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API Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Rishi Bhargava, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict

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ASLA Launches New Online Animation: “Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife”

Transforming residential properties into real wildlife habitats is the focus of a new animation launched by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The animation—“Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife”—shows how native plants and designed structures provide what nature needs.

Wildlife habitat can be destroyed by development, farms, or mines; or degraded by invasive species, climate change, or pollution so it no longer supports native wildlife. The animation shows that habitat loss, and the corresponding loss of biodiversity, doesn’t have to continue. Starting with homeowners’ properties, fragmented habitats can be rewoven together, creating neighborhoods that are not only healthier for wildlife but also for people. Many residential landscape architects are also helping to stem the losses by creating beautiful neighborhoods that provide habitat for many species.

“We have all heard that ecosystem function must be restored to urban landscapes if humans and the life around them are to be sustained in the future. Using beautiful 3-D animations, ‘Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife’ delivers this message in the most powerful and convincing way I have seen,” said Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, professor and chair of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware, and an expert advisor on the animation. “We can share our yards with the species that support us and ‘Designing Neighborhoods’ shows us how. May it go viral!”

The animation is part of ASLA’s Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes site. Made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, the site offers 30 case studies in easily understood terms that demonstrate how landscape architects beautify our world while also protecting and working with nature. It also includes ten animations—developed by ASLA with author and Google SketchUp expert Daniel Tal, ASLA—that show sustainable landscape design in action.

The free site also provides many educational resource guides aimed at K-12 students. Topics include recycling, outdoor recreation, transportation, and more. The guides provide hundreds of vetted games, videos, classroom activities, and curriculum organized by age groups (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12).

About the American Society of Landscape Architects

Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing nearly 16,000 members in 49 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at www.asla.org.

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