Leaf Litter

Non-Profit Spotlight

Leaf Litter’s Partnership Spotlight is shining brightly on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES).

By Amy Nelson

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Created through the partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden and an extraordinary cadre of individual volunteers, SITES is a voluntary program that will help quantify and qualify the sustainability of landscape design, construction and maintenance. Based on the foundation of ecosystem services, SITES credits encourage the preservation and restoration of healthy ecosystems and communities. Will SITES help improve the understanding and advancement of urban ecology? We think so.

“We anticipate that SITES will do for the landscape what LEED has already done for buildings,” said Steve Windhager, Director of the Sustainable Sites Initiative. “It provides clear guidelines and incentives for achieving landscapes that provide critical ecosystem services.”

The Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks was released in the fall of 2009 and is available as a free download along with the companion document The Case for Sustainable Landscapes. Coinciding with the release was a call for pilot projects, to test the program while pursuing certification. The call resulted in 345 project applications from all over the U.S. as well as a few international projects. Beginning in May, pilot projects selected will begin the two-year process of testing the guidelines and supplying feedback to improve the program.

For more information on SITES, including case studies and upcoming lectures visit the SITES website. Start using and testing the program on your own projects today to help regenerate urban ecology and community!

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