Stewardship News | Volume 16, Issue 2 | Summer 2013

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StewardshipNews Audubon International’s

Volume 16, Issue 2

Recycling Soap to Save Lives | 16

Summer 2013

Biking on Hilton Head Island | 20

Landscape Smart to Save Water | 14


Years of Signature 1

Message from the CEO: The Challenges are Real and so too are the Opportunities Although respected financial analysts, the news media, and many government officials seem to be generally reporting with greater frequency that our economic climate is improving, there is no question that we continue to face challenging economic conditions both domestically and abroad. Tighter budgets. Smaller company workforces that face growing demands. If we leapt ahead 20 or more years, I think it’s possible that pundits and academics might refer to the recent times we’ve been confronting as the “doing more with less” era. An era that saw organizations succeed because they found ways to be a little more “lean and mean” while fostering successful innovation, which cannot happen if an organization is so risk averse that it’s unwilling to implement new — and, at times, bold — approaches that represent a departure from convention. Ironically, strict adherence to convention and reluctance to employ new practices is so often part of what gets us in trouble in the first place. Audubon International is a unique environmental organization with a history of finding opportunity in challenge. Today is no exception. We work with myriad stakeholders from all sectors to provide education and demonstrate how proactive planning, long-term strategic thinking, and incentive-based environmental protection go hand-in-hand. We help connect people with the natural world in their own backyards, places of work, recreation spots, communities, and travel destinations. Part of this involves tying in the work being done through our award-winning facility- and community-scale environmental certification programs with appropriate regional initiatives. Audubon International’s work helps increase the capacity of facilities and communities to affect the sort of significant change needed to address pressing environmental problems, such as declining biodiversity, habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species proliferation, water quality and quantity issues, global climate change, and nature deficit disorder (See Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods). Likewise, organizations and communities that join us in these efforts obtain a number of significant, tangible socioeconomic benefits. When I was interviewed for the May issue of Golf Course Industry Magazine, I was asked to sum up my initial experience with Audubon International Cover photo: Venetian Golf & River Club, North Venice, Florida


in one word. I chose energizing, but had I been afforded a second word it would have been humbling. It is an enormous privilege to serve as President & CEO of an organization that not only tackles important environmental issues across the globe, but Ryan with Fernando Calderon of Calderon does so in a manner Green Consulting at the Executive Symposium that aligns sustainability for Innovators in Coastal Tourism in Los Cabos, with the socioeconomic Mexico in May 2013 goals and values of our members. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by a dedicated and talented team of staff members that possesses the technical knowledge, breadth of experience, and passion necessary to effectively work with diverse partners in furtherance of the organization’s mission. Like most organizations, Audubon International was not insulated from the recent economic downturn. We felt the effects and had to make adjustments to our programs and other aspects of our business operations as a result. However, because we are an education-focused organization that promotes teamwork and encourages innovative thinking, we asked ourselves key questions (oftentimes these were tough questions as well), learned important lessons, and identified areas where adjustments were necessary. Where there were imminent challenges, we saw opportunity for long-term growth and improvement. We were and continue to be made stronger because of it. Audubon International is excited about the future and the opportunity to continue working closely with our members to help them develop new ideas and solutions that deliver sustainable results and subsequently positively impact our natural environment and the member’s bottom line. If we are already working with you, we look forward to building on that relationship. If we are not yet working with you, well, we look forward to your call! Warm regards,

Ryan J. Aylesworth, President & CEO


Ryan Aylesworth PRESIDENT & CEO

Jennifer Batza



Stewardship News Volume 16, Issue 2 Summer 2013

Katie Hopkins



Joellen Lampman


Joe Madeira


Joanna Nadeau


Fred Realbuto


Paula Realbuto


Nancy Richardson


120 Defreest Drive Troy, New York 12180 518-767-9051

You can reach our staff via email using each person’s first name followed by

Announcements | 4 Read what we have been up to

Stream Monitoring | 5 Audubon International helps out in its own community

By Our Powers Combined | 6 Staff member Katie Hopkins talks about her lifelong passion for the environment and the importance of teaching kids environmental stewardship

Featured Photos | 7 Great photos sent in by members

20 Years of Signature | 8 Audubon International celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Signature Program

Landscape Smart | 14 How little changes can save a lot of water

The Soap Solution | 16 Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program partners with Clean the World to protect the environment and save lives

Shifting Gears | 20 Hilton Head Island embraces bicycles

Sponsor Spotlight: Center for Sustainable Travel | 22 Audubon International welcomes a new sponsor


Announcements Here are some of the things we have going on: Joseph Madeira Joins the Staff

Audubon International welcomes Joseph Madeira to the role of Associate Director of Advancement. In this newly-created position, Joe will take a lead in fundraising efforts and membership development. Prior to joining the Audubon International team, Joe served as the Executive Director for The Southern Vermont Arts Center. He has also held positions with the Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Joe can be reached at

Audubon International to Work with Give Kids the World

Audubon International is proud to announce it will be working with Give Kids the World (GKTW) Village through its Green Lodging Program. GKTW Village is a resort in Orlando, Florida that provides magical, funfilled vacations for kids with terminal illnesses and their families. Audubon International will be volunteering its time and resources at no cost to GKTW to help make the resort even more eco-friendly and to help it reach certification through Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program.

Volunteer at Audubon International

Audubon International is pleased to announce internship and volunteer opportunities available with the organization. Check out our new Employment, Internship, and Volunteer Opportunities page on our website which lists current openings, including Natural Resource Inventory Interns and Archivist Volunteers.


Seventeen ACSP Golf Courses Named in Top 100 List

Golf Course Architecture recently released the Architects’ Choice Top 100 Golf Courses, which lists their top ranking golf courses from around the world. Seventeen of these courses are certified members of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, including Pebble Beach Golf Links, ranked #9, and Pine Valley Golf Club, ranked #3. Check out the full list by clicking on the icon.

Send in Your Photos

Audubon International is always looking for great photos from our members to use in Stewardship News and other publications. If you have photos of your property or facility you are happy to share, please send them along with a photo caption to

Two More “Live Green!” Events

Audubon International has been partnering with Toro and The First Tee to host events for kids geared at environmental education and golf course improvement. Check out our photos of recent events on Facebook. We have two more events yet this season in Shelby, NC and Philadelphia, PA.

We’ve been busy! Certification requests have been flooding in at Audubon International. While we love that so many members are working hard to achieve certification, it means our dedicated staff is putting in quite a few hours to complete the requests. Thank you for your patience as we review your materials.

Stream Monitoring Audubon International Helps Out in its Own Community Fred Realbuto


t’s not often that industry, a nonprofit organization, and a high school can come together and forge a relationship of perfect harmony, but such was the case 11 years ago when Audubon International, RavenaCoeymans-Selkirk High School, and a local industry leader all joined together on a project that would benefit the environment, provide a unique educational opportunity to high school students, and help a local industry give back to its community.

Photo: Fred Realbuto

In the summer of 2002, Audubon International approached the local industry leader about sponsoring a stream monitoring program with the local high school. They enthusiastically agreed to fund the program to monitor the condition of a sensitive local stream in Albany County, New York. The Onesquethaw-Coeymans A group of students from the 2013 high school class was and is a unique watershed. It is comprised of two distinct creeks with divergent makeup and impacts. While one side is almost exclusively impacted by agriculture, the other is almost exclusively impacted by industry.

Photo: Fred Realbuto

The two creeks converge and become one known as Coeymans Creek. It is at this convergence where the stream monitoring takes place. Every other Wednesday for the entire school year, students from the high school meet at this convergence to study each creek separately and then the convergence itself. For the last 11 years, they have been sampling the creeks for pH, oxygen reduction potential, conductivity, nitrogen, phosphates, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. The students record their findings and then create a hypothesis and either prove or disprove that hypothesis in the form of a live presentation to the local school board and the members of the industrial facility. Students receive college credit while still in high school based on the caliber of their performance, participation, and presentation.

A student conducts stream monitoring

This program has become so well established at the high school that it is now a regular part of the curriculum and participation on the monitoring team is considered an honor. Audubon International is proud to have been the facilitator of this partnership between education and industry for the betterment of the environment. Audubon International lauds the local industry leader for their continued support and the high school for the continuance of a program that has generated extremely valuable data regarding this sensitive water body and provided hands-on science experience for the next generation of scientists.


From Our


By Our Powers Combined Staff member Katie Hopkins talks about her lifelong passion for the environment and the importance of teaching kids environmental stewardship


y fascination with the natural world and dedication to protecting the environment began at a pretty young age. I spent countless hours outdoors digging in the dirt, watching animals construct nests, drawing pictures of the plants I found, and gobbling up information in as many books as the library let me take home. My sense of appreciation and wonder was fostered by my parents who took our family camping and hiking on a regular basis along with visits to science museums and trips out to places such as the Badlands and Yellowstone. Rather than the princess décor found in so many little girls’ bedrooms, I decorated my bedroom with a Native American theme. I envied the way their ancient cultures appeared to be seamlessly integrated into their environments. The first time I remember realizing that humans were damaging the environment is when I sat down 20 years ago to watch the show “Captain Planet and the Planeteers”, a popular cartoon in the 1990s. The show features five young people from around the world who help our hero Captain Planet stop villains from such activities as deforestation and polluting. One of its central messages is that everyone needs to work together to reverse the destruction, and that all of our efforts, no matter how little, add up to one big effort. The show had a huge influence on me and many other people of my generation, and my regard for the environment became more than a fascination and appreciation; it became a mission. The theme song of the show contains the line: “We’re the Planeteers, and you can be one too. ‘Cause


Katie at Iguazu Falls in Argentina in 2011

saving our planet is the thing to do.” I took that line quite literally and started The Planeteer Club. Over the span of several years, I recruited my sister and a variety of neighbor kids and cousins to don our homemade shirts and pick up litter, research ways to be more environmentally-friendly, and write to environmental organizations. I will never forget the time a letter arrived from a big organization containing advice on projects I can do with my club and a personal note telling me to keep up the good work. That kind of validation and encouragement is very important to a kid. As I grew older, I gained other interests and our club eventually stopped meeting. While I was exploring my other passions and career options, I never lost the environmental ethic my childhood had instilled in me. Habits such as avoiding disposable things when possible, always recycling, and never littering were ingrained in my way of thinking, so choosing more convenient ways was not even an option. In my early 20s I caught the travel bug and began to embrace every opportunity I could find to travel abroad. In addition to the innumerable benefits experiencing another country brings to a person, I also became familiar with how people are using environmentally-friendly solutions as an economic advantage. In Panama I took a boat to visit a village of the Embera people. These natives are

located in a protected forest and therefore cannot hunt or farm. Facing the possibility of having to move to a city and lose their way of life, they established their village as an eco-tourism destination, sharing their culture with others and bringing in much needed income. I realized that protecting the environment can make it an economic asset. At the time I was working for a travel agency, but the more I saw this type of enterprise in my travels, the more I knew that it was time to steer my career back toward my childhood ambitions. I enrolled at Indiana University and started working toward my MPA in Sustainable Development and Nonprofit Management. One morning I was making my morning cup of green tea, and I noticed the tree frog printed on the packet. It was the certification seal of The Rainforest Alliance, and I had one of the major “aha” moments of life. It dawned on me what an important tool

I never lost the environmental ethic my childhood had instilled in me.

Featured Phot s

o ot er h P n y in a D tW s h t r nte a E o C

Terry Stratton, Little River Inn Golf Course Children and adults gathered on Earth Day at this Northern California golf course to learn about bats and to build nursery bat boxes. Pictured here, Corky Quirk of NorCal Bats shows a bat to the curious participants and explains their positive contributions.

certification programs can be for protecting the environment and for giving consumers the power to influence change with their dollars. Because of my strong belief in the power of this method, working for Audubon International has been a perfect fit for me. Every day I see examples from our members about how working with us has helped them reduce their environmental impact while increasing their profits and attracting eco-conscious consumers. It perfectly embodies the “win-win” factor of sustainable development that gets me so excited, and I owe that excitement to the influences of my childhood. If we want to create a culture where the protection of our wildlife and natural resources has greater economic value than the alternative, then we must work to instill that environmental ethic at a young age. And only then, “by our powers combined” will we be able to create a truly sustainable world.

Brent Smith, The Golf Club at Newcastle A blacktail buck wanders through the native grass at the 17th tee at the Coal Creek Golf Course with the city of Seattle as the backdrop.



Years of Signature

Audubon International Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The Signature Program Nancy Richardson


The Birth of the Signature Program It seems like it was only a couple of years ago that I was writing about our celebration of 10 years of Signature Program success. Now here we are, 10 years later, celebrating even more successes despite the 2008 economic crash, the worst since the Great Depression.

Photo: Old Collier Golf Club

Now 20 years into the program, we have registered 243 development projects and nearly 100 of those projects are certified. Signature projects currently range in size from a 2.47 acre marina/retail facility to over 2000 acres in a master planned community. This list includes such projects as a private college preparatory school campus, hospice facility, hospital, and church campus, as well as golf and golf resort/communities. Although over our 20 years we have expanded our membership to these other land uses, at our start we worked with new golf course projects.

minimize and appropriately manage waste, utilize innovative technologies whenever possible, and provide documentation of short and long-term environmental monitoring.

The Challenges When Audubon International first created the Signature Program, we faced seemingly insurmountable challenges. We encountered substantial resistance from developers and no small amount of backlash from other environmental organizations. The developers’ distrust of environmental organizations was based on a long history of adversarial experiences with developers on one side and environmentalists on the other.

This was especially true with golf course development. The general consensus among preservation groups was that golf courses could not make any positive contributions to the environment and that, in general, After a brief piloting phase in 1992, the all development is bad. Therefore, Signature Program was launched the first and most critical hurdle “We cannot publicly in January 1993. It was to overcome was to establish a designed to chart a new era in emphasize enough positive relationship and a level the siting, design, construction, the value of of mutual trust between ‘us’ (an and management of new establishing a proenvironmental organization) developments with an emphasis and ‘them’ (the developers). active, problemon both the landscape as well Fundamental to this relationship as the built structure. Sites that solving approach to is that a developer is committed to achieve designation as Certified land use issues.” go beyond regulatory requirements. Audubon Signature Sanctuaries We are committed to educate and demonstrate that enhancing and assist the developer through a dynamic protecting the environment has process, and the developer is subsequently economic, aesthetic, and community recognized for making environmentally benefits. and socially responsible decisions. Convincing The Signature Program also strives to employ developers that this concept could work was as new ways to promote sustainability, such as site challenging as convincing other environmentalists preservation, green building techniques, and that it was critical to do so. incentive programs for contractors, trades and construction teams involved in building these Lessons Learned projects. The Signature Program is rooted in the A major component of the Signature Program is concept that use of nature resources must be more education. Our educational efforts through the sustainable, the lack of which has contributed to Signature Program involve a diverse group of our current climate change challenge. people who work on a variety of stages of each The most important component of the program project. Along this path of education, we have is a focus on ecological soundness in the design, learned many lessons, a few of which follow: development and management of a project. 1. Partnerships | Through the Signature Program, Members are required to submit a comprehensive, we create cooperative partnerships with developers detailed, and site specific Natural Resource and landowners and those with whom they Management Plan (NRMP). The plan requires work. We have learned a great deal about how detailed strategies to protect, conserve, and environmental organizations can interface with enhance wildlife habitat and natural resources:


the development industry. We cannot emphasize enough the value of establishing a pro-active, problem-solving approach to land use issues. 2. Economics | The success of development (sustainable or otherwise) is measured by an economic bottom line. What we have learned, and what we have tried to teach, is that economy and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive. We have learned how to address the financial challenges faced by developers within the context of doing good things for the environment, and that it is less effective, if not impossible, to accomplish sustainable goals from an adversarial posture. 3. Leadership | We have also learned that commitment to sustainable development must be on organizational or business-wide scale. Environmental leadership must be demonstrated, not merely dictated. 4. Voluntary Approach | We also believe that our programmatic approach of creating a dialogue, educating, guiding, and positive reinforcement is more effective than attempting to shape the actions of developers and land managers by appearing before regulatory agencies and imposing restrictions in the form of demands that certain actions should or should not be taken as permit conditions or regulatory compliances. 5. Sharing Knowledge | We have learned that sharing our best management practice philosophy with professionals who understand the vital connection between land use change and its effect on natural resources is very important. We work not only with agencies such as USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,


The World’s First Signature Program Member During those first years, it took courage and insight for the first developers to work with Audubon International. The first project to register in the Signature Program was Collier’s Reserve Country Club (CRCC) in Naples, Florida. Collier Enterprises developed a 448-acre gated community in Southwest Florida’s sandhill area with 228 single family home sites, an 18-hole Art Hills-designed golf course with related practice facilities, tennis courts, boathouse dining facility, clubhouse and pool. The backdrop of Collier’s Reserve property is the Cocohatchee River, one of Collier County’s most scenic natural waterways. The golf maintenance facility was state-of-the-art and built based on the Best Management Practices outlined by the Florida DEP. These guidelines were adopted as Audubon International’s guide for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a golf maintenance facility. The golf staff maintains the buffer between the golf course and the back yard boundary of residents as it is considered preserve area. In January 1994, Collier’s Reserve became the first project in the world to be certified through the Audubon International Signature Program. Tim Hiers, the first golf course superintendent at CRCC, remembers that program process. “Prior to the Signature process at Collier’s Reserve in 1993, I had worked in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for a little over four years. This previous experience had given me keen insights on how to work with Audubon International. They were the first environmental group that actually stood for something instead of being against golf, development, etc. They worked shoulder-toshoulder with our property and course to provide the most sustainable and practical development that had been produced at that time (1994). Their knowledge of common sense techniques and where to focus attention and energy was extremely valuable. This effort culminated in a community

Photo: Old Collier Golf Club

Photo: Audubon International

Nancy with the Portaventura theme park executive staff and golf course architect for the Lumine Golf Club project in Tarragona, Spain

and the U.S. EPA, but with individual consulting firms such as Breedlove, Dennis and Associates, Wilson-Miller, Applied Technology Services, and others. Ideas and strategies are shared with company engineers, hydro-geologists, landscape architects, wildlife biologists, native plant and restoration specialists, and planners. Working with these professionals provides the opportunity to voice opinions and provide input, as well as provide an opportunity to educate companies involved in the actual implementation of land use changes.

over trees and suffocating them. During the vine removal and revegetation process, 27,000 plants (palmettos, Muhly grass, cordgrass) were planted throughout the entire course in the disturbed areas. Although there was concern within the community that vine removal would negatively impact the wildlife habitat permanently, that has not proven to be true.

worth living in and replicating.” And certainly that community has prospered. The residents are proud of their accomplishments and their continued re-certification. Since the 1994 certification, there have been several big changes to CRCC: •

A natural resource group from the community keeps track of the wildlife and plant life and writes about what they see in no fewer than eighty articles available to their residents and guests through the group’s website.

The course was closed May 1, 2003 – November 1, 2003 for renovation by Ryan Golf. Greens were extended back to their size from the original Art Hills’ design. Tifdwarf greens were changed over to Tifeagle and 419 Bermuda Tees were changed out to Sea Isle 2000 paspalum.

In 2003, a vine removal process was implemented consisting of 15 weeks of work and seven laborers going once through the golf course about 10 feet into the interior vegetation to remove vines that were draping

And most recently, with current superintendent Nick von Hofen leading the way, the entire irrigation system was changed out in an effort to take advantage of the allotted effluent water supply rather than using precious surface water. The new system puts water where it is needed, when it was needed, and in the amount needed. They saved over 35 million gallons of surface water during the first year of operation of the new irrigation system.

CRCC continues to look save energy and water through too many projects to mention here. Audubon International looks forward to celebrating in 2014 with CRCC as they become the first Certified Signature Sanctuary certified for 20

Teeto Green at Collier’s Reserve in Naples, Florida


viewing of the Lake Honda area was created with minimal disruption to wildlife providing a 1.3 mile self-guided tour of the Lake Honda restoration project. If you are interested in birding (as well as birdies), this is such a great birding area.

Photo: Stevinson Ranch

The First Signature Member in Texas

Lake Honda at Stevinson Ranch in Stevinson, California


The First Signature Member in California Owner George Kelley of Stevinson Ranch-Savannah Course in Stevinson, California was one of the first supporters of Audubon International’s sustainable development efforts. George’s project contains an 18 hole John Harbottle-designed golf course with a clubhouse, practice range, cottages, conference center, and nature trail set on 996 acres of former rangeland. The site of Stevinson Ranch is unique in that before construction it had essentially never been developed; 82% consisted of uplands, while the remainder was marshes, salt pan, and canals. During the construction of the Savannah Course, not only were 100 acres of wetlands restored, but also 120 acres of new wetlands were created. Stevinson Ranch is located in the Central Valley of California, a region historically known for its wetlands and grasslands that attract thousands of migratory waterfowl and other birds each year. Agriculture within the Central Valley has drastically reduced its once vast wetlands, making those that remain especially vital for birds. Stevinson Ranch sits between two major rivers, the San Joaquin to the south and the Merced to the north. It is in close proximity to three national wildlife refuges, several state wildlife areas, and Yosemite National Park. The Savannah Course was certified in September 1996 and has been successfully re-certified since that time. The most significant project implemented since certification was in 2000 to create a yearround rather than seasonal water level in Lake Honda, therefore providing habitat year-round for waterfowl. In addition, a nature trail that will allow


As the City of Arlington Parks & Recreation Department in Arlington, Texas faced the need to expand sport facilities, its goal was to conserve existing natural resources and cut operating budgets, while providing quality recreational opportunities. The result was the Tierra Verde Golf Club and Martin Luther King Jr. Sports Complex, two facilities that showcase the region’s unique biodiversity, provide an educational interpretive program for the communities, and offer sport enthusiasts an outlet for their activities. Located within the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, The Reserve is a 250-acre recreational facility that includes a golf course and an adjacent sports center built on a site historically used for cattle grazing, hunting, and homesteading. Tierra Verde (which means green earth) Golf Club, an 18-hole municipal course, comprises only 93 acres of the site. An additional 150 acres, including creeks, bottomland hardwoods, native grassland, and prairies is preserved. One hundred fifteen acres, including wildflowers and native plum thickets, remained untouched during development and provides valuable cover and food sources for insects, birds, and mammals. Ten acres of degraded land were reestablished with bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, and sprangletop. Five acres of ponds and over 9000 linear feet of shoreline were created to provide habitat and water sources for migratory waterfowl. Tierra Verde uses ‘raw water’ for irrigation. This water, which is tapped prior to purification, conserves potable water for domestic consumption and provides cost savings. On October 11, 2000, Tierra Verde Golf Club was certified as the first Signature Sanctuary in Texas. “We realized early on that the only way to be considered a responsible steward of public resources was to utilize our assets and resources responsibly and efficiently,” said Evonne Sandas, retired Director of Golf, City of Arlington. “In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s we began implementing strategies for preserving natural resources and efficient management all of the Arlington golf courses. When afforded the opportunity to build Tierra Verde Golf Club and

Photo: Tierra Verde

term goal of the Signature Program is to foster an environmental ethic. Based on that ethic, we trust that landowners, developers and consultants will help make future land management decisions based on both the environmental, as well as the economic, value of the land.

Tierra Verde’s Superintendent Mark Claburn and retired Director of Golf Evonne Sandas viewing wildife on the golf course

Martin Luther King Jr. Sports Center at the Reserve in 1996 we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to addressing environmental concerns in earnest so we turned to the guidelines of the Audubon Signature Sanctuary Program. Audubon International’s leadership and expertise provided us with the solid foundation and structured approach we needed to achieve our long-term economic and environmental goals. The financial benefits of integrating a comprehensive management program with environmental initiatives have been significant and successfully demonstrated over the past fifteen years at Tierra Verde Golf Club. The best practices and lessons learned were easily transferable to other City of Arlington golf courses and park facilities. As a result of the program, Arlington Golf became an environmental leader and resource for golf courses and municipalities seeking better ways to manage their operations. Not only were we committed to environmental stewardship, it became our business philosophy.”

We have accomplished a lot in twenty years, but there is still much to do. The biggest chasm of change remains between plan and action. While the words and intent of developers, builders, and all those involved in development are providing the hope for change, in the end, it is action that is needed. Pure, uncompromising, and collective action is needed to make eco-design and development common-place. That will mean continuing to change people’s attitudes, examining common policies that create unintended barriers, facilitating the mass use of best management practices by professionals, and finding ways for the market to reward those developers and developments that take the lead.

Thanks to our Members! We are very proud of the projects and the people that we work with. We have enjoyed the many years of helping you — a valued member — work with your local communities, host school groups, make presentations to civic organizations, and speak publicly about the work you are doing. In recent years many organizations have grasped the sustainable development concept and are working to promote it. But you can be proud to know that you are working with the original, the innovator, the leader in sustainable development – Audubon International. These 20 years have gone by quickly. We thank you for your loyalty, and we compliment you on your successes and look forward to many more years of working together to protect the environment. On to the next twenty years!

Looking to the Future Over the 20 years since 1993, we have certified nearly 100 projects ranging throughout 28 US states, and five countries including China, Spain, Portugal, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Of those, we have worked with small and large companies such as Toll Brothers, Watermark Communities, Bonita Bay Group, Crescent Resources, Crosland, EastWest Partners, Interlink, and Daniel Corporation as well as over 100 golf course designers. The long

Nancy Richardson has been director of the Signature Program since 1994. To learn more about the Signature Program, contact her at or (270)869-9419.


Tips & Tools

Landscape Smart How Little Changes Can Save A Lot of Water

Did you know that outdoor landscapes can put the greatest demand on our water supply, often accounting for as much as 50% of all the water used for home consumption? That’s right; your water use may double from April to September.

Can you water less frequently and more efficiently so that the storage capacity of our reservoirs can be recharged? Can you alter your landscape to incorporate plants that require minimal or no supplemental watering?

Take a look at your most recent water bill. Usage is generally measured in cubic feet of water, not gallons (1 cubic foot equals 7.5 gallons). So if you use 2,000 cubic feet during a four month billing cycle, that means that you’ve used 15,000 gallons of water. Some households may spike to as high as 8,000 to 10,000 cubic feet of water used (or 60,000 to 75,000 gallons) in the spring and summer alone.

The collective impact of the day-to-day actions that each of us can take to conserve water can add up to significant water savings. Here are a few suggestions for saving water outside: •

Evaluate what you have. If your yard is a sea of grass with few trees, shrubs, or garden areas, consider making a change in your landscape. A combination of lawn, landscaped areas, and natural areas creates greater interest and beauty. Greater plant diversity also results in greater wildlife diversity— so you can expect to see more songbirds at your feeders. Once established, a more diverse landscape requires less water.

Choose the right plants. Some plants need lots of water to thrive, while others are hardy and look good with little or no supplemental watering. By making smart decisions at your local nursery, you can save a lot of water.

Getting Beyond Green When it comes to saving water outside, lawns are a primary target. With an estimated 40 million acres of lawn under cultivation in the United States, lawn and garden products and services are a $24 billion industry in the U.S. (The U.S. Lawn and Garden Market, 8th Edition, Packaged Facts). In a drought year, homeowners tend to use more water, not less, on lawns and outdoor landscaping. With less rainfall to keep lawns and gardens at their best, we rely more heavily on irrigation, placing added stress on already limited water supplies. While many people enjoy having a lush, green lawn, drought requires that we make priorities about what we value most. Can you tolerate a less than perfect lawn for the sake of ensuring that water supplies are adequate for all user needs, as well as emergencies?


Some of the best examples of plants that require less water are found in our native prairies and meadows. These plants have adapted over thousands of years to thrive on little or erratic water input and include coneflowers, blazingstars, coreopsis, black-eyed Susan, and asters, as well as many ornamental native grasses, including Indian grass, big bluestem, and little bluestem. In the

Southwest, a long list of native desert wildflowers, cacti, and shrubs are well adapted to dry conditions. A horticulturist at your local nursery should be able to advise you about drought-tolerant plants that are best suited for your site.

Reduce your need for supplemental watering. Select and group plants together according to their sunlight and water needs. Use your site plan to designate distinct zones, including: •

Natural Zones — Plants in these areas live on rainfall alone. Plants that are native to your area generally will be better adapted to your specific site conditions.

Low-Water Zones — Plants in these areas will be able to survive primarily on rainfall, but sometimes may require a little additional watering in times of drought.

Moderate Water Zones — These areas will require regular watering and should be limited to focal areas, such as entryway flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and functional lawn areas.

Limit the use of annuals that need daily watering. Hanging baskets, window boxes, and container gardens filled with annual flowers need almost daily watering. Perennials can go without water for much longer periods and may be a better choice in a drought year.

Use mulch. Organic mulches help retain moisture, cool the soil, and reduce weed establishment when used in a 3”-5” thick layer. Mulch landscaped beds, borders, and gardens at the start of the season.

Improve your soil. Dig some compost into existing garden beds and add a generous amount of compost to new landscape beds and borders. Compost improves the structure of the soil, enabling sandy soils to better retain moisture and keeping clay soils from hardening and cracking during drought. Contact a compost supplier in your area or start a backyard compost

Accept less than perfect. There’s more to life than perfect grass. Many homeowners never irrigate their lawns. During drought, it’s normal for grass to go dormant (or “brown out”), but that doesn’t mean the lawn is dead. Turfgrass is resilient and will turn green again with adequate moisture. Keep your mowing height high — about 2 to 3 inches — to help prevent the grass from baking in the sun.

Photo: Audubon International

pile to generate a steady supply.

Xeriscaping is a form of gardening that employs native or drought tolerant flora species, specific to one’s regional soil and climatic conditions. With a little planning, a xeric garden can produce colorful blooms from spring to fall with far less maintenance and water than a traditional garden.

Naturalize part of your lawn to reduce water use. Consider converting part of your lawn into a natural meadow. There may be a back corner of your yard, a hard to maintain slope, or another area of your property suited for transformation from lawn to meadow or shrubby area. This is a terrific way to save water, reduce routine maintenance, and add habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.




The Soap



Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program Partners with Clean the World to Protect the Environment and Save Lives Katie Hopkins


n 2008, Shawn Siepler was doing what people with an entrepreneurial spirit tend to do: dreaming of the next big thing. He and some likeminded friends felt confident that the “green trend” was only going to grow, so they racked their brains for an innovative environmental solution that would make it big.

it switched from dollar signs in my head to the opportunity to save millions of lives,” Shawn said. “That was when it became 100% about the mission.”

“There was a specific moment for me when I was sitting on my bed reading that study when

And to top it off, the electricity in the garage kept blowing.

Photo: Clean the World

When Shawn did additional research, he found the numbers to be staggering. Every day, 9,000 children die from treatable illnesses. Pneumonia and diarrheal diseases are the leading causes of death At the time Shawn worked for a tech company and among children worldwide, and these two diseases was on the road four nights a week. alone kill more than two million While on a business trip in Minneapolis, children under the age of five each he used a bar of soap in his hotel Every day, 9,000 year. Using bar soap can dramatically room and realized he did not know what happened to the soap after a children die from reduce these deaths anywhere from 30-65% while hotels around the world guest leaves. He called the front desk treatable illnesses; throw out two million bars of soap and and they confirmed his suspicions: Using bar soap 348 tons of amenities daily. even though bars of soap are often barely used, they are thrown in the can dramatically Shawn and his group of entrepreneurs garbage when a guest leaves. His calls got to work in a single-car garage in reduce those to several other hotels revealed the Orlando armed with potato peelers, deaths. same answer. After a bit of research a meat grinder, and four Kenmore and some calculations, he determined cookers they got on sale at Sears. They that huge quantities of barely used worked out agreements with some local hotels and bars of soap are sent to the landfill each day. He made the pickups themselves, bringing the soap and his friends knew they were on to something, back to the garage to sanitize and recycle it. Shawn but couldn’t quite figure out how they would build a went to work full time during the day and recycled business with recycled soap. soap on evenings and weekends. They distributed the soap to grateful local homeless shelters, In 2009, Shawn’s friend Paul Till came across a which in 2009 were exceeding their usual resident study about Bangladesh and its high rate of deaths capacities. He and his partners invested their own from diarrheal diseases. The study explained that money into the project, emptying college savings these deaths could have easily been prevented by funds and opening their 401ks. hand washing with soap.


Photo: Clean the World

were faced with the challenge of how to ramp up their operations to a national scale.

Shawn on a distribution trip to Haiti

Then the day came when Shawn’s employers pulled him aside and told him he could not commit to two jobs at once. At the time he was vice president of sales and marketing at his company, a position which provided a comfortable income for him and his wife and their four kids. He had to choose. And he chose to save lives. “My wife is just amazing. She saw in my eyes that this is what I wanted to do and we decided to make it work.” Shawn had no idea how to start a non-profit and no idea of how to ask for money. In 2009, grants and donors were drying up, and they had trouble getting donations. They were providing their service at no charge to the hotel, but he knew they had to figure out how to make the project financially sustainable. The answer came in the form of charging a program fee to hotels in return for a turn-key corporate social responsibility program with marketing and branding opportunities. But they had trouble getting hotels to bite. Their first recycled soap distribution trip outside of the United States was to Haiti in 2009. A local reporter with the Orlando Fox TV station accompanied them to do a news segment on their organization. The story ran in Orlando and was picked up by the local Fox TV station in New York City. An employee at the NYC station took interest in the story and mentioned it to his landlord, an executive at CBS. Landing a spot on the CBS Evening News was Clean the World’s big break. The day after the segment aired, their phone started ringing off the hook with calls from hotels around the country. Previously their biggest obstacle had been convincing hotels to pay a program fee, now they


Today Clean the World, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has collected over 13 million bars of soap and has distributed recycled bars to homeless and relief shelters in the US, Canada, and more than 65 additional countries around the world. Their organization has operation centers in Orlando and Las Vegas, with logistics partners throughout North America. They also just opened centers in Hong Kong and Macao, which will collect soap from the local hospitality industry, recycle it, and distribute it throughout Asia. “We have really created the first international recycling program that runs exactly the same anywhere in the world as long as you are a hotel.” Studies show that increased soap use around the world is already helping to keep deadly bacteria at bay, and Shawn continues to have big plans for the future. He wants to eventually create distribution centers in places like China, India, and Latin America, and he also wants to help encourage more selfsustaining micro-enterprises where individuals can set up their own soap-recycling business and sell their product at an affordable price to the local economy. In the meantime, Shawn, now President & CEO of Clean the World, continues to passionately

Interactive Impact Calculator This online tool lets you see what kind of difference your participation will make.

Example: Annual impact for a hotel in the US with 100 rooms Pounds of bar soap collected: 864 Pounds of bottles collected: 644 Number of recycled bars created: 4,606 Number of bottles distributed: 4,582 Number of people provided with soap: 921 Tons of landfill waste diverted: 0.75 Monthly program fee: $81 Click here to try it for your own hotel!

Photo: Clean the World

promote his organization’s successful program model. “Not only is there this incredible way to prevent waste from going to the landfills, but we can solve a huge health problem by getting it into the hands of children around the world. How can someone not want to be involved in a program like that?” Audubon International and Clean the World are now teaming up to promote corporate social responsiblilty in the hospitality industry. Any hotel participating in the Clean the World program will receive a 10% discount on the Green Lodging Program annual membership fee. Thanks to this soap solution, we can help our members be environmentally friendly while saving lives.

How it Works A hotel signs up and pay a nominal monthly service fee based on the number of rooms. The hotel receives labeled bins for collecting and shipping bars of soap and bottled amenities including shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, and lotion.

Save Lives and Save Money!

Once the bins are full, the hotel ships them to Clean the World using shipping labels covered by the program fee. Clean the World sanitizes the soap, recycles it, and sends the new soap to partner NGOs for distribution. The hotel receives quarterly impact reports and can update its impact board and promote its social responsibility.

As part of our new partnership, all facilities participating in Clean the World’s soap recycling program will receive a

10% Discount

Photo: Clean the World

on Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program annual membership fee

Newly recycled soap is cut into bars

Click here to join Clean the World

Today! 19

Hilton Head Island Embraces Bicycles Joanna Nadeau


ummer vacation is the perfect time to get away from it all, and for many people this means heading to the beach. Getting away from it all should mean a break from city ills like traffic jams and smog, and yet traffic is becoming a major issue for some resort communities. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, draws 50,000 vehicles a day to its quiet, green streets and beautiful beaches at the summer peak. Because residents and visitors come for its clean ocean breezes and laid back vibe, air pollution and congestion make reducing traffic one of the Town’s major priorities. The Town has been tackling this problem with the construction and promotion of bike paths. With 60 miles of public bike paths and a total of 108 miles of multiple use trails on the island, most of Hilton Head’s major sights and activity centers are reachable by bike – whether you prefer beach cruiser, road bike, or hybrid. Biking has caught on in this beach community, and it is easy to see why. With 20,000 bikes available to rent from local outfitters and welcoming temperatures, why not rely on a bicycle to get around the island instead of dealing with traffic? As a member of Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program, the Town of Hilton Head Island is working to get community members to think about their individual choices as part of a larger sustainability ethic. The Town has taken a leadership role within the community in promoting more sustainable modes of transportation as an alternative to cars. The Five-Year Sustainability Action Plan (drafted in 2012) sets goals and strategies for improving air quality, and the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, “From Here to 2030,” recognizes the links between air quality and chronic adverse health


and environmental effects from vehicular pollution. The Comprehensive Plan outlines strategies to encourage people to use alternative transportation options through signage, events, and educational materials. The Town’s plans were informed by a volunteer bicycle advisory committee of 25 people from the Town, public safety, local businesses, and the community. This group has taken on several projects, which include: developing a local bicycle information website; finding friendly ways to enforce bike laws; implementing a Safe Routes to School program; educating visitors about bike, driver and pedestrian safety; making major events on Hilton Head Island bicycle-friendly; and creating memorable bicycling events. Special events are a great way to draw attention to a local issue by creating fun and interactive activities, especially for bicycling which can be for recreation or general transportation. Aligning with National Bike Month in May, the Town reached out to local partners to coordinate a series of events designed to reach visitors and residents with the message that

Image: Kickin’ Asphalt Bicycle Club

Photo: Joanna Nadeu; Bike image:


biking is a central part of Hilton Head’s peaceful, outdoors-focused lifestyle and vacation experience. All Bike Month events were advertised through a single flyer for promotion that included seven events arranged by a variety of local groups, including a local bike club. The local paper, partner websites, and flyers were used to promote the events.

as well as for getting around town. The Hilton Head Island Rotary Club and Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island donated $11,000 and $10,000, respectively, to pay for the updated kiosks. The maps and safety-information panels are now printed on a surface that’s easier to update and will cut maintenance costs, essential as expansion of the path system continues. By spring 2014, the town will have completed five more paths, totaling almost three miles. They are expected to cost $2.3 million and will be paid for with traffic impact fees and hospitality tax revenues, among other sources.

Photo: Katie Hopkins

The month’s bike event kicked off with a community ride on the beach that led participants six miles on the hard-packed, low-tide beach. The most popular event, Bike & Dine Week, was organized by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. ThirtyHilton Head received the Bicycle six restaurants participated with Friendly Community Award (Silver) a variety of discount offers for from the League of American bicyclists. This event touched Bicyclists in 2011 and is the only on several sustainability areas municipality in South Carolina to by highlighting local businesses, have the designation and one of local foods, and alternative the few in the Southeast. Hilton transportation. To encourage Head is a great place to immerse participation, the chamber also yourself in nature, with its live offered free Bike & Dine Week oaks and diversity of wildlife. T-shirts to the first 200 diners Cycling allows for self-guided and entered the participants ecotourism around parks and in a raffle for a new bike. Town beaches, known in this place staff participated in many of for turtle, alligator, and bird the month’s events, including sightings, among others. The National Bike to Work Day. The Town is creating an ethic within Second Annual Community government as well as in private Beach Bicycle Ride and Bike & Joanna and Marcy Benson look at a life about preserving what is great Dine Week are being planned for newly-installed pathways map about their community. Better still, 2014’s National Bike Month. the more people get outside and take in the natural “Bike month is a great way to highlight the variety of beauty of the island, the healthier they and their bicycling activities available to island residents and communities will be. visitors,” said Marcy Benson, at the Town of Hilton Thanks to national partners like the League of Head Island. “As a League of American Bicyclists American Bicyclists, there are many nation-wide Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community, Hilton Head themed events that communities can tap into for Island strives to embrace many aspects of bicycling. education and engagement purposes. Just like From providing an excellent multi-purpose pathway Water Week in March, Earth Day in April, and Park network, where bicyclists can easily and safely travel and Recreation Month in July, people are starting throughout the island, to encouraging bicycle events to recognize these recurring events. Helping people and safety education.” make the shift to sustainable living gets easier when Since bicycling is appropriate for all ages, Bike it is fun and a part of community-wide celebrations. Month activities such as National Bike to School Day Encourage your community members to try are designed to involve a variety of people. And it something new for a finite period of time and focus is not just for kids: studies have shown that cyclists on a single topic to make change less intimidating are likely to live longer, too! For those who have and more likely to stick. been bitten by the biking bug, Hilton Head’s Kickin’ Asphalt Bicycle Club organizes weekly group rides at For questions about Hilton Head’s sustainability initiative, a variety of levels throughout the year. The Town is also working to promote cycling by improving maps and signs along multi-use paths, making it easier to find good routes for workouts

contact Marcy Benson at

For questions about the Sustainable Communities Program, contact Joanna Nadeau at


Sponsor Spotlight Center for Responsible Travel Our newest sponsor, The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), recently hosted President & CEO Ryan Aylesworth at the 2013 Executive Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism in Los Cabos, Mexico. The bilingual, three-day symposium brought together 150 innovators currently involved in designing, financing, constructing, and operating socially and environmentally sustainable coastal tourism developments and potential adopters of these innovative models.

Photo: CREST

Travel and tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in the world, and, according to CREST, in four out of five countries tourism is one of the top five export earners, generating over $900 billion in export earnings worldwide each year. The number of people traveling internationally annually is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2020. All of this traveling can harm the environment through carbon emissions and degradation of natural areas, but the tourism industry also provides many positive benefits including employment and low-capital entrepreneurship opportunities and economic incentive to conserve natural areas and wildlife.

CREST Program Director David Krantz welcomes the innovators at the Executive Symposium in Los Cabos

CREST, a non-profit research institute with offices in Washington, DC and at Stanford University, wants to transform the way the world travels. Its mission is “to promote responsible tourism policies and practices globally so that local communities may thrive and steward their cultural resources and biodiversity.” The organization pursues this mission through three primary goals: Alleviate Poverty by supporting self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in communities through tourism; Conserve Bio-Diversity by promoting positive environmental footprints through travel; and Protect Cultures by directly engaging tourists in preserving and experiencing authentic peoples and places.

Coordinating Travelers’ Philanthropy, a program which supports community development initiatives, education, conservation, and health programs at a local and regional level

Setting standards to strengthen responsible tourism

Analyzing impacts of different models of tourism and promoting innovation

Performing paid consulting and field research

Sharing expertise and providing leadership

Audubon International’s programs are well-aligned with the mission and goals of CREST as we work to promote environmental responsibility in several areas of tourism and recreation. We look forward to continuing to build a strong relationship between our organizations and finding ways to complement their admirable efforts and accomplishments.


Photo: CREST

CREST has developed five program areas to accomplish these goals:

Children in Costa Rica plant a tree with Titi Conservation Alliance, an environmental education and reforestation organization supported by Green Hotels of Costa Rica, a travel partner of Travelers’ Philanthropy

New Members and New Certified Members New Members

ACSP for Golf International

ACSP for Golf

China Guangzhou Foison Golf Club, Guangzhou City Shaoxing Jian Lake Golf Club, Keqiao Yunhai Wetlands Golf Course, Taizhou

Alabama Country Club of Brewton, Brewton Glen Lakes Golf Club, Foley California Mt. Woodson Golf Club, Ramona Connecticut Country Club of Woodbridge, Woodbridge Florida Magnolia Point Golf & Country Club, Green Cove Springs

Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club, Clement Georgia Beekman Golf Course, Hopewell Junction Cuscowilla Golf Club, Eatonton The Ford Plantation Club, Richmond Hill Illinois Ridgemoor Country Club, Chicago Louisiana Copper Mill Golf Club, Zachary Maryland Rocky Point Golf Course, Essex Minnesota Valleywood Golf Course, Apple Valley New York Forest Park Golf Course, Woodhaven Hampshire Country Club, Mamaroneck North Carolina Harbour Pointe Golf Club, New Bern Salem Glen Golf & Country Club, Clemmons Ohio Ellsworth Meadows Golf Club, Hudson Ivy Hills Country Club, Cincinnati Pennsylvania Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, Harrisburg Radley Run Country Club, West Chester South Carolina Greenville Country Club, Greenville Texas Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club, Rockwall Virginia Captain’s Cove Golf & Yacht Club, Greenbackville

Oman Almouj Golf, Muscat Qatar Doha Golf Club, Doha

Green Lodging Program California Ramada Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Florida Banyan Resort, Key West Colony Hotel & Cabana Club, Daytona Beach

Classic Program Tennessee The Course at Sewanee, Sewanee

Sustainable Communities Program Georgia The Landings at Skidaway Island, Savannah

New Certified Members ACSP for Golf Florida Twin Islands Country Club, Punta Gorda North Carolina The Bald Head Island County Club, Bald Head Island The Golf Club at Ballantyne, Charlotte Ohio Firestone Country Club, Akron

Signature Program New Mexico The Rainmaker Golf Club, Murray North Carolina Lonnie Poole Golf Course, Raleigh


Audubon International Sponsors

CourseVision is a product of GroundLinkx, the leading provider of software solutions for golf course asset management.

The Center for Responible Travel is a nonprofit organization promoting reposonsible tourism policies and practices.

John Deere is a world leader in agricultural, construction, forestry and turf care equipment.

Lafarge North America is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the United States and Canada.

Microsoft is committed to software and technology innovations that help people and organizations around the world improve the environment.

Ostara is a clean water company that recovers valuable nutrients from used water streams.

Perfect Blend is a leading manufacturer of organic plant food and incorporates a complete philosophy of advanced soil nutrition.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is the nation’s oldest technological university and is well-known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Sediment Removal Solutions uses an extremely clean and costeffective way of removing the sludge and toxic gases without interfering with wildlife.

Sonic Solutions is an environmentally safe technology that uses the resonance of ultrasonic waves to kill algae.

Toro is a leading worldwide provider of innovative turf, landscape, rental and construction equipment, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions.

United States Golf Association is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Joe Madeira at


Audubon International Partners

Club Managers Association of America works with Audubon International to educate, assist, and inspire club managers to become stewards of the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency encourages environmental stewardship at golf courses through the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.

Equine Land Conservation Resource serves to preserve land and promote access for all types of equestrian use.

The First Tee is an international nonprofit youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people.

The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary initiative that designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources.

Golf Course Superintendents Association of America promotes environmental education and stewardship to the thousands of golf course superintendent members of the association.

The National Ski Areas Association’s primary objective is to meet the needs of ski area owners and operators nationwide and to foster, stimulate and promote growth in the industry.

New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association promotes and markets the Audubon Green Lodging Program to over 1,300 lodging and tourism members throughout New York State.

New York State Integrated Pest Management Program develops sustainable ways to manage pests and helps people to use methods that minimize environmental, health, and economic risks.

The Sonoran Institute inspires and enables community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of western North America.

Sustainable Landscape Integrated Pest Management Network is a coalition of educators promoting integrated pest management practices.

Clean the World recycles soap and amenities bottles used by the hospitality industry to keep them out of landfills and to save lives by preventing bacterial infections.

If you are interested in becoming a partner please contact Katie Hopkins at


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