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Bernie L Dahl FASLA

Area of Expertise: Landscape Architecture

Teaching Responsibilities

  • LA 346, Site Systems II
  • LA 426, Capstone Course in Landscape Architecture


Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA)

Iowa State University Landscape Architecture 1972

Master of Science - Natural Rescources

Purdue University 1974

Professional Memberships and Registration

American Society of Landscape Architects

Chair, Reclamation Professional Interest Group

Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture
Sigma Lambda Alpha, Honorary Society for Landscape Architects

Alpha Chapter (National), member-at-large, President 2002 to 2004
Xi Chapter (Purdue) Charter member and faculty advisor

Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association

Associate member
Member, Technical Advisory Committee

Clearing Institute, board member
Indiana Urban Forest Council

Founding board member President 1994 to 1995

Registered Landscape Architect, State of Indiana

Professional Practice

  • Dahl & Associates, principal consulting landscape architect
  • Ecologistics Limited, senior associate


Contributions in course and curriculum development - Professor Dahl has been a leader in the development of service learning courses. He teaches his courses using hands-on, real world projects that result in meaningful design assistance for communities throughout Indiana. The communities support the service learning approach through grants to Professor Dahl and in turn receive his students' ideas and strategies that help them move forward. Dahl's instructional approach includes grantsmanship. His students apply their new grant writing skills to assist the communities in procuring funds for public works. Dahl's students have won several national design awards for the reclamation of mined land. These service learning projects help adjacent communities visualize possible futures for disturbed land. Professor Dahl's emphasis on environmentally sensitive design is well recognized by his students and peers.

LA 101 - Survey of Landscape Architecture (3 credits, fall semester). This course is an overview of the profession and Purdue's curriculum in landscape architecture. All of the faculty are invited guest speakers in the class. They each talk about themselves, the courses they teach and their other interests and activities.

LA 346 - Site Systems II (3 credits, fall semester). This course deals with layout, grading and drainage. Site systems are approached from a holistic perspective. Grading and drainage starts with precipitation, runoff and soil characteristics. Students are taught to understand why they are expected to design drainage systems. This course also covers erosion, watershed management and irrigation, and also explores the production of detailed drawings for the construction of landscape elements.

LA 516 - Regional Design (5 credits, spring semester). This class focuses on issues of regional scale, from a single community to several counties or an entire watershed. Work with river corridors, trails and greenways is highlighted in this class. Mined land reclamation, rural preservation and scenic byway projects are also conducted. Regional scale thinking is emphasized. The recognition of regional resources as determinants of regional design form is stressed. The focus is on regional design, not regional planning. The students are introduced to the role of governmental agencies and national nonprofits.

Design Awards

In the past eight years, Professor Dahl has guided his students in the development of award winning designs in mined land reclamation. He instructs his students in LA 516 in the preparation of mined land reclamation proposals that are entered in the National Student Design Competition for Aggregate Operations. The competition is sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association with students from all seventy-five U.S. graduate and undergraduate programs in Landscape Architecture invited to participate. The competition was established twenty-five years ago to foster the creative exploration of concurrent reclamation and post-mining land development ideas. The mining industries and adjacent communities all benefit from the student plans that show a conversion of a liability into a community asset.

Professor Dahl conducts the semester-long projects in accordance with the competition guidelines. His many contacts with mine owners and operators allow him to match students with challenging projects. Dahl arranges site visits with the students where they learn about the mining operation and the nearby community and discuss possible land uses with mining personnel and community residents and leaders. He also provides the students with research and resource materials to assist them in developing creative yet practical plans for the land. Professor Dahl has used this as a service based learning approach and as an affective tool to provide students with a great sense of accomplishment in the real world.

The following projects are only the competition winners, illustrating the range of design ideas.

Project - Location

Agricultural Research and Training Center , Patriot, Indiana; A regional training facility for juvenile offenders
Sustainable Community, Carmel, Indiana; An urban farm utilizing alternative technologies
Botanical Center, Carmel, Indiana; Demonstration gardens and recreational trails in a deep quarry
Recreational Complex, Sellersburg, Indiana; Camping, hiking and sailing in and around a water-filled quarry
Agricultural Research Center, Patriot, Indiana; Mine reclamation and alternative agriculture test plots
Vineyard/Winery, Delphi, Indiana; Fine wines and fine dining overlooking beautiful quarry waters
Effigy Mounds, Battle Ground, Indiana; A shaped land tribute to the mining process
Residential Development, West Lafayette; Home sites concurrently developed on an active mine
Aquaculture Center, Peru, Indiana; Specialty fish species raised, harvested and served in mid-Indiana
Truck Farm/Market, Noblesville, Indiana; Fresh fruits, vegetables and mushrooms grown on reclaimed land

Creative Endeavor, Research, Scholarship

Professor Dahl's research, scholarship and creative endeavors are integrated with his teaching program. He focuses on the needs of communities and the natural environment. Specifically, he explores the areas of mined land reclamation, trails and greenways, community forestry and rural preservation. Much of his research is done in conjunction with the service learning projects presented to his students and conducted within communities throughout Indiana.

Professor Dahl's scholarship is also integrated into the classroom by presenting grantsmanship from his professional practice to his students. Dahl is one of few landscape architects known regionally for his grantsmanship and nationally for teaching grant writing.

Awards & Honors

(2005) Fellow. American Society of Landscape Architects.

(2004) Mine Reclamation Award. NSSGA/ASLA.

(2008) National River Hero. River Network.

Selected Publications

Dahl, B. (2004). ASLA Annual Meeting.

Dahl, B. (2004). Park Planning Issues, Strategies and Benefits for Aging Adults. Landscape Review, 9 (1), 124-127.

Dahl, B. (2004). Recreation Planning for Aging Adults. 1.

Dahl, B. (2002). ASLA Annual Meeting.

Dahl, B. (2002). Urban Ecological Restoration.

Dahl, B., & Dahl, F. L. (2002). Urban Ecological Restoration. Annual Meeting Proceedings of ASLA.

Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010 USA, (765) 494-1300

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