Asla shows landscaping, its report are 'Sustainable'

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) partnered with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and US Botanic Garden to create the US' first national rating system for sustainable landscapes, the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) partnered with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and US Botanic Garden to create the US' first national rating system for sustainable landscapes, the Sustainable Sites Initiative. After the initial report launch, the groups saw a challenge in getting buzz and participation in its second report. The team embarked on a push to generate interest from the landscape community, consumers, and media.

Strategy
The team decided to take a two-pronged approach to reach a multitude of audiences, says Jim Lapides, manager of PR at ASLA. First, it was important to educate the audiences about sustainability benefits, and then drive interest within the industry and public to have a demand for the rating system. For the industry, the team took a technical approach, and for the public it spoke on a broader level, adds Nancy Somerville, CEO of ASLA.

Tactics
The team conducted a public opinion survey prior to the effort, discovering that most consumers are not aware of sustainability in landscaping, Somerville says. It decided to launch the report at a sneak preview press event at the ASLA annual meeting with target industry and architecture writers, as well as various organizations and federal agencies.

It also utilized its members by creating a grassroots network and giving them messaging to pass along to their constituents and media contacts. “This has really enabled us to reach a... broader audience,” Somerville says. Lapides adds that with the network, the message was spread to Facebook and LinkedIn.

Results
So far, 18 organizations have signed up to participate, and the group saw more than 20,000 visits to the Web site, with more than 15,000 viewing the report itself.

Future
The final report comes out this fall, so Lapides says the group will focus on educational outreach.

PR Team: American Society of Landscape Architects (Washington, DC), Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (Austin, TX), and US Botanic Garden (Washington, DC)

Campaign: Sustainable Sites

Duration: September 2008-January 2009

Budget: $20,000

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