reshape the perceptions and the value of our profession among the public, politicians, and allied professions.


Milwaukee County Parks Equity Index

Sarah Toomsen, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP - Principal Landscape Architect, Assistant Director of Planning - Milwaukee County Parks

Details the creation and application of a Parks Equity index that focuses on the needs of residents in park service areas. This effort was developed in support of Milwaukee County's goal of achieving racial equity by becoming the healthiest county in the state. The Equity Index is a decisionmaking tool that can be used to help evaluate both large- and small-scale decisions that are a part of daily work, and can be expressed both through a database as well as spatially.


Sacred Soil Sustained - The Ridges Plan Big, Tread Lightly (Panel)

Gregg Calpino, ASLA - Principal - SmithGroup, Inc

Katie Krouse - Executive Director - The Ridges Sanctuary

Andy Gill - Assistant Director - The Ridges Sanctuary


In 1941, just four years after the formation of the organization, Jens Jensen wrote to approximately 200 members, “The Ridges Sanctuary is passing through its first crisis, that of making its true purpose understood.” In 2022, The Ridges Sanctuary began the first comprehensive master plan in its 85-year history to explore that very same question– what is the purpose of The Ridges? This session highlights this planning process, its outcomes, and the inspiring path ahead.


Tough Native Plants for Urban Environments

Danielle Bell - Ecologist & Designer - Native Roots LLC

Urban environments pose tough situations for plants to thrive in. Not all native plants are adapted for these conditions but many are. We will discuss tough native species that can thrive in cities to create urban oasis landscapes that support migrating birds and insects. By selecting the right plants, you can create native landscapes that are easy to manage while providing essential habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife that call our cities home. 


Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience

Randy Hill - Director of Sales - David J Frank

Learn to deliver a relationship based sales and customer service process and approach that will generate happier, more fulfilled clients and a more successful you. You will leave this session with applicable strategies and action items that encourage healthy client relationships and referral based repeat business. 


Changing Ecology of the Workplace

Jerek Boss, FASLA - Partner - OJB

Magnified by the events of the pandemic, the 21st century workplace is transforming to accommodate a diversity of work styles and employee amenities. Connecting to nature is a catalyst for better health and efficiency, and access to outdoor spaces has beneficial effects on workers’ happiness and well-being. We seek ways to enhance employees’ ability to connect and excel, with integrated networks of amenity, work, collaboration spaces. Our goal is to improve the health and well-being of people. 


Designing and Implementing Successful Community Engagement

Kimberly J. Payne - Founder and Owner - Payne Consulting

Through engaging discussions, interactive activities, and real life scenarios, course participants will learn:

  • The history and purpose of community engagement.

  • Community engagement barriers, with an emphasis on historically marginalized community members.

  • Drivers and barriers to participation in community engagement activities.

  • Community engagement formats.

  • Best practices for designing and implementing successful community engagement activities.


Ethical Challenges and Decision-Making Strategies for Landscape Architects

Laura Grossenbacher, PhD - Engineering Ethics Workshop Developer and Facilitator - University of Wisconsin, Madison, College of Engineering

This session provides an overview of the value and the limits of professional codes of ethics, with an emphasis on the biases and ambiguities that can render codes somewhat powerless in real workplace settings.   Problems with simply following intuition will also be explored.  A decision-making strategy grounded in questions derived from philosophy will be introduced as a tool to avoid common biases and partiality, with application to a few complex landscape architecture cases.


Transforming Campus Landscapes Through Selective Custom Detailing (Optional Tour)

Abbie Moilien, ASLA, PLA - Vice President - Saiki Design

Jeff Gramling - Technical Advisor and Sales Representative - Wausau Tile

UW-Milwaukee completed a new building project to serve as a gateway to the STEM learning and practice area of campus growth.  Saiki Design was tasked with leading a site design process and crafting a design response reflective of the building's mission as an innovation center.  Presenters will provide an overview of the design challenges associated with the project and explore specifically the custom detailing, coordination, and communication associated with integrating unique precast features.

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