Passing the Baton

by   Amelia Lima  , FAPLD Amelia B. Lima & Associates, Inc., Del Mar, CA APLD San Diego District

by Amelia Lima, FAPLD
Amelia B. Lima & Associates, Inc., Del Mar, CA
APLD San Diego District

 As I prepare to pass the APLD Advocacy baton to next year’s chairs, I would like to invite each one of you to take a trip down memory lane and remember some special times and people.

For the last two years, I have served as the Advocacy Chair for both the California Chapter and the San Diego District. It has been a wonderful experience and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented people.

We all have our own motivations that propel us toward getting involved. The right to practice landscape design beside my fellow designers in the State of California is a passion of mine. I feel very strongly about the need to have educated professional designers working with homeowners to show them the benefits that come from creating gardens following the principles of the Watershed approach. Gardens that are appropriate for our climate and give us a sense of place.

When I first got involved with advocacy I thought that in order to advocate for APLD, I would need to learn to speak a special language to be able to talk to elected officials. I know now that every time each one of us talks to our clients, sponsors, contractors, and elected officials, we are advocating for our profession and setting ourselves as experts in our field of landscape design in California. As APLD members stand behind the Watershed approach, APLD creates an army of people that speak the same language and advocate for the same principles, and that is extremely powerful.

Every time I prepared myself to meet with elected officials or their aides, I found it helpful to bring pictures of some of my projects. Images of dry creek beds, rain chains, or a garden bed filled with drought-tolerant plants were easy ways to make people visualize that what I was talking about was not complicated and can be incorporated in all size projects. It is a fantastic ice breaker and it makes our job of educating people much easier.

As the APLD California Chapter president in 2014, I organized the first Advocacy board meeting that took place at the Town Crown Plaza Hotel in Sacramento. Cheryl Buckwalter, our Legislative Officer at the time, was instrumental in helping me set up the meeting. It was a huge undertake and we both felt proud of what we accomplished.

Stephanie Landregan, FASLA, was invited to speak to the group about ways we can affect legislation. She educated our members that, as private citizens, they can influence the policies by making their voices heard by elected officials.

We organized several meetings between our members and legislative aides. It was the first time landscape designers had the opportunity to talk to elected officials about the work we do, and to bring their attention to the Watershed approach to gardens. For myself, it was when I understood that regulation is where democracy happens.

Pamela Berstler was the advocacy chair before me and I still remember going to my first LATC meeting with her. I learned a lot from Pamela on how to think strategically to be able to choose a position for the organization.

I have also had the great fortune of working with Maureen Decombe. Maureen was the Sustainability Chair for the Chapter. During my tenure we decided, early on, to work together.

Maureen has a way with words and is able to read, understand, and analyze legislation like no one else that I know.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Cheryl Buckwalter and Robin Salsburg to the position of Advocacy/Sustainability Chair 2019. They will co-chair the position and work to complement each other. I know I am leaving the baton on very capable hands, and 2019 promises to be another important year for APLD California.

It is crucial to realize that none of us operate in a vacuum; we all follow those that came before us, like a series of links in a chain, but each one of us has our own style and set of talents and that will be reflected on the work we do for APLD.

It has been my great pleasure to volunteer for APLD California in the role as your Advocacy Chair, and I look forward to continuing being involved with our wonderful California Chapter.