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ELA Changes Name: Continues to Work Toward Core Mission and Expands Collaboration

by Trevor Smith

For over 20 years, ELA has grown and changed, adding to its educational events and appealing to an ever broader audience that shares an interest in ecological land care. Today I am pleased to announce a name change that we believe more accurately reflects the ELA’s expanded role in the landscape community: Ecological Landscape Alliance.

ELA_logo_green_background_circle.160The change was the result of much research and contemplation on the part of our board and our members. Over the last few years, it became clear that ELA was bigger than its name, and that some confused ELA with a trade association with little relevance to the larger landscape community. We then held multiple board meetings to explore alternatives, conducted a one-month member comment period, and asked our membership to vote on the change. The name change was approved on October 15, 2013 with over 94% of our voting members approving the new name. We are thrilled that members overwhelmingly feel this new name better represents the many groups that come together within the ELA community.

The ELA will preserve its established and recognized acronym and the new name has been added to the existing ELA logo.

The new name will bolster ELA’s mission to build alliances among organizations with similar goals. We look forward to 2014 and beyond, as the Ecological Landscape Alliance continues to expanding educational collaborations, increase program offerings, and address the needs of individuals from many different professions.

Here are just a few of the initiatives we look forward to in 2014:

  • ELA will continue to offer an array of educational programs including:
    • Eco-tours that demonstrate successful implementation of ecological landscape projects
    • Roundtable discussions that delve into current ecological topics
    • The Season’s End Summit that offers a full day of focused education
  • The ELA Conference & Eco-Marketplace offers exploration of far-ranging educational topics alongside exhibitors with information and products that support ecological landscapes.
    • ELA is excited to begin simulcast presentations of this conference and future lectures to regional locations outside of New England.  We’ll keep you updated!
  • We are pleased to announce the first annual Large-Scale Landscape Symposium in partnership with Wellesley College. Join us on January 16, 2014 as we begin a dialogue with colleges, parks departments, botanical gardens, land trusts, cemeteries, and golf course managers.
  • Hopefully many of you have had a chance to take part in ELA’s webinar series, A Focus on Sustainability. Additional webinars are scheduled, and the ELA website has links to recordings of previously presented webinars.
  • In August of 2013, ELA began giving back to its community with the first annual community action project at Dartmouth Green in Boston. We’re proud that our membership contributed consultation and volunteer labor and excited for our 2014 collaboration with the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance.
  • ELA is building upon our relationship with the Environmental Protection Agency as they expand their “Soak Up the Rain” campaign. We will continue to collaborate with the EPA and to share exhibitor presence at the Boston Flower & Garden Show.

In the coming months ELA will continue to grow into its new name. As the Ecological Landscape Alliance, we’ll be looking at even more collaborations: developing an annual Meadows Seminar at Duke Farms in New Jersey; continuing to work with ASLA as a SITES Initiative Participating Organization; co-sponsoring educational programs with New England Wild Flower Society; promoting the use of environmentally conscious landscape equipment with QuietLincoln, and developing regional eco-tours in the New York City area with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

And these projects are just the tip of the iceberg. ELA has an informed and dedicated following that shares a commitment to improving landscapes large and small. With your help, the Ecological Landscape Alliance will continue to fulfill a commitment to education that encourages the promotion of and respect for natural ecosystems.