Stewardship News | Volume 18, Issue 1 | Winter 2015

Page 1

StewardshipNews Audubon International’s

Volume 18, Issue 1

Winter 2015

Create Wildlife Corridors | 8

What to do with Food Waste | 10

Stowe Reaches Great Heights | 14 1

An aerial photo of Baker National Golf Course in Medina, MN shows a great example of a nested habitat on a golf course.

Message from the Executive Director:

Scale Matters


like to think about scale. Words such as size, extent, distribution, geography, habitat connections, watershed, and ecosystem are all related to issues of scale. How much habitat is enough? What is the minimum viable population size? Of course, the general answer to such general questions is: it depends! The answer for a bald eagle is vastly different than for a salamander. At Audubon International, the scale of our member facilities ranges from small municipalities (biggest) to small parks and bed & breakfasts (smallest). We address questions that help answer how systems (towns, habitats, watersheds, businesses) can be managed to improve performance and to reduce the impact on nature. While ecosystem and habitat boundaries are not limited by the ownership or political boundaries we address, what happens on our membership properties results in higher environmental quality across boundaries. The benefits extend beyond the member; neighbors, abutters, towns, and watersheds are all better off as the result of decisions our members make to improve their environment. The benefits, in essence, “scale up.” “Nested scales” refers to the idea that the outer perimeter of any geography has multiple smaller geographies nested within it. A wetland is nested within a patch of forest, which is nested within a temperate ecosystem or biome. In nature, the internal patches always benefit if the surrounding larger patch is a healthy functioning ecosystem.

Cover photo: Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont


Again, the decisions our members make also improve the natural patches on their land. For example, habitat and water quality is improved on a golf course when a superintendent reduces the amount or frequency of turf chemical applications. Ideally, our work helps connect, integrate, and nest the diversity of scales in nature. While we work individually with towns (Sustainable Communities), resorts (Green Lodging), and developed landscapes (Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries), the ideal model is one where, for example, a town, a golf course, and its associated resort facilities have all adopted sustainable management practices. These nested systems support each other, and over time, improve the whole. In practice, there are many facilities that hear about our program from a neighboring or nested member, and that inspires them to sign up too! If you hear of a town or a facility in your area that is working to be more sustainable, let us know. Help us be nested!


Doug Bechtel, Executive Director


Doug Bechtel


Katie Hopkins

Contents Stewardship News Volume 18, Issue 1 Winter 2015


Joe Madeira


Announcements | 4

Joanna Nadeau

Read what we have been up to


Tara Pepperman


Fred Realbuto

ACSP Program Update | 5 ACSP recertification cycle moving to three years

Trash Talk | 6 Delphine Tseng talks about trash collection in Taiwan


Nancy Richardson

Featured Photos | 7


Great photos sent in by members

Delphine Tseng

Wildlife Corridors | 8


How to create corridors to help wildlife on your property

Food Waste | 10 Keep your food scraps out of the landfill

Featured Member Project | 13 120 Defreest Drive Troy, New York 12180 518-767-9051

Marriott’s MountainSide Resort creates a fun recycling area

Such Great Heights | 14

Stowe Mountain Resort reaches great environmental achievements

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

Build It Right, and They Will Come | 16 Viridian puts unwanted land to good use

On the Fairway to the Green | 20 Two country clubs in Upstate New York work toward certification


Announcements Here are some of the things we have going on: Board Member Pat Vittum Honored

On February 7th, The United States Golf Association presented Audubon International board member Pat Vittum with the 2015 USGA Green Section Award. The award is in recognition of her significant contributions to research in turfgrass insects and biological-control methods.

Stay Tuned for BioBlitz 2015

This year Audubon International will be organizing a week-long challenge for golf courses to count the number of flora and fauna species located on their property. The event will take place in April, the week of Earth Day. Courses are encouraged to involve their members, members’ families, and people from the local community. Any golf course can participate. More information will be provided in the coming months.


2014 Environmental Leaders in Golf

Gary Ingram, CGCS at the Audubon International certified Metropoliton Golf Links in Oakland, CA has been named the overall winner of the 2014 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards. Mike Crawford, CGCS at TPC Sugarloaf, and Rocky Ebelhar, assistant superintendent at TPC Lousiana, both certified courses, were also named winners in their categories. The following ACSP for Golf members were also announced as winners: Highlands Country Club Indian Hill Country Club TPC Jasna Polona TPC Summerlin The Ritz-Carlton Member’s Golf Club Tilden Park Golf Course TPC Deere Run The Homestead Golf Course Golf Courses at Incline Village TPC Sawgrass TPC Stonebrae Callippe Preserve Golf Course

Program Update: Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program Recertification Cycle Moving from Two to Three Years Great news for ACSP Certified Properties: the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) and ACSP for Golf are moving recertification from a two-year to a three-year cycle starting in 2015. Thanks to valuable member feedback, we have decided to make this important change to give you more time to work towards completing your environmental goals on your property. The process will still alternate between a site visit and backup documentation. Each time you submit your required paperwork, Audubon International staff will review it and extend your certification for another three years. New to the program or confused about the process? Here’s a breakdown of how recertification works once you are certified:

The ACSP Recertification Cycle

Not sure if you are currently due? Log in to your member profile at to check your property’s status and download your recertification handbook, or give membership coordinator Delphine Tseng a call at 518-767-9051 ext. 100. As always, we accept case studies for projects you are working on at any time, regardless of your recertification schedule! Just use the “Case Study Document” on the member’s only portion of the website to share your projects. Projects with good detail and pictures may even be placed on our website or in the next Stewardship News! We look forward to hearing from you with any questions, concerns, or comments.


From Our


Trash Talk Membership coordinator Delphine Tseng talks about how Taiwan takes out the trash Delphine and her son, J-mi, visiting Taiwan.


he summer night air is, as usual, cool, viscous and with the right amount of lazy. The commuters are getting home after another nine-hour day at work, the Metro trains start to slow down to take a breather like a runner’s heart finally ticking back to the normal beat. Around nine o’clock, there is a hint of anticipation, the steps on stairs start to sound a tiny bit rushed, and there it is: the first note of Beethoven’s Für Elise. And you clench your fist to grab the trash bags and two buckets that you have previously prepared for this precise moment. And you run. You run like Benedict Cumberbatch is waiting for you at the finish line. Or at least, that’s what I did. This is Taipei. One of the most populous cities in the world, and I couldn’t help but think, this nightly dashing is what keeps us united as a people. This is not some ancient Taiwanese sporting event, we are chasing after the trash trucks. Before I dive any deeper, let’s take a look at my home country of Taiwan. We are a mere island of 13,974 square miles, as Wikipedia would like to point out, this is about the combined area of Maryland and


Delaware, and about 75% of that area is mountains. See all that green on the island? All trees. No trash-truck chasing there. This means we have to fit 24 million people on the grey-ish area on which we also have to bury all the waste that 24 million people produce every day.

Above: View of Taiwan from above. Below: People line up with their trash in Taipei.

So in 1998, Taipei started to implement the “Pay-as-You-Throw” plan. Residents of Taipei could only dispose any trash in the speciallydesigned bags that are purchased from the City Hall. The complaints were loud and foreseeable, but deep down, people understood the reason: we knew that one day we were going to run out of space, run out of resources, and we should prepare for that before we run out of time. We saw a 35% decrease in trash the first year. Because these bags are not cheap, people, of course, try to produce as little rubbish as possible. The trash that is thrown in these fancy garbage bags is pure trash. What I mean by that is if you open any of these bags, you will find no recyclables, not even kitchen waste or compost. The aforementioned buckets that I clenched to chase after the trash truck were filled with leftover food in one and kitchen compost (such as vegetable peelings, egg shells, and paper napkins) in the other.

There are two main trucks (that play the famous Beethoven tune and usually trick the foreign tourists into thinking they’re ice cream trucks, although I doubt this was the intention of the City), one is the main trash truck that collects pure waste, and the other collects the recyclables including food waste. We have to sort the papers, plastics, metals, and containers in different levels, and dump the leftover food and compost into two different large buckets. The kitchen leftovers will be collected by farmers for animal feed, and the compost, well, it becomes compost to fertilize farmlands. It is not easy, and the smell definitely isn’t pleasing. But everyone does it, because it is the only logical way.

Featured Phot s

Now let’s talk strategies. Why did I have to chase the trash trucks? I didn’t. In my neighborhood, the trucks come at about 9:15 PM. The collecting spot was about one block away from our building. We lived on the 4th floor. I didn’t drive, so traffic wouldn’t be an issue. Theoretically, if I left the door at 9:13, I would be able to make it. Instead I chose to procrastinate and whine and told my parents that it should have been my sister’s turn to take the garbage out. It worked about three percent of the time, but I took my chance. So by the time I heard that first note of music that meant this was it; if I didn’t make it, I would have to bring all this trash with me, take the Metro, and try to catch the truck at its next stop. That chance I was not willing to risk.

Dretzka Park Golf Course Kids examine a turtle as part of an outreach and education event at Dretzka Park Golf Course in Milwaukee, WI.

I started to listen to my parents and took the trash out 10 minutes earlier and just hung out. Turned out, that was the best time to catch up with your neighbors. You find out someone’s daughter just got into your high school, someone’s getting married, someone’s moving for work, or someone’s having a baby. It’s not gossiping, it’s knitting, it’s building, it’s dancing this warm waltz to Beethoven’s Für Elise. And with that last note fading away into the warm summer night, we walk home happy, with a sense of innocent proud achievement, and a smile that is almost comparable to that of a child holding an ice cream cone.

National Golf Country Club A light-vented bulbul perches in a tree at the National Golf Country Club in Taiwan. Share your photos! If you would like to see your photos featured here or on our Facebook page, e-mail them to


Wildlife Corridors By Tara Pepperman


hen human development happens, removing existing wildlife habitat is inevitable. This causes habitat to be broken up into small patches where wildlife can have a harder time surviving. When patches become too small, and aren’t easily linked to other areas, many species can become displaced. The best way to mitigate the reduction of habitat is to create what are known as wildlife corridors within your park, golf course or recreation area. These corridors will allow all species access to the food, water and interactions they need to thrive. Scientific research shows that all animals, even birds, prefer to travel along habitat corridors rather than cross clearings or other obstacles. In one study, songbirds chose wooded routes to travel between forested patches, even when they were three times as long as cutting across a clearing. Even species that live in more open habitats use corridors for travel. Butterflies, for example, use grassy corridors to move between open clearings surrounded by dense woodland, and their numbers are typically higher in patches connected by corridors than in isolated patches.


Creating and maintaining these corridors should become an important part of your environmental management plan, whether it be short- or long-term.

How Do I Start? The first thing you need to do is think about the questions you are trying to answer: 1. What kind of species are on my property? Having an up-to-date wildlife inventory will help with this question! Try to focus on identifying the needs of endangered species or species of concern first. 2. Where do those animals thrive, and what kind of plants would give the cover they want? Smaller animals require understory or tall grass, while birds and larger animals feel most comfortable with larger trees. 3. Where can I create these corridors? Look at a map! This will help you identify areas that could be used as corridors. Corridors should be just that: pathways for wildlife to cross your property without being in the open.

Ideally, the corridor would create a path to cross the entire property, but also look for opportunities to connect outside forest habitats with ponds in the center of your course. Sometimes habitat corridors can be combined with other conservation projects. Many of our members maintain vegetated buffer zones to protect the edges of streams, rivers, or other water bodies from run-off. These buffers often can be connected to nearby patches of habitat to serve as corridors. The Golf Club at Newcastle in Washington State has a great example of naturalization of their creek area, which is also a corridor from one part of the course to another. Using bridges to allow wildlife to travel above or below paths without disturbance is important when areas used by humans and wildlife cross. Sometimes, properties can be ideal areas for wildlife to cross in a flat open state. A perfect example of this is at the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club in Wyoming, where the annual elk migration to the National Elk Wildlife Refuge crosses the course. The course’s open areas, natural to Jackson Hole, provide a great migration path for this species, which travel through in huge numbers! Although it is not the best case scenario, having a cart path cross a wildlife corridor is sometimes hard to correct without a major construction project. In this case, high tree cover over the path will still allow this to be a great corridor for birds. Creating signs, such as those at Cozumel Country Club in Mexico, as part of an outreach and education program directed at patrons is important in this situation. How wide/large should my corridor be? There are no simple rules about how wide or tall a naturalized area must be in order to serve as a corridor. One study found that only corridors over 33 feet wide were used by the birds on that site, while another found that a vole used corridors only 1.5 feet wide. Just remember to think about the species on your property, and put yourself in their “shoes.� Top: Wildlife corridors at Glen Annie Golf Club in Santa Barbara, California. Middle: The Golf Club at Newcastle in Washington has naturalized their creek area. Bottom: Cozumel Country Club in Mexico displays a wildlife crossing sign. Opposite: The annual elk migration crosses the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club in Wyoming.

Remember, all living things need these four basic things to survive: food, water, shelter and space. Thinking about this during projects on your property can ensure wildlife are always taken into consideration. Corridors give your property to ability to provide all four of these basic survival needs and make it an ideal place for wildlife to thrive.


By Katie Hopkins


t would be a bit difficult for anyone to argue that that the world doesn’t have a waste problem, but one area that people often don’t think about is food waste. It is estimated that 40 percent of the US food supply is wasted. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, the average American throws out 20 pounds of food per month. That totals to 35 million tons of food waste for the US each year. So why is this a problem? First of all, food production requires significant resources including land and water for growing, diesel for transportation, electricity for processing, and paper, glass, metals, and plastic for packaging. When food is wasted, so too are all those resources.

that many places around the country are banning commercial food waste from regular trash collection. These places include Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont. On July 1, 2015, the ban will also be implemented in New York City. Though the most important way to reduce food waste is to prevent it, this article will focus on easy and practical ways to dispose of your food waste.

Composting Onsite composting can be done in several forms and is usually best for smaller operations. Those that do onsite composting need to also have a use for the compost that is produced such as a garden or landscaping.

Another big problem is what The composting bin used by happens to food when it is thrown Saratoga Farmstead B&B. away. In the US, food waste is the largest portion of municipal solid waste. In order to naturally biodegrade, food needs Pile Composting oxygen. Food waste sitting in a landfill is deprived of If you have some land with a spot a bit out of the oxygen, and so it creates methane, a gas that is at way, you can participate in the simplest form of least 20 times more damaging that carbon dioxide composting: pile composting. Simply pile up your in terms of climate change. It is because of this


food scraps, coffee grounds, paper napkins, etc. and mix them in with yard waste such as leaves and grass clippings. To make sure your compost receives the oxygen it needs to biodegrade, occasionally mix the pile with a shovel or rake. Bin Composting Another form of composting is with a closed bin. These bins come in many shapes and forms and can usually be purchased at your local home improvement or gardening store. Mariana Di’Toro and Rosemary Jensen, owners of The Saratoga Farmstead B&B, an Audubon International Certified Green Lodging Property, have been composting their property’s food waste since 2002. They use a double tumbler composter located directly outside of their B&B’s kitchen. The double tumbler design allows them to start another batch while the other batch fully breaks down, and the turning mechanism keeps everything aerated. They use the resulting rich compost in their gardens. Their guests appreciate their composting efforts and often ask how they too can start doing it at home. Vermicomposting The adventurous can also try vermicomposting: composting with the assistance of worms. The resulting compost from vermicomposting is often packed with more nutrients than that of traditional compost. Superintendent Dan Dinelli of North Shore Country Club in Glenview, IL has built vermicomposting bins at his facility to break down food waste from the clubhouse with the assistance of red wigglers. The project is great for outreach and education, with signage explaining the process and

Why no meat? Many how-to compost websites will tell you that you cannot compost meat scraps. This is not because they are incapable of becoming compost. The concern is that the meat scraps will attract critters such as rodents or insects. The decaying meat may also cause strong odors, and potentially become a health hazard. If you do decide to compost meat, make sure to bury it deeply enough to prevent this from happening. Alternatives to onsite composting such as some types of collections and onsite digesters do not have any issues with including meat.

why it is important and a window on the side of the bin so people can see the worms at work. Dan uses the resulting product as a fertilizer and soil additive on his course.

Collections If you do not have the space for composting or produce more food waste than you could feasibly compost yourself, there are many collection options available to you.

North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois employs vermicosting to breakdown food waste from the clubhouse. The resulting compost is used as a fertilizer on the course.



Energy Production

This type of collection is only for still perfectly edible food that that would be thrown out at the end of an event. Inquire with local homeless shelters that may benefit from the food. Many of them will be willing to send an employee to pick it up for you, or you can assign the task to your own staff. The donations can be claimed for tax purposes. There is no need to worry about liability if someone gets sick. The Bill Emerson Food Donation Act protects any business that donates food to a nonprofit organization in good faith even if one or more people become ill.

One of the best options for your food waste is to convert it to energy. Companies such as NEO Energy are collecting food waste including meats and oils from commercial operations to create biogas. Using anaerobic digestion, food waste is broken down in the same manner as it would be in a landfill, but at a much faster rate. The resulting methane is captured and used to power generators. This method simultaneously keeps the methane out of the atmosphere and reduces the need for fossil fuels in energy production. The byproduct of the biogas is an organic fertilizer that can be used as a nutrient-rich soil additive.

Animal Feed Regulations for feeding food scraps to farm animals varies from state to state, so first check what the rules are for your area. Local farmers may be willing to make a regular stop at your facility to pick up your scraps. Items such as meats and eggshells will likely need to be withheld from this type of collection.

Onsite Digesters

If you do not want to deal with compost and think storing it for collection is a hassle, another option for disposing of food waste is an onsite digester. Digesters use microbes to breakdown any food waste, including Composting Businesses meat, dairy, and bones, Your local area may have a into greywater. Small number of small composting operations with land Onsite digesters like this Orca are great for hotels, services. These businesses can use an outdoor food restaurants, and other large scale operations that often provide a bin for digester heated by the would like to dispose of food waste without dealing throwing your food waste and sun. A component of the with a biproduct. charge a fee for an agreed digester is sunk into the upon pick up schedule. ground and soaks the The business will compost the waste back at their surrounding soil with the resulting greywater. Large own facility and then sell the compost for gardens commercial facilities will instead want an indoor, and farms. The Best Western Plus Heritage Inn in stainless steel, large capacity food digester. The Bellingham, WA, a Certified Green Lodging Property, machine breaks down food quickly and allows you to collects food waste from breakfast in a bucket continuously add food so you do not need additional located in the kitchen which is then dumped into a storage. The greywater it produces can go directly bin in their trash collection area. The bin is emptied into the sewer system. on a regular basis by the local composting service. Biofuel Everyone knows you can’t pour used cooking oil down the drain, so what do you do with it? Convert it to biofuel! Facilities creating used cooking oil can work with a service to have it picked up on a regular basis. Often these services will even pay to take your oil from you. The biofuel that is created can be used in vehicles as a more environmentally friendly alternative to regular gasoline or diesel.


Additional Resources Natural Resource Defense Council:

Environmental Protection Agency:

Featured Member Project Member: Marriott’s MountainSide, Certified Green Lodging Property Project: Fun Recycling Area In 2012, the general manager of Marriott’s MountainSide Resort in Park City, Utah decided to have the recycle center relocated and developed into a more friendly atmosphere. This project was meant to enhance the recycling experience and to promote recycling more through the property. The previous recycle area was on a lower level of the garage with just a bin and a sign for the location. Most trash or recycling areas are usually unsightly, so MountainSide hired a local artist to give the area a much more fun and appealing look. The new location with artwork of nature and animals recycling promotes kids awareness of recycling and makes it fun. It also brings about a nice look to a normally unattractive area. The guests, especially those who have been coming for years, love the new location and the playful design around it.


Such Great Heights By Joanna Nadeau


wo thousand acres of undisturbed natural land surround the ski trail system and resort community at Stowe Mountain Resort. The land is dedicated to protect habitat for wildlife including moose, black bear, peregrine falcon, and Bicknell’s thrush. Nestled on the mountainside near the ski are and lodge, the Certified Signature Sanctuary golf course was designed with biodiversity conservation, environmental quality, and sustainable resource management in mind. For example, native seed mixes were used to re-vegetate out-of-play areas after construction, and water bodies on the course are protected with 100-foot vegetative buffers. Continuing the low-impact theme, the comfort station behind the 13th tee is equipped with a composting toilet and solar-powered lighting. Much of the food provided at resort restaurants is sourced from the Vermont Fresh Network, which distributes local products from regional farms, and a farmers market brings local farmers into the community once a week in the summer. To be a good neighbor to the agricultural lands downstream critical to the state’s economy, the precious water running through the mountain’s streams is used sparingly–and repeatedly–on resort property. Several stormwater basins catch runoff, slowing and filtering meltwater and rainwater before it leaves the property, and providing a source of “reclaimed” water for landscape maintenance, snowmaking, and golf course irrigation. Whether visitors experience the resulting natural landscape and clean air while standing knee deep


in powder, teeing off under a blue sky, or gazing through the multi-story double-paned windows at Mount Mansfield in the lodge, they are all enjoying the careful stewardship of Stowe Mountain Resort. Stowe’s environmental ethic is formalized for guests, staff, and prospective residents alike in the environmental charter, but it guides resort operations on deeper levels than guests would ever see. Stowe Mountain Resort took the lead as the first Vermont golf course to join the Signature Program in 2005 and received certification in 2007. Working with Audubon International Signature Program staff, Stowe Mountain Golf Club was designed with great care for the wildlife and mountain streams that share the property. The residential portion of the resort, Spruce Peak at Stowe, was an early member, and the first private community, in the Sustainable Communities Program when it joined in 2006. Spruce Peak is a master planned community with a variety of residences tucked into 35 acres near the base area. Stowe Mountain Resort quickly achieved the Certified Audubon International Sustainable Community designation because the master plan incorporated sustainability principles in many areas, and planning staff were willing and authorized to take action to address the rest. Last but not least, Stowe Mountain Lodge began the Green Lodging Program certification process in 2008 and currently holds a gold rating. The Lodge has driven down waste and indoor energy use with its purchasing policies, extensive recycling and composting, real time energy monitoring, automatic switches, energy-efficient lightbulbs, and more.

Water Use & Quality

When Spruce Peak came up for recertification in the Sustainable Communities Program last year, it easily demonstrated that reducing energy consumption, minimizing pollution, conserving water, and benefiting wildlife is infused in all aspects of community life.

• New stormwater filtration and reuse system to reduce runoff and extend water supplies

Recreation Opportunities • Extending an easement for rerouting of the Long Trail through the resort property

Not only in their own Economic Development Ron Apple accepts a Green Community Award backyard, Stowe Mountain from Audubon International. • Real estate brochures Resort pushes itself and shared with potential its guests ever higher to preserve the clean air, buyers outline the environmental charter and major water, and healthy ecosystems that make it a great sustainability accomplishments destination. By maintaining or improving indicators in all 11 applicable areas, Stowe Mountain Resort Ski resorts have a unique role to play in educating showed yet again that it continues to be a leader in guests and residents about sustainability of mountain stewardship of the mountain resources that make it properties. AI has partnered with the National Ski special. By sharing their story with their guests and Areas Association to further our shared goals for residents through Leave No Trace and water quality creating more sustainable recreational destinations management classes, they are working to spread the around the nation. To learn more about NSAA, visit: ethic to the world beyond so that all might help keep region’s air clean, the water pure, and wildlife slopes/ sightings abundant. The areas where SMR has most recently been innovating include:

Energy & Clean Air

Other awards received by Stowe:

• Removal of all diesel-fueled air compressors

NSAA Golden Eagle for SMR 2000 Collaborative Master Planning

NSAA Silver Eagle for food composting program in 2009

Signed NSAA Sustainable Slopes pledge in 2009

Green Mountain State’s Green Restaurant certification

Vermont Governor’s Environmental Award for Energy Efficiency Efforts in 2013

• Mountain cabins have been built to the maximum 5-star rating of the EPA’s Home Energy Rating System, including development of geothermal heating systems • New Children’s Adventure Center being built with largest geothermal system ever installed in Vermont


Build it right, and they will come! By Nancy Richardson


hen it comes to development, Audubon International has always encouraged landowners to build on in-fill or on ‘disturbed’ sites in an effort to preserve prime farmlands and old growth forests. The siting of a project is the most important exercise in the development process, and if you get the siting right, everything else will follow. In the case of Viridian in Arlington, Texas, recognizing that this particular location was perfect, was nothing short of genius. The first time I saw the site, I was concerned that the location right across from the city landfill was not the optimal location for a master planned community. Then there was the fact that other developers had tried to build there and for various reasons had walked away. But Bob Kimbel and Howard Porteus, partners in this venture, recognized this site for its potential. Knowing one of the big topics of conversation locally was the traffic jams helped them. Don’t plan on getting anywhere in the Dallas-

Fort Worth (DFW) area on time unless you allow yourself plenty of extra time and then still plan on sitting in traffic. And they knew most people looking to buy homes were forced to look far north of the area but would still be returning into the DFW area on crowded highways and local roadways. So what if you could locate a master planned community near the airport with direct access to all major roadways and with the possibility of a rail stop very nearby to take you to the theater or other activities in Dallas or Fort Worth? What if you could provide restaurants, a school, gym, pool, a movie theater, a golf course next door, a 1300-acre nature park across the street, 1000 acres of forever-wild acreage and miles of trails connecting with both big cities? Granted the soils on the Viridian land weren’t the best and the terrain was difficult, but what if you could build a community on the last piece of large open space in the area? What if? The JC KPL team took to that challenge and decided to do just that.

Development Team: (left to right) Nancy Richardson of Audubon International; Candice Roy of CCMC; Donnie Otwell, Bob Kembel, Caryn Erskine, Al Linley, and Howard Porteus of JC KPL; Mark O’Leary of SmithGroupJJR; and Ron Stephens of CCMC; not pictured are Debra Meers of JC KPL and Kim Chapman of Applied Ecological Services.


The Viridian Development, formerly known locally as the Lakes of Bird’s Fort, is a huge complex that is being built in phases. This former gravel mine site, is located along the Trinity River. When first encountered by the American military in 1841, the site was a prairie and wetland system in the bottomlands of the Trinity River. The site is 2,150 acres, and, except for the northeast natural Preserve Area and the riparian corridors, the site has been tremendously impacted by past human activities including those previous attempts at development, major alterations resulting from past mining, and flood plain reclamation work completed under previous permits. The property was also heavily used for dirt bike, motorcycle, and off-road activities, and numerous areas had been excavated. Not surprisingly, all surface water on the site was highly degraded since reclamation and restoration was

The Design

Design-wise, the Viridian community is a blend of conservation design (CD) and traditional neighborhood design (TND). CD follows a process whereby a site’s natural resources are mapped and assessed, primary and secondary protection areas are identified, and development is designed to fit in the remaining areas to the extent possible. TND uses traditional small lots and a street grid system, characteristic of older portions of cities and towns, and allows for preservation of more than 50% of the development as open space and water features. Porches face streets, and garages are accessed by an alley behind homes. By concentrating development in the northern and western portions of the site (former gravel mining areas with degraded old fields), and by protecting and restoring natural habitats along the Trinity River and other areas of open water, the Viridian development creates a conservation community with large areas of wildlife habitat which will not be developed. These protected natural areas eventually will be deeded to the River Legacy Foundation.

Protecting Water Quality

Viridian from an aeriel view

never completed. The EPA listed the Trinity River for multiple impairments, including E. coli bacteria, dioxin and PCBs in fish tissue. But wherever the location, construction always presents significant challenges to natural vegetation, surface water quality, and the health of soils. The upside to this development site is that it is an infill development in the midst of existing public infrastructure. The site is within the northern limits of the City of Arlington between Fort Worth and Dallas. It has multiple connections to the local highway network, being south of Route 10, east of North Collins Street, and west of Route 360. The Dallas Fort-Worth airport is only ten minutes north. The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) line, connecting Dallas and Fort Worth, is just north of the site; the Centre Port station will be located one half to three miles northeast of Viridian but plans are in the works for an additional rail station at the corner of North Collins and the TRE, providing a convenient stop for Viridian residents almost at their front doors.

As we all know, water is one of the most precious commodities around the world, so maintaining good water quality and improving it is something that Audubon International insists upon. Viridian is located above the Trinity Aquifer, an extension of the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer, which provides water to cities from Fort Worth to San Antonio. Viridian’s vision and plan was to reclaim and restore the water resources to maximize aesthetic and recreational benefits for the community as well as to improve wildlife habitat, water quality, and flood protection. Developments certified under Audubon International’s Signature Planning session with Program are expected (left to right) Bob to exceed conventional Kimbel, Howard Porteus construction management and Kim Chapman standards. This expectation makes it important that ecosystems, and natural processes are protected and even improved during the development process. To accomplish these goals both during and after construction, many Best Management Practices (BMP) were put in place at Viridian.


These BMPs include: •

Storm sewer inlets were fitted with sediment filters after the initial construction phases to prevent sediment from washing into Lake Viridian, creeks, and wetlands. This was not required by the City of Arlington, but was seen as important by the developer.

Haul roads and cleared areas not under construction were temporarily stabilized using techniques including erosion control mats, temporary cover crops (rye grass), and weed-free mulch or straw.

Erosion control blankets were used on steep slopes greater than 1:3, and straw wattles were used in drainage ways to prevent gullying while silt fencing was used between active construction areas and water bodies.

Because outfalls are directed to the lake, any runoff from streets is filtered before it reaches the lakes.

Future development in Phases 1, 2, and 3 will manage stormwater with a treatment train technology, focused on infiltration and filtration to protect water quality.

The project exceeded City of Arlington standards for pollution prevention (SWPP) during construction and standards in using retrofitted hydrodynamic separators for sediment and phosphorus removal.

Water Quality Monitoring

Reducing irrigation demand by using droughttolerant native Texas plants at Viridian will also help maintain water levels in Lake Viridian and reduce the need for pumping groundwater for irrigation. Ongoing monitoring of irrigation usage by residents indicates to date over 99% of households do not over-irrigate which limits runoff from their properties into the street and lakes. This is another way of protecting water quality.

Human-scape Meets Wild-scape

At the time of the site assessment of the Viridian property in 2006, common agricultural weeds covered most of the site, and cattails dominated the wetlands, so current and future restoration work includes planting emergent wetland plants and native Texas trees. Every home will be within 700 feet of a park or wild area. Viridian’s natural or wild areas are home to raptors, bobcat, coyote, and over a hundred other species of birds and mammals as well as reptiles, amphibians, and beneficial insects. Of the mammals on site, bobcats have been regularly observed using the Viridian lands. Researchers from Utah State University (Logan, Utah) Quinney School of Natural Resources captured, radio-collared and tracked movement of those bobcat to obtain information on population size, reproduction, habitat use, and territoriality. The study purpose is to map territories, continue population census, and document habitat use, and daily movement. Currently six bobcat are collared. The project will end in late 2015.

Once covered by water and swampland, University of Texas-Arlington paleontologists recently uncovered findings at Viridian of 95-millionyear-old dinosaurs, crocodiles, and other prehistoric animals. Through partnership with The Perot Museum, they have volunteers out excavating and housing the fossils and bones found for research.

Monitoring water quality on a regular basis is one of the requirements of the Signature Program. The Viridian team worked with the City of Arlington to put in place an agreement to cooperatively monitor water quality. The City of Arlington already conducted surface water monitoring in the Trinity Basin and collected water quality data at several locations in and near Viridian as part of its citywide stormwater monitoring program. With this new agreement, six sampling sites were identified and approved and analyte requirements for Audubon International monitoring were meshed with the City of Arlington’s analytes to create a list of variables


agreed upon by the City, the Viridian team and Audubon International.

At some point in time, title to the conservation lands being managed so carefully now will go to River Legacy Park across the road from Viridian, which currently owns and manages 1,300 acres of land along the Trinity River. Combining these two areas will create a large recreational opportunity for Arlington residents to use a system of trails that will eventually combine with trails from Dallas and Fort Worth.

In the end, Viridian will achieve the following environmental goals in this project: •

Preservation of 54.3 acres of post oak woodland in the northeast corner of the property

Preservation of 292.1 acres of bottomland forest called the Riparian Buffer adjacent to Hurricane Creek, Boyd Branch, and the West Fork Trinity River

The significant contributions that Viridian makes to advancing the art and practice of moving toward sustainability in the region and state are: •

Setting aside half its acreage in protected natural areas

Implementing stormwater best management practices that exceed the requirement of local ordinances

Creation of 93.9 acres of emergent wetland habitat

Committing to an ecological restoration program to improve wildlife habitat

Creation of 228.7 acres of open water habitat

27.2 acres of upland tree plantings called ‘reforestation’

Embarking on a long-term water quality monitoring program in partnership with the City of Arlington

70.8 acres of upland prairie seeding

Preservation of 6.8 acres in an archaeological site called the Arlington Archosaur Site

Partnering with a nearby nature center, River Legacy, to provide outdoor education and recreation opportunities for residents and visitors

Texas First Gold Signature Sanctuary

Phase One of Viridian is sold out. Residents are loving the location, the natural areas, the parks, the views, the wildlife, the trails and access to River Legacy Park, the recreation activities, archaeological dig, and educational programs, and are looking forward to the new commercial section under design currently. It’s pretty perfect so far.

So what happens when you think way outside the box? In the case of Viridian developers, you build a lifestyle that the City of Arlington is happy to be a part of. Yep, build it right and they will keep coming. Congratulations to the Viridian team! We all look forward to the coming years of seeing Viridian grow and to more of your asking “What if…?”

The Natural Resource Management Plan for Viridian and personal experiences were used in writing this article.

In October 2014, Viridian became the first master planned community in the state of Texas to achieve designation as a Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary. But certification is not the end; it is just the beginning. After becoming certified through the Signature Program, a project is held up as a model of sustainable planning, design, construction, and operations. It is used as a reference by others wanting to design and build with nature. Having achieved certification, Viridian is now such a project.

Viridian is the first Gold Signature Sanctuary in Texas.


On the Fairway to the Green A Visit to Pinehaven Country Club and Shaker Ridge Country Club in Upstate New York By Delphine Tseng

In February, Audubon International staff members Delphine Tseng and Tara Pepperman met with Robert Bigley, superintendent of Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland, NY and Jim Seaman, superintendent of Shaker Ridge Country Club in Loudonville, NY.


im plays the gracious host and we meet at his office at Shaker Ridge where we are greeted warmly by the resident geese dog, Lucy, a tiny black cocker spaniel with a spirit of a lion. “She actually chases geese off our course,” says Jim lovingly, petting her forehead and calming her down, “even though she’s only half of their size.” Geese dogs. That has always been a pest control solution Audubon International stands proudly behind. Shaker Ridge has been a member at Audubon International since 1995, and Jim is now trying to take one step further to help the club get back on track and become certified.


And you can just tell everything he does is to ensure his course in top notch performance. “I don’t see any reason not to join, we get to keep our course safe and as natural as possible, which we already do anyway, and we will get to do all these activities,” Jim says, gesturing to a brochure we brought with us. “It’s not just good marketing, it’s a good thing.”

The pine trees of Shaker Ridge Country Club

Robert nods in agreement. He has been the superintendent at Pinehaven Country Club for more than twenty years, and Pinehaven has been a member of Audubon for more than a decade. If you step on the first tee, you will see a sign stating that Pinehaven is working with Audubon International to make this a better, safer and more beautiful course for everyone to enjoy. “We are really trying to do much more with

much less, because of the downturn of the economy, but I don’t want to sacrifice anything.” Rob’s eyes light up as he talks about his children and grandchildren, and their first experiences playing on the golf course. “That’s one of the reason why we joined,” Rob says, “to make sure everything is safe for our next generation.”

Audubon International


He remembers the days where he would greet the school children by the school buses when they came in for a field trip. “We are bordering Pine Bush Preserve, so we have to be careful about everything we do. We will never want to harm the sanctuary for the butterflies,” he says with a tender smile. The Pine Bush Preserve is home to the Blue Karner Butterfly, an endangered species found in very few places in the United States.

Tell your guests you are proudly certified with these aluminum indoor/outdoor signs.

Going out for an 18 at Pinehaven, you will soon realize that Rob was right: they did not harm one butterfly. There are butterfly bushes, milkweed, black-eyed susans and hydrangeas blooming everywhere; you can almost smell the scent in your back swing. So you hold your stance after a marvelous follow-through, and you watch your ball land right in the middle of the fairway.

Now for only

Choose from four designs valued at $100.


including shipping!

You know you are in a good place at either of these challenging courses. Because being environmentally responsible is not just good marketing, it’s a good thing.

From left: Jim Seaman of Shaker Ridge Country Club, Tara Pepperman of Audubon International, and Robert Bigley of Pinehaven Country Club

Visit the eStore 21

Recognize the individuals in your community that help with environmental activity on your course! Make a donation of $35 or more in someone’s name and receive a certificate recognizing their service.

Our end-of-year campaign called Recognize Your Club Members, launched last November, has been so popular we have decided to continue this program as a regular offering. Several superintendents and managers participated in this program last year recognizing dozens of volunteers, committee members, and even staff. In January, we received more inquiries to see if it was still possible to recognize individuals who were active in helping facilities with environmental outreach. This program offers a great way to make your active members feel appreciated. Call us today to make a donation and recognize the important volunteers on your course.

Click Here to Donate! Or Call Today: 518-767-9051 “The response has been fantastic! I used these certificates to acknowledge several members who have been active in all areas of our outreach and education, including: bird counts, native plant tours, wildlife recording and those who helped with our kids program called Wildlife Encounters.”

Kyle Sweet, The Sanctuary Golf Club, Sanibel, FL “We have had tremendous success with this program at Sun City Hilton Head. Thank you for the opportunity to express our thanks to the dedicated members of our team.”

Janae Allen, Sun City Hilton Head Golf Course, Hilton Head, SC


New Members and New Certified Members New Members

Signature Program


Texas T. Boone Pickens Hospice & Paalative Care Center, Dallas

Ohio Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo

Sustainable Communities Program

Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh at Johnston, Johnstown

Florida Coral Bay Development District, Margate

ACSP for Golf

New Certified Members

Colorado Black Bear, Parker Blackstone, Aurora

ACSP for Golf

Florida The Concession Golf Club, Bradenton Reunion Resort, Davenport

Colorado EagleVail Golf Club, Avon Illinois Westview Golf Course, Quincy

Georgia University of Georgia Golf Course, Athens Windemere Golf Club, Cumming

Ohio Beavercreek Golf Club, Beavercreek

Illinois Alpine Hills Adventure Park and Golf Center, Rockford Canal Shores, Evanston

ACSP for Golf International

Louisiana Money Hill Golf & Country Club, Abita Springs Maryland Columbia Country Club, Chevy Chase New Jersey Beacon Hill Country Club, Atlantic Highlands North Carolina Black Mountain Golf Course, Black Mountain Ohio Safari Golf Club, Powell Pennsylvania Hartefeld National Golf Club, Avondale Texas The Clubs of Prestonwood: Creeks, Dallas The Clubs of Prestonwood: Hills, Plano The Woodlands Country Club: Player, The Woodlands The Woodlands Country Club: Palmer, The Woodlands Virginia International Country Club, Fairfax

Qatar Doha Golf Club, Doha

Green Lodging Program California Ramada Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Oregon Inn at Nye Beach, Newport Saint Kitts and Nevis St. Kittls Beach Club, Frigate Bay St. Thomas, USVI Frenchman’s Cove, St. Thomas Washington Best Western Plus Heritage Inn, Bellingham

Signature Program Texas HC LOBF Arlington, LLC, Arlington

ACSP for Golf International China Nicklaus Club Beijing, Beijing


Audubon International Sponsors Audubon International’s sponsors provide critical support that enables us to deliver high-quality environmental education and to facilitate the management of land, water, wildlife and other natural resources where people live, work, and play. These contributions have made a positive impact on our environment and we are appreciative of the sponsorship we receive for our programs and services.

As a tax-exempt, 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, Audubon International accepts donations from individuals and corporations to support our ongoing efforts in environmental outreach and education. Through programs designed to educate and inspire action, we are finding ways to work with others to make a greater impact. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Joe Madeira at

Sponsor Spotlight

Founded by Charles F. Orvis in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856, Orvis is America’s oldest mail order outfitter and longest continually-operating fly fishing business. Orvis has dedicated themselves to personal responsibility in their own lives and to collective efforts for the restoration, enhancement, and ultimately the long-term protection of these last great wild places. Orvis commits 5% of pretax profits to protecting and sustaining the natural world and has donated more than $14 million to various organizations over the past 25 years.


Audubon International Partners Audubon International partners with organizations to help support our mission. These mutuallybeneficial partnerships involve the sharing of expertise and resources, collaboration on projects, and cross-promotion. Through our partners we are able to expand our impact and more effectively meet our environmental goals.

Audubon International is always looking to partner with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions for collaboration opportunities. If you are interested in becoming a partner, please contact Katie Hopkins at

Partner Spotlight The National Ski Areas Association is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. The 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. It represents 325 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. NSAA analyzes and distributes ski industry statistics; produces annual conferences and tradeshows; produces a bimonthly industry publication and is active in state and federal government affairs. The association also provides educational programs and employee training materials on industry issues including OSHA, ADA and NEPA regulations and compliance; environmental laws and regulations; state regulatory requirements; aerial tramway safety; and resort operations and guest service.


Help Us Help the Environment Make a tax-deductible donation today!

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