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Check Out Sara Poetting Alexandra Mei’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Poetting and Alexandra Mei, President and President Elect of the St. Louis ASLA Chapter.

Hi Sara and Alexandra, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers about your work with the chapter.
The St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (STL ASLA) represents landscape architects from the greater St. Louis area. Landscape architects work on many projects to design spaces that improve human and environmental health. You likely use spaces designed by a landscape architect every Day, including parks, streetscapes, trails, urban design, and more. Our chapter promotes the landscape architecture profession’s development, education, and awareness.

Locally, we have several initiatives that connect our members with the larger Missouri community. These personal connections help ensure that landscape architects retain their right to practice in Missouri and highlight the importance of landscape architects in issues regarding transportation, affordable housing, stormwater management, and resilient climate design. Every year we participate in ASLA Advocacy Day to educate local legislators in Jefferson City about landscape architecture and the local projects in their districts. The chapter is working hard to share information with young students to help diversify and increase awareness about the profession. We also focus on connecting with emerging professionals in the St. Louis community. For example, we recently hosted a lunch with U-City High School students to introduce them to the landscape architecture field. In addition to our K-12 outreach, we often partner with Washington University students to provide educational and mentorship opportunities. This is a great way for our chapter members to connect. And share their experiences with local university students also for students to share their goals for the profession.

Other events the chapter hosts include our annual Park(ing) Day, where we join the worldwide effort to repurpose a street parking space for pedestrian use temporarily. Last year our parklet was located in the Grove, and we partnered with Rise Coffee to bring awareness to how our cities could be designed to focus on people rather than vehicles.

We also partner with local businesses to do continuing education courses for our members. We recently went on a tour of Pea Ridge Forest Nursery, learning about what plants do best in Missouri, best practices for specification writing, and what new plants are available.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
More often than not, we hear “I didn’t know that was a thing!” when describing landscape architecture. People are familiar with the work architects do but don’t think about the design of outdoor infrastructure. As landscape architects, we use art and design, combined with science and mathematics, to design beautiful spaces that serve our clients’ needs and function well. Landscape architects are uniquely positioned to design spaces that address important issues like environmental justice, climate change, and public safety. We work very hard to promote our profession through community outreach and advocacy so that we can increase awareness of the field. As a chapter, we want to share these efforts and invite more people to join the profession.

 Alright, so to wrap up, can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Sara Poetting is the St. Louis ASLA Chapter President and a licensed landscape architect working at RDG Planning & Design in Maplewood. She moved to St. Louis in 2018 from Des Moines, Iowa, and joined the St. Louis ASLA chapter immediately to connect to local landscape architects. She’s been an active participant in the chapter since then and began her term as chapter president in the fall of 2020.

Alexandra Mei is the St. Louis ASLA Chapter President-Elect. She is a licensed landscape architect and Associate at Merritt Chase, a landscape architecture firm based in the Midwest. Alexandra teaches in the Landscape Architecture Department at Washington University in St. Louis. She first got involved with the National ASLA organization through their Women in Landscape Architecture network and connected with the St. Louis Chapter through their Emerging Professionals Scholarship. She began her term as President-Elect in the fall of 2021.

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