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NALP goes to Washington

July 19, 2017 -  By

=About 450 members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) visited Washington, D.C., July 16-18 for its annual Legislative Days on the Hill.

The event was a chance for industry members to learn how to become a more effective voice in the legislative and regulatory process and visit with members of Congress.

But first, the event kicked off with the 21st annual Renewal & Remembrance event, where the association performs volunteer landscape work at Arlington National Cemetery. The work, which impacts 257 acres of land at the cemetery, according to the NALP, included applying limestone and phosphorous to turf, aerating turf grass to strengthen its underground root systems, inspecting and installing irrigation systems to optimize watering practices, installing supportive cabling systems to protect trees from lightning and storm damage, and installing pavers for a new plaza area.

“As an association, we are humbled and honored to come together at Arlington National Cemetery to pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP.  

The event was launched by the Presentation of Colors, a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and keynote speeches, including a talk from  Frank Sesno, former anchor, White House Correspondent and talk show host for CNN. 

This year, the association sent a small group of volunteers to do liming and aeration at a second location, the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, more commonly known as the Soldiers’ Home. This is one of the country’s oldest national cemeteries, with more than 14,000 veterans, including those that fought in the Civil War, buried at the cemetery. 

Also this year was the children’s program, where kids ages 3-13 planted flowers and learned about the importance of taking care of nature and honoring America’s veterans.

“We have over 50 children here today,” Henrickson told USA Today. “They’re learning about volunteerism and they’re also learning about those who made sacrifices so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. They’ll be doing a variety of things, such as planting flowers, and they’re learning a lot about the cemetery.”

USA Today covers the story in the video below:

Part two of NALP’s trip to D.C. was Legislative Day on the Hill. NALP members received updates on the latest news and information about industry issues, learned how to become a more effective voice in the legislative and regulatory process and visited with members of Congress.

While on Capitol Hill, landscapers learned that the Department of Homeland Security passed a temporary expansion to the H-2B program. Still, H-2B was a major talking point for industry advocates. On top of a 2017 expansion, H-2B talking points urged for an H-2B cap relief in the Department of Homeland Security appropriations legislation or other appropriate legislation for fiscal year 2018 and for support for the “Save Our Small and Season Businesses Act 2017” or “Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now” act.

Other talking points addressed the EPA, specifically funding of pesticide-related programs. Advocates asked Senate to pass “The Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act” (HR 1029), which was passed by the House on March 20, and to appropriate a minimum of $128 million for the EPA’s Office of Pesticides programs.

NALP also kept members entertained through nightly networking events, such as the “Cocktails for Candidates” party, which featured guest speaker Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and a satirical comedy group.

Overall, the association viewed the event as a success.

“Our members look forward to this opportunity each year to give back to the individuals who made personal sacrifices for their country,” said Sabeena Hickman, CAE, NALP CEO. “We consider it a privilege to be able to volunteer our time and talents to improve the health and beauty of the grounds at Arlington National Cemetery, one of our nation’s most sacred places.”

Photo: National Association of Landscape Professionals

Check out some social media posts from the event:


About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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