Stewardship News Winter 2022-23

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STEWARDSHIP NEWS WINTER 2022-23 Why Water Quality Matters Celebrating 35 Years of Sustainability How Far We’ve Come | Where We’re Headed Sherwood Forest: A Certified Original Superintendent Spotlight: Indian River





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Thirty-Five Years In, Our Partnerships are More Vital than Ever

Over the multibillion-year history of planet Earth, 35 years is less than a microscopic speck of time.

But for Audubon International, our partners and members, it’s an epoch of sure and steady progress in our ongoing, vital effort to make environmental stewardship and sustainability priority one for the golf, resort and hospitality industries—and, more recently, the commercial office building sector as well. As Chief Executive Officer, I’m honored and humbled to be part of that effort, and thank the expert educators on our growing staff, all of our private and public partners—and, most importantly, the superintendents and property managers who implement and help improve our services—for making our mission a reality.

The roots of Audubon International are more than a century deep. We started as the Audubon Society of New York State during the days of Theodore Roosevelt, when America first focused in a mass way on preserving our nation’s, and the planet’s, irreplaceable natural wonders and resources. We were a more traditional conservation group at that time—more bird focused, in the wake of John James Audubon’s research, stories and drawings, and working with individuals on a number of wildlife protection efforts. In the late 1980s, as the organization grew and our connections broadened, we began to redefine and revitalize our mission toward sustainability, and we’re still growing and changing. After all, the ways we view nature and climate have changed, particularly during the pandemic.

Audubon International is a non-profit organization that has found a way to work primarily with businesses who are looking for ways to improve environmental practices and build their sustainability knowledge. We help with property management so they can implement outdoor sustainable practices themselves or improve indoor energy efficiency. Along with golf courses and resort properties, we work with corporate office parks, cemeteries, and public park spaces, with the overarching goal of keeping them all in balance with nature, now and for the long haul.

Led by our Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, our six certification options remain at the core of our mission. We offer valuable third-party validation for what you’ve accomplished and are continuing to do to contribute to your property as well as your neighborhood and community, and therefore to the global community. We’ve come a long way, but we can go so much farther, together.

Thank you for learning, growing and excelling with us over the last three and a half decades. Here’s to a sustainable future for decades to come.

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CEO CORNER 518.767.9051 | Toll-free 1.844.767.9051 Audubon International Headquarters 120 Defreest Drive, Troy, NY 12180


Christine Kane, Chief Executive Officer

Fred Realbuto, Chief Operating Officer

Frank LaVardara, Director, Environmental Programs for Golf

Katie Apple, Member Services Director

Alison Davy, Finance and Operations Manager

Bill Brown, Ph.D., Director, Conservation Initiatives

Kat Welch, Director, Signature Sanctuary Certification

Scott Turner, Environmental Program Manager


Henry DeLozier, Chairman Rich Katz, Vice Chairman Matt Ceplo, Treasurer Marvin Moriarty, Secretary Jennifer Grant, Ph.D. Dan Murphy Jake Riekstins

James Singerling, CCM Randy Winegard


Vic Williams, Editor | Katie Freeman, Designer

Stewardship News is published quarterly in digital-only form by Audubon International, 120 Defreest Drive, Troy, New York 12180. Copyright© 2022 Audubon International. No material may be reproduced without written permission. Previous issues available by visiting All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


1 CEO Corner by Christine Kane

Chairman’s Corner by Henry DeLozier

News Briefs

Dr. Bill Brown joins Audubon International Team CEO Christine Kane attends Golf Inc. Summit Turfgrass Management in Canada WaterIQ Technologies Partnership AI Members Install Australia’s epar System

Best Practices: Water Quality Monitoring

Certifications, Recertifications and 25/20/10-Year Milestones 16 35 Years of Stewardship: Audubon International celebrates a landmark anniversary and looks to a bright future, Plus: Honoring Collier’s Reserve 22 Superintendent Spotlight: A Q&A with Robert Wallace, Course Superintendent at Florida’s Indian River Club 26 Golf Course Spotlight: North Carolina’s Sherwood Forest rings in one year of ACSP Certification 30 ACSP for Business Spotlight: Niagara College marks five years 32

Green Lodging Spotlight: Marriott Desert Springs, Palm Desert, California 34 On The Horizon: Utah’s Wohali takes sustainable shape

On the Cover: The 12th hole at Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Naples Florida, which in January 1994 became Audubon International’s firstever certified Signature Sanctuary member. Photo by Evan Dowling, CineVista Media, Courtesy of Collier’s Reserve.

News |
Audubon International
Winter 2022-23


Launching into the Next Generation

In the three decades and more since Audubon International was formed, environmental sustainability is now of ever greater importance. As Audubon International celebrates its 35th anniversary, it is good to return to the basic values that have engaged thousands of golf courses and clubs, hospitality venues, and businesses.

Our mission continues to be to create environmentally sustainable environments where people live, work, and play. We remain devoted to our mission while inviting others to join us.

Audubon International is on solid financial footing thanks to the considerable efforts of Christine Kane, our CEO, and her terrific team working from our Troy, New York, headquarters. Christine and the AI leadership team have adroitly navigated the financial threats of the novel coronavirus pandemic to keep Audubon International financially fit and prepared to continually fulfill its mission.

The AI Board is made up of such servant leaders as Matt Ceplo, now a horticulture specialist after a 30-year career as a golf course superintendent in New York; Jennifer Grant, an entomologist and IPM expert recently retired from Cornell University ; Rich Katz, marketing and business strategist now serving as CEO at Katz Strategy in the Washington, DC area; Marvin Moriarty, a birder from Massachusetts after 40 years of service with the US Fish & Wildlife Service; Dan Murphy, CEO of Bridgestone Golf in Georgia; Jake Riekstins, Chief Development Officer at Landscapes Unlimited after 20+ years as a golf course superintendent, and Jim Singerling, former CEO of the Club Management Association of America. The AI Board of Directors has updated the strategic plan for the organization and provides good counsel and support to the AI mission.

More than 2,000 members participate in certification programs that focus on reducing water and chemical usage, increasing wildlife habitat areas, saving energy, and more. Six dedicated certification programs include the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP), ACSP for Golf, Green Hospitality and Green Lodging, the Signature Sanctuary, and the Sustainable Communities Program. We are proud that so many have joined the cause and always encourage more to join us.

Three conservation initiatives actively support our mission: BioBlitz, Monarchs in the Rough, and the Raptor Relocation Network.

Launching into its next generation with purpose and determination to be of good service, Audubon International is prepared to make the earth and our use of it even better.

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Audubon International Welcomes New Director of Conservation Initiatives

“The first thing I want to do is learn about Audubon International itself and their various programs, primarily Monarchs in the Rough,” Dr. Brown says. “Then, moving forward, re-engage folks. I’ll look to enhance the programs and identify new ones.”

Dr. Brown’s experience includes completing bird surveys over much of North America, practicing integrated pest management on large estates, and conducting extensive field research with birds and insects. He taught biology and environmental science courses at the college level for 15 years and has published over 30 research papers in leading journals, many of them with undergraduate students. He earned a BS degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University, and MS and PhD degrees in Entomology and Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware.

As the world and the golf and hospitality industries continue to recover from the pandemic and look toward continued growth while treading more lightly on the planet, Audubon International’s new Director of Conservation Initiatives is keen on reengaging with course superintendents and broadening the organization’s conservation efforts in new ways.

Raised in Pulaski, N.Y., and now living and working in the state’s Finger Lakes region, Dr. Bill Brown took on his new post in mid-October, with responsibilities for the Monarchs in the Rough, Raptor Relocation Network, and BioBlitz programs. He brings to Audubon International a deep resume and studying, writing about and teaching about the natural world, and welcomes the opportunity to apply his expertise to those key programs.

“I grew up north of Syracuse, near Lake Ontario, and that rural, outside upbringing that I wanted to continue. My initial interest was wildlife, but I realized that’s more than fish and mammals — it includes insects, and wildflowers, and all kinds of stuff. I expanded my rural upbringing to more of an academic perspective.”

Bill enjoys spending time with his family, wildlife photography, and birding when time allows. By joining the Audubon International staff he can put his passion and expertise into action for current and future members.

“It’s the conservation aspect — the Monarchs in the Rough program in particular, but then the other programs as well. That’s what attracted me to the job.”

4 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23 NEWS BRIEFS

Audubon International CEO Leads Golf Inc. Sustainability Panel

In October, Audubon International CEO Christine Kane was joined by two GCSAA Certified superintendents at the Resort at Kiawah Island for a 2022 Golf Inc. Summit presentation titled “Sustainability: How To Promote It While Enhancing the Bottom Line.”

The presentation was attended by golf course and resort owners and developers from across the country. Kane’s wide-ranging discussion included an overview of Audubon International’s mission, the various environmental challenges facing today’s golf course properties, sustainability trends in the marketplace and public opinion, success stories and examples of sustainable design for outdoor and indoor settings, construction and natural resource management practices, communication and outreach and member benefit analysis.

Following Kane’s presentation, two golf course superintendents — Jim Pavonetti of Fairview Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut and Mitchell Wilkerson of Moss Creek in Hilton Head, South Carolina, led attendees through slide shows detailing environmentally sound improvements they’ve made to maintain or recertify their courses’ Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program certification status.

Pavonetti led the way for Fairview Country Club to achieve the designation of Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. He was rewarded with the Metropolitan Golf Association Arthur P. Weber Environmental Leader in Golf Award in 2019 and earned the Environmental Leaders in Golf Award by the GCSAA seven times between 2006 and 2021. In 2021 he was featured in Golf Digest for his environmental conservation contributions to the field.

A graduate of Mississippi State in Turfgrass Management, Wilkerson has been a golf course superintendent for 35 years and was president of the Carolina’s GCSAA in 2008.

Moss Creek’s two golf courses became Certified Sanctuary Golf Courses in 2012 under his direction. In 2021 he was awarded the Innovative Conservation Award from GCSAA, a worldwide award for exemplary, long-term commitment to the environment.

Kane will return to Kiawah in January for the PGA Magazine Summit. In addition to attending the conference, Christine will be on a panel session to help share AI’s story as an expert, and AI will also receive editorial spotlights in PGA Magazine and its e-newsletters that reach all PGA of America golf members.

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The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort.

Audubon International, Canadian University Forge Turfgrass Management Partnership

This fall, Audubon International began a new partnership with the Diploma in Turfgrass Management (DTM) program at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada to provide assistance training students in the areas of environmental sustainability, ethical land stewardship and stakeholder communications.

As part of the partnership, Audubon International will provide the University access to its newly released 3rd edition of “A Guide to Environmental Stewardship on the Golf Course” for students enrolled in classes titled “Turf Environmental Management” and “Turf Case Studies” during the fall and winter semesters.

“We are pleased to help train the next generation of golf course superintendents and turfgrass managers,” said Frank LaVardera, Director of Environmental Programs for Golf for Audubon International. “With this training, these individuals will better understand the relationship between turf management and the environment, ensuring best management practices are utilized, which will result in environmental sustainability wherever they may work.”

DTM is a 20-month long program at the University of Guelph that provides students with hands-on learning opportunities and realworld experience for a wide array of career

opportunities, including golf course management, lawn care, sports field management, parks management, sod production and related supply and service businesses.

“Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program core philosophies and success stories have proven to be valuable teaching tools in our classroom,” said Cameron Shaw, Manager of University of Guelph’s DTM Program. “We are particularly excited about Audubon International making its newly updated guide accessible to our students as it will not only help them identify key principles in sustainability, but allow them to observe case studies and real-world stories being implemented successfully by current industry leaders.”

DTM requires a minimum 15-week industry co-op/internship and students have historically landed internships at golf courses and other turfgrass-based enterprises across Canada as well as in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Germany and the Caribbean. Graduates of the program are in high demand within the turfgrass industry across Canada and internationally.

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Audubon International, WaterIQ Technologies Partner to Fight Algae Bloom

FrankLaVardera, Audubon International’s Director of Environmental Programs for Golf, recently joined Lawrence Field, CEO of WaterIQ Technologies, and Storm Water Solutions Managing Editor Katie Johns on SWS’ “Dropping In” video series to discuss their new partnership to help member golf courses battle blue-green algae infestation in their water features.

WaterIQ utilizes cutting-edge ultrasonic technology to kill and control algae in ponds. AI’s expertise in educating and certifying golf courses in sustainable practices will help spread this technology to current and future members.

“WaterIQ’s technology is certainly a sustainable practice,” LaVardara said in the video. “We look forward to working with their staff and allowing our members to take advantage of these types of technologies.”

Added Lawrence Field, CEO of Water IQ Technologies: “Our mission is to restore water to its original quality, and our partnership with Audubon International will allow us to ensure properties are safe, aesthetically pleasing and welcoming to wildlife. I met Frank last year at the Golf Course Superintendents Show, and asked him how Water IQ Technologies could support the good work Audubon International is performing. We consulted with staff and developed this partnership.”

The longer-term goal of the partnership is to identify and build on blue-green algae-free water sustainability practices not only for courses but for entire communities and municipalities. Johns asked Field what the steps are to achieve that goal.

“The steps are about education and also about providing research to Audubon International, specifically on golf courses. We plan on providing research. For example, we just completed a project with the University of Florida to [test our ultrasonic] units in a double-blind test. We were

able to kill 80 percent of the blue-green algae in our units that were turned on. In those that were turned off, the water quality declined by 30 percent. The good news is that there was no harm in the surrounding zoo plankton or bio plankton. We plan to share that research with the Audubon community, and plan to do other research with them.”

LaVardara welcomes the opportunity to integrate WaterIQ’s know-how into AI’s already robust education program. “We have roughly 2,000 course members who we provide certification, but also technical assistance and information about ways they can operate their courses with more sustainable practices,” LaVardara. “We are always looking for entities like Water IQ to provide those sorts of technologies and help our course properties overcome problems. We look forward to doing webinars and technical bulletins that we can email to our members so they can avail themselves of their technology.”

“We think Audubon International is a beacon for the world and we want to support what they’re doing,” Field continued. “By teaming up with Audubon International, we think we can accelerate both of our missions. Knowledge can be power, and we are both here to educate.”

Watch the video.

7 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23 NEWS BRIEFS

Five Australian Clubs Put epar Partnership Into Play

In June, Audubon International announced a new partnership with Australian company epar that will extend its worldwide footprint and help influence, build and recognize Australian golf as a sustainable, compliant and climate-smart sport.

Connect 2.0, epar’s innovative RegTech technology, has completely digitized the pathway of the award-winning Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program’s six-part certification. This new cloud-based approach will provide richer and faster sustainability insights into every Australian golf course and recognize and reward their efforts.

As the summer season kicks into gear Down Under, the partnership is producing results. In November, epar announced that five clubs are ready to implement its system: Manly Golf Club, Royal Hobart, Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club, Margaret River Golf Club, and Maleny Golf Club.

“We are happy to see such great enthusiasm around our partnership with epar,” says Christine Kane, Audubon International CEO. “And, we’re honored to have the leadership of these prestigious clubs to start us off.”

Based in Broadmeadow NSW Australia, epar works with like-minded sport sustainability allies to explore and develop innovative netzero approaches, technologies, and naturebased climate change solutions that address the fundamental sustainability challenges facing golf.

“This new alliance is a perfect fit for both sides and Audubon International is beyond excited for the opportunity to extend its reach Down Under and help Australian golf courses develop and execute a plan that will protect the environment and promote sustainability,” said Kane.

“This collaboration will allow us to share golf’s leading certification recognition program with clubs throughout Australia,” said epar Founder and CEO Terry Muir. “This partnership

builds on a common shared vision between our organizations, and we are excited to enable all Australian golf clubs access to the latest technology and information in support of golf’s action on sustainability and climate change.”

For 20 years, epar has helped clients build sustainability action strategies into their operations and mitigate the risks that come with managing a golf facility. Along with parent company Environmental Business Solutions, epar works with clients to build capabilities –from identifying and measuring impacts, to scenario planning, to reporting on sustainable achievements, and maintaining a safe environment that will thrive in a low carbon future.

8 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23 NEWS BRIEFS


Sense-able Water Quality Monitoring

Yes,it IS all about the water. These days, water quality is more critical than ever to your golf course’s sustainability and general well-being — and to keeping players filling the tee sheet.

That’s why Audubon International’s water quality monitoring program is central to all of its certifications and a valuable tool to assess the effectiveness of your Best Management Practices.

In addition to zeroing in on the source of your irrigation water to inform your agronomic management decisions — certainly key to your day-to-day on-course activities as well — this monitoring program employs sound scientific principles to help confirm that you are employing the correct management strategies. That data, in turn, helps you communicate to all stakeholders that your water features and sources are in healthy balance.

Your monitoring success is based on a two-pronged approach: Visual and olfactory (sight and smell) inspection, and water quality sampling and testing. Employ both on a regular basis and you’ll get the information you need to make your management efforts as effective as possible.

You need just a bit of time and little to no equipment to do a thorough sight-and-smell water quality survey. It simply involves looking at the water and surrounding land and noting what you see and smell, including invasive aquatic species. But “simple” doesn’t mean inconsequential; indeed, it’s an important aspect of environmental monitoring. By

collecting information on a regular basis, you’ll find a baseline of normal conditions and record changes over time.

When you “watch” your water bodies, make sure to write down any abnormalities noted, as well as the date, time of day, previous and current weather conditions, previous chemical applications in the area, and any other changes that could cause the abnormality. Patterns will

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emerge, as well potential courses of action.

As you’d expect, quality sampling programs involve a deeper data dive than visual inspections. The information they render will help you assess the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water on your property — and how well those characteristics support the health of aquatic environments. You’ll also get a clear take on the sustainability of your turf management activities and the success of your conservation efforts.

Your monitoring program can vary from simple (limited number of sampling locations, limited number of parameters) to more complex (extensive sampling of different kinds of water features, greater number of parameters, stream biodiversity surveys, etc.).

To best assess the impact of your effects, you’ll need to collect upstream and downstream samples — where water enters and exits the course.

Topographical maps of your course will help you identify the best spots for sampling. You can then identify them by GPS coordinates and use the same locations for each sampling event — a valuable baseline for identifying any changes or trends in water quality over time. Your irrigation water source can sometimes provide your upstream sample depending on the topography of your course.

Once you’ve got your sampling program dialed in, repeat it quarterly during the first year or two, once each season to gain approval of the Water Quality Management certification component. Armed with baseline data, you can switch to semi-annual sampling unless problems arise such as an unintended chemical release or an acute environmental issue (algal bloom, fish kill, etc.). You will need the results of the semi-annual sampling to obtain ACSP recertification.

You and your team can analyze water quality with do-it-yourself test kits and meters, or via commercial and/or university laboratories. Each method has pros and cons, so be sure to evaluate them as you develop your water monitoring program development. For example, meters will measure water temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, and conductivity/salinity. Though

easy to use, they are more expensive than test kits and require regular calibration and maintenance for consistent accuracy. Field test kits are less expensive but the results may not reach regulatory agency standards and can be prone to cross contamination issues.

For the ACSP, water quality testing should include the following:

Physical Characteristics: dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and specific conductivity

Nutrients: Total nitrogen (the sum of kjeldahl nitrogen and nitrate-nitrite) and total phosphorus

For more information regarding water quality monitoring, consult Chapter 6 of Audubon International’s new 3rd Edition “A Guide to Environmental Stewardship on the Golf Course” document.

Questions? Feel free to call our office at (518) 767-9051.

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Berksdale Golf Course California

Redwood Canyon Golf Course

Foxtail Golf Club


Maroon Creek Club TPC Colorado Delaware

Bidermann Golf Course/ Vicmead Hunt Club Florida

Quail Creek Country Club

Riviera Country Club Maryland

Laytonsville Golf Course Maine

Biddeford-Saco Country Club

North Carolina

Sherwood Forest Golf Club New Jersey

Canoe Brook Country Club Nevada

Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course New York

Sunningdale Country Club Ohio

Ellsworth Meadows Golf Club Oregon

Illahe Hills Country Club

South Carolina

IGM @ Brays Island Plantation Course Tennessee

Wild Laurel Virginia

IGM @ Lake of the Woods Canada

Club de Golf de la Vallée du Richelieu

Niakwa Country Club Mexico

Rancho San Lucas Golf Club Taiwan

Horng-Shee Tai-Ping Golf Course



Sheraton Desert Oasis Florida

Seaside Amelia Inn



Pottawatomie Golf Course, Illinois

Portland Country Club, Maine

Wade Hampton Golf Club, North Carolina

Somerset Hills Country Club, New Jersey

Widgi Creek Golf Club, Oregon

Royal Oaks Country Club, Washington

The Royal Montreal Golf Club, Quebec, Canada


Pasatiempo Golf Club, California

Valley Country Club, Colorado Country Club of Naples, Florida

The Moorings Country Club, Florida

The Landings Club - Plantation & Palmetto, Georgia

Jester Park Golf Course, Iowa

Heritage Bluffs Public Golf Club, Illinois

IGM @ Widow’s Walk Golf Course, Massachusetts Birnamwood Golf Course, Minnesota

Theodore Wirth Golf Course, Minnesota

Brier Creek Country Club, North Carolina

The Currituck Club, North Carolina

Laurel Creek Country Club, New Jersey

Columbia Golf & Country Club, New York

Mohonk Golf Course, New York TPC River’s Bend, Ohio

Kingwood Country Club, Texas Keswick Hall and Golf Club, Virginia Hacienda Pinilla, Costa Rica Reserva Conchal Golf Club, Costa Rica


Boundary Oak Golf Course, California

Wee Burn Country Club, Connecticut

Glades Golf and Country Club, Florida Hideaway Beach, Florida

The Country Club at Mirasol, Florida Bear’s Best Atlanta, Georgia

The Creek Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Georgia

Baker Hill Golf Club, New Hampshire

Heron Glen Golf Course, New Jersey

Piping Rock Club, New York

New Albany Country Club, Ohio

Juniper Golf Course, Oregon Merion Golf Club, Pennsylvania

Moss Creek Owners Association, South Carolina

Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club, Texas TPC San Antonio, Texas

1757 Golf Club, Virginia

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Country Club of Virginia, Tuckahoe Creek, Virginia

The Foundry Golf Club, Virginia

Guangzhou Foison Golf Club Haworth Course, China


Barona Creek Golf Club, California (Bronze)

Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, Colorado (Bronze)

Chatham 1 Complex (The Villages), Florida (Silver)

Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, Florida (Silver)

The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek, South Carolina (Silver)


Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, City of Plano, Texas


Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, Massachusetts

Lake Clear Lodge & Retreat, New York

Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club, Aruba

Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club, Aruba

The Addison on Amelia Island Hampton Inn & Suites, Amelia Island Residence Inn by Marriott - Amelia Island Courtyard & SpringHill Suites by Marriott



Mountain Top Payne’s Valley Buffalo Ridge Ozarks National Top of the Rock Mexico Twin Dolphin Golf Club


Illinois Village of Hawthorn Woods RECERTIFICATIONS SINCE JANUARY 2021



JW Marriott Starr Pass Golf Club

JW Marriott Wildfire Golf Club

JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club

The Westin Kierland Golf Club

Paradise Valley Country Club California

Crystal Springs Golf Course

Spyglass Hill Golf Course

Del Monte Golf Course

Lake Tahoe Golf Course

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Mather Golf Course

Little River Inn Golf & Tennis Metropolitan Golf Links Valley Oaks Golf Course

Callippe Preserve Golf Course

Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Golf Club

The Course at Wente Vineyards Alta Vista Country Club Classic Club

TPC Stonebrae

Boundary Oak Golf Course

La Cumbre Country Club The Oaks Club at Valencia Colorado

Breckenridge Golf Club

Aspen Golf Club

Colorado Springs Country Club Valley Country Club

Sonnenalp Golf Club West Woods Golf Club

Flatirons Golf Course

The Glacier Club

The Ridge at Castle Pines North The Club at Flying Horse Ute Creek Golf Course

Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course

SouthRidge Golf Course Collindale Golf Course

Connecticut TPC River Highlands Simsbury Farms Golf Course The Golf Club at Oxford Greens Country Club of Darien Delaware

Peninsula Golf & Country Club Fieldstone Golf Club


Hole-in-the-Wall Golf Club

Olde Florida Golf Club

TPC Sawgrass

Royal Poinciana Golf Club

Floridian National Golf Club

Old Marsh Golf Club

Foxfire Golf & Country Club Country Club of Florida

Lemon Bay Golf Club

Interlachen Country Club

Harbour Ridge Yacht & Country Club

The Club at Quail Ridge

Naples Lakes Country Club

Hammock Dunes Club – Oceanfront Links Course

Tiburon Golf Club

Pelican’s Nest Golf Club

Pelican Marsh Golf Club

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Country Club of Naples

Pelican Sound Golf & River Club

Hammock Dunes Club – The Creek Course

Stonebridge Country Club

Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club

Links at Boynton Beach

Marriott’s Grande Vista Golf Club

Isleworth Country Club

Marriott The Rookery at Marco Island

The Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club

Southwinds Golf Course

TPC Treviso Bay Golf Club

St. Andrews Club Inc.

Osprey Point Golf Course (Classic Program)

Eastpointe Country Club – East Course

Sugar Mill Country Club

Heritage Oaks Golf and Country Club

Naples Heritage Golf & Country Club Inc.

Hideaway Beach

The Country Club at Mirasol

Glades Golf and Country Club

The Club at Olde Cypress

Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club

Kelly Greens Golf & Country Club

Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter Georgia

The Landings Club – Deer Creek

The Landings Club – Oakridge

The Landings Club – Marshwood & Magnolia

The Landings Club – Plantation & Palmetto

Marriott Stone Mountain Golf Club

Stonebridge Golf Club

The Landing at Reynolds Lake Oconee

The Creek Club at Reynolds Lake Oconee

Nonami Plantation Golf Course


Elmcrest Country Club

Des Moines Golf & Country Club

Glynns Creek Golf Course


The Valley Club


Countryside Golf Club

Pottawatomie Golf Course

North Shore Country Club

Sandy Hollow Golf Course

Bryn Mawr Country Club

Skokie Country Club

Heritage Bluffs Public Golf Club

Lake of the Woods Golf Course

TPC Deere Run

Glencoe Golf Club

The Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Club

Heritage Oaks Golf Club

Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University

Urbana Country Club

Indiana Victoria National Golf Club

Warren Golf Course

Elcona Country Club


Lake Quivira Country Club

St. Andrews Golf Course

Sand Creek Station Golf Course

Sykes/Lady Overland Park Golf Club


Hyannisport Club

Winchester Country Club

Olde Scotland Links Golf Course

Dedham Country and Polo Club

Boston Golf Club

Concord Country Club

Needham Golf Club


Chevy Chase Club

Compass Pointe Golf Courses Needwood Golf Course Poolesville Golf Course

Piney Branch Golf Club

Turf Valley Resort Maine

Portland Country Club

Bangor Municipal Golf Course


Crystal Downs Country Club Sanctuary Lake Golf Course Minnesota

Baker National Golf Course, Minnesota Woodhill Country Club

White Bear Yacht Club Birnamwood Golf Course

Braemar Golf Course Meadowbrook Golf Club

Somerby Golf Club Keller Golf Course Dwan Golf Course


Rising Sun @ Mountain Sky

North Carolina

Carmel Country Club

Wade Hampton Golf Club

The Currituck Club

Highlands Country Club

The Country Club of North Carolina

Cypress Landing Golf Club

New Hampshire

Amherst Country Club

Bald Peak Colony Club

Baker Hill Golf Club

Eastman Golf Links

Sagamore Hampton Golf Club New Jersey

Ridgewood Country Club

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Somerset Hills Country Club

Brooklake Country Club

TPC Jasna Polana

Laurel Creek Country Club

Neshanic Valley Golf Course

Spring Brook Country Club

Heron Glen Golf Course

New Mexico

Quail Run Golf Course


TPC Summerlin Wildhorse Golf Club New York

Westchester Country Club

Leatherstocking Golf Course

The College Golf Course at Delhi

Mohonk Golf Course

Century Country Club

Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort

Millbrook Golf and Tennis Club

Silver Lake Golf Course


Moraine Country Club

Briardale Greens Golf Course

New Albany Country Club

Beavercreek Golf Club

Safari Golf Club at The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium


The Oregon Golf Club

Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club

Widgi Creek Golf Club

Crosswater Golf Club

Tualatin Country Club

Bandon Dunes

Bandon Preserve Bandon Trails Pacific Dunes Old Macdonald

Juniper Golf Course

Eastmoreland Golf Course


Chester Valley Golf Club, Pennsylvania

Lords Valley Country Club

Lehigh Country Club

Lederach Golf Club

Hershey Country Club – East Course

Hershey Country Club – West Course

Country Club of York

Merion Golf Club

Aronimink Golf Club

Mount Airy #1 LLC

Rhode Island

Newport National Golf Club – Orchard Course

South Carolina

Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines Resort

Heron Point at Sea Pines Resort

Cheraw State Park Golf Course

Oldfield Club

Daniel Island Golf Club

Moss Creek Owners Association

Palmetto Hall Golf and Country Club


Paris Landing State Park Golf Course

Warriors’ Path State Park Golf Course

Marriott Gaylord Springs Golf Links


Lakeside Country Club

Timarron Country Club

Kingwood Country Club Pecan Hollow Golf Course

Lake Arlington Golf Course

TPC San Antonio

Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club

The Retreat

Austin Country Club


Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club

Birdwood Golf Course at UVA

The Club at Creighton Farms

Westfields Golf Club

Ocean View Golf Course

1757 Golf Club

The Foundry Golf Club

Country Club Of Virginia, Tuckahoe Creek Golf Course

Springfield Golf and Country Club


The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge Maplewood Golf Course

The Golf Club at Newcastle Sun Willows Golf Course

Wisconsin Wausau Country Club


The Powder Horn Golf Club Teton Pines Country Club


Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club

Innisfail Golf Club

The Glencoe Golf and Country Club

Earl Grey Golf Club

D’Arcy Ranch Golf Club

Royal Mayfair Golf Club

The Winston Golf Club

Canmore Golf & Curling Club

Point Grey Golf and Country Club

Cordova Bay Golf Course

Capilano Golf and Country Club

Uplands Golf Club

Tsawwassen Springs

Oakdale Golf and Country Club

St. Thomas Golf and Country Club

The Thornhill Club

Hamilton Golf and Country Club

Granite Golf Club

14 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23


Wooden Sticks Golf Club

Westview Golf Club

Markland Wood Golf Club

Greensmere Golf and Country Club

Niagara Parks Commission – Legends on the Niagara

The Royal Montreal Golf Club

Whitlock Golf and Country Club

Beaconsfield Golf Club

Club de Golf Memphremagog (S.E.C.)


Guangzhou Foison Golf Club Haworth Course

Guangzhou Foison Golf Club Dye Course

Costa Rica

Reserva Conchal Golf Club

La Iguana Golf Course/Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort

Hong Kong

The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course Ltd.


Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Berhad

Singapore National Service Resort & Country Club


Tsai Hsing Elite Club

United Kingdom

Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Marriott St. Pierre Hotel & Country Club



Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.


City Park, City of Fort Collins

Edora Park, City of Fort Collins

Rolland Moore Park, City of Fort Collins

Fossil Creek Park, City of Fort Collins

Spring Canyon Park, City of Fort Collins

Lee Martinez Park, City of Fort Collins

Grandview Cemetery, City of Fort Collins


ACT, Inc.

North Carolina

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

New York

White Haven Memorial Park


University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

South Carolina

Hilton Head Public Service District (PSD)


Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, City of Plano

Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, City of Plano Wisconsin

Westfields Hospital & Clinic Canada

Fairmont Banff Springs, Hotel Grounds



Granite Bay Golf Club

Barona Creek Golf Club

Connecticut Bull’s Bridge Golf Club, Inc Florida

St. James Bay Golf Club

Lost Key Golf Club

Collier’s Reserve Country Club Bonita Bay Club Naples (East)

The Old Collier Golf Club

Sarasota National Golf Club

The Villages Executive (Belvedere 1 Complex)

The Villages Executive (Big Cypress 1 Complex)

The Villages Executive (Chatham 1 Complex)

The Villages Executive (Duval/Double Palms 1 Complex)

The Villages Executive (King Fisher 1 Complex)

The Villages Executive (Sunset Point/Key Largo 1 Complex)

Marriott Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club

Indian River Club

Old Palm Foundation C/O United Community Management Corp

Osprey Point Golf Course Evergrene

Parkland Golf & Country Club Mississippi

The Preserve Golf Club New York

Kaluhyat, Shenendoah & Sandstone Hollow Golf Clubs at Turning Stone Resort Ohio

Washington Golf Learning Center Sand Ridge Golf Club Oregon Tetherow Golf Club Texas

Viridian Holdings, LP Tierra Verde Golf Club Kissing Tree Golf Club Vermont

The Club at Spruce Peak - The Mountain Course Washington Chambers Bay Golf Course



Rio Verde Community Association Georgia

The Landings on Skidaway Island North Carolina

Town of Williamston South Carolina

Town of Hilton Head Island Oldfield Community Association Vermont Spruce Peak

15 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23

Audubon International at 35

Where We’re Going, Where We Are, Where We’re Headed

It’s an exciting, gratifying and, yes, challenging time for Audubon International.

Exciting because, as the organization marks its 35th anniversary, our reach to and partnership with golf courses, resorts, hotels, other business and entire communities continues to grow exponentially, and 2023 promises to be one of our most productive years yet. Our staff of experts, including Bill Brown, Ph.D., our new Director of Conservation Initiatives, continues to expand alongside our membership base.

Gratifying because the world at large seems to be “catching up” with us in terms of concern for and commitment to preserving the planet’s natural resources — and paying deep attention to the science and human know-how that will contribute to keeping the places we live, work and play in better balance with the natural world. The Audubon International team remains at the cutting edge of this work, but we truly couldn’t do

it without the day-to-day, on-the-ground efforts of our thousands of certified members.

Challenging because climate change continues to dictate where and how we, and you, put our expertise and commitment to work for the greatest benefit for all. And it’s not going away anytime soon. But, after 35 years of success, we’re confident that together we will do our part, and more, to put our science into practice on a larger and more efficient scale than ever.

To help mark this milestone, I’ve asked Audubon International leadership a couple quick but important questions:

— During your tenure at AI, what has inspired you about the organization’s mission and growth?

— What are your short- and long-term goals to help AI build on its reputation as the leader in the golf/resort/hotel sustainability sector?

Here are their answers.

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“In my 23 years with Audubon International I have certainly seen a lot of changes. I think I’m most impressed with the resiliency of the mission, the simple mission of helping people help the environment where they live work and play. I realize that it has changed slightly over the years, but I have put out the clear message that we all can make a difference. Our members make a difference and it’s important that an organization like ours be there to help recognize them for their accomplishments, that resonates with their own members, their peers, and the communities that they do business in.

My short and long-term goals are similar. I want to continue to solidify the Audubon International Green Lodging program as the benchmark and standard for certification/ recognition in the lodging industry.”

“I’m consistently inspired by our member’s impact on the environment throughout the world. Our certification standards and recommendations continue to lead our members to sustainable success while helping the environment and their bottom line at the same time.

One of my short and long-term goals is to continue updating and expanding on our certification focus areas with the help of our industry partners; ensuring our organization and members evolve with technology and continue to be leaders in sustainable design, construction and long term management.

A second goal is to continue expanding on membership base to include all golf courses and resorts that have an interest and goal to be environmentally sustainable.”

“I feel most inspired by our members who have been with us for the majority of our 35 years. When I have the opportunity to speak with someone from one of these properties, their enthusiasm for their work with us is evident! I appreciate that Audubon International has been able to grow in its mission and reach while remaining valuable to those members who have been with us from the start.

I aim for our members to feel connected to the day-to-day reliability of our staff and the services we provide. In the long-term, I’d like for us to keep striving to provide our members with the resources they want and need in the ways that are most convenient for them.”

“What has inspired me the most is our ability to help our members implement environmentally sustainable practices at their respective facilities. Whether it’s a golf course, lodging facility or club, seeing our guidelines and principles being implemented and making a difference is really rewarding.

My short-term goals include being responsive to our members on a day-to-day basis. I really enjoy meeting and speaking to our members and helping them make their course become more environmentally sustainable. Long term, I want to help the organization continue to grow by letting the golf industry know about Audubon International and the great certifications we provide for golf courses.”

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“I really value working at an organization that was thinking about environmental sustainability long before it was in fashion. AI has been committed to it for so many decades. I’m not a golfer, but I’ve learned a lot. I’m glad that’s the market we focus on primarily. When I started here I was getting a lot of phone calls from superintendents, and learned very quickly that they are very committed and knowledgeable stewards of the environment. I have a real respect for the folks to do that kind of

work, especially those who reach out to us and see that what we do is of value.

I come from the not-for-profit world, the same world that Christine and Katie come from, and it’s great to be on this team because they are real professionals in their particular areas. We work well together. It’s been an amazing run of 35 years, and I’m excited about the next 35. Christine really knows how to run a team of pros.

Another thing I like is that Audubon International is truly science-based. Here in upstate New York, there are a lot more people involved in environmental work, who have made it their focus. We have integrity on the science front, and we’re always trying to recruit and get better.”

In The Beginning Was Collier’s Reserve

First-Ever Signature Sanctuary Course Set the Standard

Even in the golf-rich region of Southwest Florida, Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Naples stands out for its commitment to conservation stewardship from the very first day the Arthur Hills-authored course debuted for members. Well before that day, in fact.

Located two miles from the Gulf of Mexico and four miles from I-75, Collier’s Reserve is a private, residential community of 224 single-family homes nestled peacefully along the Cocohatchee River, one of Southwest Florida’s most scenic waterways.

In 1994, the club made history by becoming the first golfing community in the world to achieve designation as a Certified Audubon International Signature Sanctuary. In 2017 it reached another milestone by becoming Gold Certified.

Established in 1993, the Signature Program was designed to chart a new path for the design, construction, and management of golf communities with guidelines for both the landscape and structural facilities. Sites that achieve designation as a Certified Audubon Signature Sanctuary must demonstrate a commitment to enhance and protect the environment with a focus on the economic,

environmental, and aesthetic benefits to the surrounding community.

Collier’s Reserve brought to life the Collier family’s dream of a community where preserving and enhancing the natural environment was the most important goal — a standard of stewardship excellence that continues to this day and remains as strong as ever.

“As the world’s First Audubon Signature Sanctuary golf course, it has been a tremendous responsibility and honor to uphold the standards set by so many over the past 27 years,” said Ken Kleinelder, Golf Course Superintendent. “Being a part of such a unique, natural property with such a diverse landscape has given Collier’s Reserve the opportunity to show the public that golf and nature can thrive together.”

The Collier family owned the property for 70 years prior to its development. Its 450 acres comprise a community among the most picturesque in Florida while fulfilling a dedication to the preservation of nature. More than 30 percent of the community, some 130 acres, is dedicated as a conservation area. By design, Collier’s Reserve maintains thoughtful setbacks

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and vegetation buffers for private homes and creates rare privacy and unfettered views on each hole. Devout attention to Audubon International.s Conservation Program remains evident throughout the course.

The stewardship mindset is simply ingrained into the culture here. Kleinelder originally came to Collier’s Reserve as an assistant in 2009 after earning a Turfgrass Management Degree from Ohio State University in 2007. After a year as superintendent at another Naples area course, he returned to Collier’s Reserve and took the top job in 2017, armed with a wealth of knowledge about the golf course, irrigation system and long-term master plan. He continues to build on opportunities to further the club’s dedication to the principles and guidelines for environmentally sound management that were established during its inception.

As with all Audubon International member properties, change has been a constant for Collier’s Reserve over the decades. In 2001, for instance, the club was turned over from the original developer to its members. They had to choose whether to continue in the Signature Program. They not only choose to uphold the club’s certification, but also to make various improvements starting with a golf course renovation in the summer of 2003.

As a test, the superintendent at the time

removed all existing 419 Bermuda grass from around one of the Paspalum tee boxes and replanted it with native material including cordgrass, muhly grass, and saw palmettos. Members loved it and the same process was carried out for all tees — over 20,000 muhly and cordgrass plants throughout the 2.5 acres of tee complexes. The finished product: Paspalum tee surfaces with surrounding native plant material and mulched walking paths. Not only did the native look fit in with the natural environment of Collier’s Reserve, but it also helped to reduce labor costs by no longer having to mow and maintain these areas. Water output within the tee complexes was reduced by 50 percent.

Kleinelder and his dedicated staff have continued to follow the path forged alongside Audubon International nearly three decades ago, and of course, it keeps paying dividends for club members and their guests — and the natural world.

“We are seeing more wildlife than ever and providing an experience which promotes the love of golf along with the love of nature, and Audubon has been a huge support system to make that happen,” Kleinelder said. “Thank you Audubon International and congratulations on 35 years of environmental stewardship, education, and research.”

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35 Years of Growth, Partnership and Success Echoes From Previous Issues of Stewardship News

Editor’s Note: As we reboot Stewardship News after several years — the original version was published from 2000 to 2018, undergoing several print and online iterations over those years — it’s fitting to help mark Audubon International’s 35th Anniversary by looking back at a few of those issues to see how our mission has been sustained, and yes, evolved, over the decades. The following excerpts will reveal that we’ve remained remarkably focused on and dedicated to that mission. To peruse the editions mentioned here, and others, visit

“Sustainability is complex; not only does it require knowledge of new technologies and ecosystem dynamics, it requires a spirit of cooperation and collaboration—not often considered hallmarks of American culture or business life.” —Volume 3, No. 1, January 2000

“All of our educational programs and technical assistance service are aimed at helping the environment. We firmly believe that our environmental problems can be solved only when each and every person becomes a steward of the environment.” —Volume 3, Issue 6, November 2000

“Sustainability does not mean ‘anti-growth.’ Hence, smart growth initiatives are essentially about forging partnerships among government, business and industry, and environmental, agricultural, and community groups to create a future that we choose rather than one we get by default.” —Volume 3, No. 4, July 2000

“The cooperative aspect of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System is fundamental. Each program is founded on the concept that individually and collectively we can improve the quality of life and the environment.” — Volume 4, Issue 4, July 9, 2001

“By working with diverse types of properties, we are striving to create a voluntary system of connected sanctuaries where people live, work, and play. Those four words — Audubon Coooperative Sanctuary System—mean a lot.” — Volume 6, Issue 4, July 2003

“Audubon International advocates a place-based approach in which communities assess current strengths, resources, and areas for improvement, using their watershed and ecological region as the environmental leg on which they stand…communities then develop a shared vision of where they want to go, make plans, take action, and evaluate results.” — Volume 7, Issue 3, May 2004

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“We are still learning about birds and improving their habitats. But we’re also doing much more. By joining a program—whether it be for backyards, hotels, golf courses, schools, or entire communities—Audubon International members are pledging their support for our land, water, wildlife, and natural resources.” — Volume 8, Issue 4, July 2005

“From its roots working to protect water and wildlife in the state of New York, Audubon International has grown to encompass conservation work in more than two dozen countries worldwide. Our success is wedded to the dedication of our members, who have invited us to assist them in protecting and improving the land, water, and wildlife they steward.” — Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2006

“Environmental performance and sustainability indicators help to ensure that you stay on track to achieve your goals. They help you celebrate your progress, measure your success, and tell your story.” — Volume 10, Issue 4, July 2007

“An early morning encounter with a fox, the bustle and activity at a well-stocked bird feeder, or the simple beauty of a painted turtle—each is reason enough to become a steward of the environment.” — Volume 12, Issue 1, January 2009

“Many think of the ACSP as a certification program, but it is not. It’s first and foremost an education program. We ask about how things are done at the golf course, brainstorm, and work with the members to make small changes that can yield big results.” — Volume 13, Issue 4, September 2010

“The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program is thriving because people are concerned about the environment, and because they sincerely want to improve the environment not just for themselves, but for future generations. All of our successes are our members’ successes.” —Volume 14, Issue 1, January 11, 20th anniversary of ACSP

“We are neither a golf group, nor top heavy with

golf course members. We are an environmental organization that advocates conservation of biological diversity…we are pleased to see thousands of people, who previously were not involved, have now become engaged in conservation action.” — Volume 15, Issue 1, January 2012, Audubon International’s 25th anniversary

“The members we work with include health care facilities, schools, cemeteries, farms, campgrounds, local parks, neighborhoods, and municipalities. Our success in helping others implement voluntary practices to help the environment has been possible because of support from sponsors and donors.” — Volume 16, Issue 3, October 2013

“When an individual, organization, or community joins Audubon International, they become part of an extended family. We genuinely care about their aspirations so we can effectively mentor and coach them through the process of implementing environmentally friendly practices and reporting on the results.” — Volume 17, Issue 1, January 2014

“Audubon International has touched down in over 30 countries, representing North and Central America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. While our membership growth continues everywhere, 23% of newly certified members in the past year are international.” — Volume 18, Issue 2, May 2015

“In 1987 Audubon International paved the way for many of the sustainability programs we see at other organizations today. We realized early on that the natural resource value of the areas where we live, work and play was not being recognized, valued or conserved, and we set out to change that. Today we have well over 2,000 active members around the world, in seven different programs, working to improve and preserve the quality and quantity of water resources, plant and wildlife habitats, community planning efforts and recreational spaces.” — Christine Kane after her arrival as CEO, December 2016

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Robert Wallace, Indian River Club


beautifully along the Atlantic Coastal Ridge in Vero Beach, Florida, Indian River Club is a Private, Members-Only Golf Course designed by Ron Garl. In this Q&A, Course Superintendent Robert Wallace describes the Audubon International Signature Sanctuary Certification process and how it was an intrinsic part of the property’s personality from the start.

22 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23

1. What motivated Indian River Club to earn Audubon International Signature Sanctuary Certification?

Being a sustainable golf course was the vision of the developer of our course, Jeff Reynolds, and architect, Ron Garl, from the very beginning, before the first shovel went in the ground. They brought in the Audubon International team and made them a part of the build and design process from the get-go. When the course opened in 1995 it became just the second in the world to earn Audubon International Signature Sanctuary Certification. Second in the world, not the country!

We are extremely proud of that fact and it’s a tribute to Jeff and Ron. To achieve that kind of status, saving the environment isn’t an afterthought, it’s a point of emphasis.

2. What does it take to achieve Audubon International Signature Sanctuary Certification and what steps were involved?

Well, first and foremost, there are a ton of native areas on the land that they weren’t able to

build on those areas.

Secondly, we have almost a full acre of scrubjay habitat (a blue and gray bird about the size of a blue jay that is native to Florida). They are an endangered species so they had to preserve the areas they lived in and we still do that today. We leave those areas alone and keep the sand base groomed and trimmed in a six-foot-square area. We’ve had a family here for a long time and they just had a baby. Also, drainage was a big thing as we need to keep everything on property and not let anything go outside.

Basically, the golf course is built around the community, the community wasn’t built around the golf course. That pretty much sums it up.

3. What are some of the biggest expense items to remain certified?

That can vary. It all depends on what project you are working on that year. For instance, one recent project that was expensive was putting in a monarch butterfly habitat area on the course. Some of the water testing can be pricey, as well. If you are looking for a certain chemical it can be costly, depending on the situation.

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The 15th hole at Indian River. Indian River Club Course Superintendent Robert Wallace (left) and architect Ron Garl.

4. What were/are the most challenging aspects of being certified and maintaining the standards required to achieve and retain that status?

We just had a re-certification site visit from Audubon International in June and I would say the most challenging aspects are the littoral shelves around the lakes that help filter out and absorb the minerals and nutrients before it runs off. We plant them there for a reason, but they look like weeds and sometimes we get some pushback from the golfers because they think they are weeds. So, yes, lake beautification and aquatic planting can be a challenge when you have to explain why they are planted in specific places to the golfers.

5. What specific benefits are you reaping from being a certified member?

Members ask me that all of the time. It’s a question I hear quite a bit and my answer is basically that we are doing what’s right for the environment, we’re saving the course money and we’re providing the golfers a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat every time they play the course. To a point, this answer is usually satisfactory. I would say 70% of the membership really gets it and the other 30% really don’t care about anything other than playing golf, and that’s fine.

6. What would you share with other superintendents and course managers who are considering getting certified by Audubon International?

I would tell them it’s a great program and to get on the ball, take the time and get it done. Yes, it can be a lot of work, but it’s time and effort that is well worth it. I can’t emphasize that enough. I mean, in life, nothing with a reward comes easy. So the effort is definitely worth it and, like I said, we’re very proud of that certification.

7. What is the best guidance or tip(s) you have received pertaining to being a superintendent and overseeing the golf course agronomy/ maintenance department? (And from whom?)

When I worked on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina at The Golf Club at Indigo Run, the superintendent was Don Parcel and he always told me that he once knew a guy who lost all of his greens because he “thought it was going to rain.” That’s something I always think about when I’m looking up at those storm clouds and wonder if it’s going to rain and if we should water the greens. I’ve been in the business now for 30 years and I’ll never forget when Don said that to me.

This Q&A originally appeared on on October 5, 2022. Redistributed with permission.

24 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23
A family of sandhill cranes strolls through the course.


Sherwood Forest Golf Club Nears One Year of ACSP Certification

Sherwood Forest Golf Club in Brevard, North Carolina, is one of Audubon International’s most recent ACSP Certified golf courses. Spend some time there and you’ll soon realize it’s also one of the most unique and inspiring courses in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

Located at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest, Brevard is famous for its waterfalls, hiking and other outdoor adventures. Let’s add Sherwood Forest to the area’s must-experience conversation.

Wildlife & Habitat Enhancement, Water Conservation

Sherwood Forest is a public 18-hole executive course situated within 500 acres of protected green space. As a result of the restrictive covenants and conservation easements in place, there can be no construction or development in a riparian area along the Little River – protecting water quality while making Sherwood Forest a desirable location for an abundance of wildlife.

While the walks from tee to green may only be

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150 yards you will be sure to come across many species of flora and fauna including black bears, river otters, the infamous white squirrel, and North America’s only species of giant salamander, the Hellbender. Sherwood Forest continues to expand their species diversity by enlarging low maintenance areas, installing nesting boxes, planting pollinator habitat and completing ecological restoration projects on site.

While golf courses often receive backlash for having poor environmental footprints, Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program is changing that stereotypical perception by verifying environmental management on golf courses in six focal areas: environmental planning, water conservation, water quality, wildlife and habitat management, chemical use and safety, and outreach and education. Sherwood Forest achieved certification in all six areas of ACSP certification and passed their in-person site visit in December 2020.

But their efforts don’t stop there…the course

itself is extremely sustainable and is only utilizing four acres of irrigation — much less than the average 80 irrigated acres on a typical 18-hole golf course as reported by Gregory T. Lyman, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (2012). To continue their water conservation efforts, Sherwood Forest focuses on irrigating only their greens and tees.

“The Sherwood Forest Golf Course embodies our community’s commitment to enjoying and protecting the natural environment of this mountain ecosystem. We strive to live in harmony with our natural surroundings by maintaining a sustainable balance between nature and the human presence. Because the course is located at the headwaters of the Little River, protecting water quality is central to the way the course is managed. We irrigate with rainwater, use chemicals sparingly, and dispose of waste safely,” explains Carolyn Graham, Co-Chair Sherwood Forest Golf Committee.

Llama caddies take a break to graze. Photo credit: Cathy Neil.

Outreach & Education

Evidence grows that Sherwood Forest’s Outreach and Education initiatives are in a class of their own in the region. It all begins at the club’s Robin Hood Center (RHC), which was designed and constructed to host seminars, events and meetings where community members and staff meet regularly to discuss goals, areas of concern and future sustainability projects. In addition to the RHC, Sherwood Forest’s Outreach

and Education initiatives include participating in environmental stewardship programs, such as Audubon International’s Monarchs In The Rough and Green Area’s macro-invertebrate study, collaborating with a local Native Plants Committee, and monitoring the property’s nesting boxes.

For several years now, the golf committee and community at Sherwood Forest have looked for ways to incentivize the next generation of

Opposite: The 9th Hole framed by October foliage. Photo credit: Cathy Neil.

Golfers choose clubs from a patient llama caddy. Photo credit: Mark English.

golfers to become involved in the game and their environmental efforts. One initiative, led by club Superintendent Brian Lautenschlager, is offering free lessons and green fees to youth under the age of seventeen.

If that was not already enough incentive, Sherwood Forest also offers llama caddies. While llamas may not assist in reading putts or tallying your score, this creative option works particularly well carrying clubs, in lieu of using a golf cart.

The more one explores the experiences at Sherwood Forest, the sooner you’ll soon realize how special this place truly is. Like the legendary Robin Hood, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, Sherwood Forest Golf Club is a perfect example of how golf courses can give back to nature and the community.

“Golfers of all ages play here to enjoy the changing landscape in four seasons. Affiliation

with Audubon International will help us showcase a golf course that not only offers an enjoyable experience for golfers, but also provides habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife,” commented Terril Nell, former Golf Committee Chair.

To learn more about how your local golf course can gain recognition for your environmental efforts and learn how to expand your initiatives through Audubon International’s numerous environmental certifications, visit www.

29 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23
Putting contest. Photo credit: Cathy Neil.


Niagara College Rings In Five Groundbreaking Years

It’s been a half decade since Niagara College

Canada made history.

In 2017, the Ontario-based school — with campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake —became the first postsecondary educational institution in Canada to earn full certification in Environmental Planning from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP).

“It’s something we’re very proud of,” said Taryn Wilkinson, Manager of Sustainability. “Our

partnership with Audubon International continues to create valuable curriculum and experiential learning opportunities on campus to help us maintain certification.”

By joining and participating in the ACSP, Niagara College became involved in projects to enhance habitat for wildlife and preserve natural resources for the benefit of the local community. Some of the projects include: placing more habitat structures around campus including bird boxes,

30 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23

bat boxes, duck boxes, and salamander boards; utilizing integrated pest management techniques; developing a water quality sampling protocol; planting more drought resistant plants; and installing pollinator gardens. It also provided a wonderful platform to get students involved in learning more about the campus grounds and building many different skills related to sustainable management of the school’s unique situation within the Niagara Region.

“One project we are particularly proud of is a habitat structure project in partnership with a grade 11 construction class who built bird and bat boxes, which were then painted by grade three students,” Wilkinson said. “We also have signs posted around campus, information on our website, and make sure to share it on the many tours and events on campus.”

Niagara College is currently developing a new sustainability plan to launch in Spring 2023, and biodiversity, grounds, and resource management will continue to be a priority. In November the school conducted a campus-wide student and employee survey to help them fashion and finalize the plan. Wrote Pam Skinner, Senior VicePresident, College Operations: “Niagara College’s culture of sustainability is central to who we are and how we operate. Your responses will help us to update our 2019-2021 Sustainability Plan for the next five years as we continue to adapt our operations for a changing world.”

Niagara College first made sustainability a key strategic priority in 2009 and has identified with the importance of reducing impacts on the environment. Its definition of sustainability is based on the Bruntland Commission report, created by the United Nations Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. Niagara

College is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Achieving ACSP certification brought them into the much broader fold of dedicated multi-sector environmental stewards in Audubon International’s orbit.

“The certification from Audubon helps us to demonstrate and verify our commitment to apply best practices in conservation, restoration, and protection of our natural environment, facilitating how we use our campus as a living lab through curriculum and experiential learning for students, employees, and community learning,” Wilkinson added.

“We look forward to continue working with valuable community organizations such as Audubon and fellow certified members, to continue building best practice opportunities to enhance experiential learning on campus and in our community.”

Learn more about Niagara College’s sustainability story here.

31 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23
Above: A Niagara Giant Swallowtail. Opposite: Signage at the Niagara College Trail.


Marriott Desert Springs Villas Set Sustainable Standard

The Coachella Valley is one of the fastestgrowing regions in Southern California. It’s also a desert-meets-mountain land of extremes — well into the triple digits by summer, sometimes subfreezing in winter, with water always at a premium.

It’s the perfect locale for a forward-thinking hospitality concern like Marriott Vacation Club, which has a long, admirable record of investing in serious environmental stewardship no matter where it hosts owners and guests.

In 2011 Marriott enrolled all Vacation Club properties in Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program. The Marriott Desert Springs Villas in Palm Desert was ahead of the curve, joining in 2010 and becoming certified in 2011.

Dennis Berry, Director of Engineering, picked

up where his predecessor, Glenn Knorr, left off when he retired two years ago. Berry and his staff, including Assistant Director of Engineering Art Ambriz—whose tenure at Desert Springs stretches back many years—continue to implement practices that raise the bar for other Marriott Vacation Club properties.

Desert Springs Villas originally earned a Silver Certification Rating in 2010. At their 2014 recertification site visit, they earned a Gold Certification thanks to improvements that included:

• Creating a prominent display illustrating their environmental initiatives for guests

• Making changes to landscaping to reflect the native desert environment

• Installing solar heating on all pools

32 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23

• Installing 98% efficiency‐rated hot water heaters and high efficiency air conditioning units

• Creating passive exercise stations throughout their walking trails

• Installing 38 charging stations for electric vehicles

• Conducting water and energy assessments

Heading into 2023, the conservation beat goes on for Desert Springs’ Green Team. “Marriott has aggressive goals to keep us in line with the community as far as our footprint on the environment,” Berry said. “The biggest challenge is to keep the ball rolling.”

Most recently, that means implementing key efficiency upgrades to the 70 “camp style” guest villas under Berry’s purview — 24-key or 16-key two-story buildings.

“We are upgrading our HVAC units with new thermostats that give us much greater control with the check-in PMS system,” he said. “The system allows us complete control, so people can’t [make adjustments] outside of our parameters. And when they check out, it will automatically go to a higher temperature. If housekeeping comes in and puts it on cold, it will stay on that mode for two hours, then roll back up. So it’s automatically looking to find savings. It has so many built-in features to take us to that next step. We’ve already put in much more efficient HVAC systems into the units.”

Saving water and natural gas are also in Berry and Ambriz’ immediate to-do list via partnership with the city of Palm Desert, which offers hotels and resorts a stewardship-centric incentive program.

“Right now we are awaiting approval from the city about [new] heating units for the guest villas rather than storage tanks, which will give us a large natural gas savings,” Berry says. “It’s a safer process — water goes instantly out to the rooms. With a holding tank, where we like to keep water at 140 degrees so it’s 122 degrees once it reaches the room, the BTUs add up. The city will pay for typical installation, complete. Considering all the units we have, it could be a half-million dollars.”

On the water front, Berry says his crew is installing bottle refilling stations throughout

the property, replacing old school, wasteful water fountains. It’s all part of a progressive and aggressive plan to keep Desert Springs at the forefront of Marriott’s green efforts.

“They have been one of the top performers over many years,” said Fred Realbuto, Audubon International’s Chief Operating Officer. “Glenn Knorr was a real pioneer and innovator, and Dennis is keeping it going.”

Berry acknowledges Audubon International’s expertise as vital to the property’s sustainability mission.

“I appreciate that they give us all the tools and information, and their attention to detail as far as being aware of everything available so we can continue to improve our impact on the environment,” he said. “Sometimes we get busy and concentrate on what’s in front of us rather than seeing the big picture. They write up their certification report, and it’s great to have that in front of you. It’s great to reflect and see all those little efforts add up to a big impact.”

Ambriz agreed. “It really shows us what we need to do as a partner to become environmentally friendly and conscious. Back in the day, when we would buy faucets or other parts, we’d get something that’s more cost-efficient. But now we look at the gallons per flush, gallons per minute — all those attention-to-detail things that we sometimes didn’t think about. It’s a great partnership, to have all the information — from the kind of napkins we use, to recyclables, to Star-efficient televisions and appliances. There’s so much to think about to be a company that’s striving to do its part — to leave a footprint that’s progressive for the environment.”

“One thing I’ve heard a mentor say that applies to this situation is, ‘What gets measured, gets done,’ Berry added. “Audubon International is measuring and keeping track of it all, and helping us see it, which creates awareness. Awareness leads to action, and then we have a better result.”

Read Marriott Desert Springs’ Case Study

33 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23


Wohali Puts Sustainability First

Utah Development On Track for Signature Sanctuary Certification

Sometime in 2023 or 2024, Audubon International’s certification footprint in the state of Utah will increase by a third when the 18-hole championship golf course at Wohali, a 5,147-acre, private residential and recreational development in the Wasatch Mountains about 30 minutes northeast of Park City, debuts for members.

That’s when Wohali expects to earn Audubon International’s most elite designation, Signature Sanctuary, which is focused on renovation and new build projects.

A blurb from Wohali’s website sets the stage for what promises to be one of the state’s, and nation’s, most environmentally sustainable projects.

“From the beginning our partnership set out to be stewards of the land and our environment, starting by putting the Wohali Backcountry’s 3,147 acres into a Conservation Easement to protect it from future development and saving the natural beauty for generations to come. We then focused on how the community could be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and climate neutral.”

The centerpiece of this commitment to a true light-on-the-land philosophy is the golf course.

Designed by Wohali Principal Partner David

Boyden — whose family roots on the property date back decades, to when his grandfather drove cattle down Eagle Canyon — it is taking shape on a dramatic, open, sage-strewn, stream-fed canvas of canyons, valleys and plateaus situated between 5,800 and 6,200 feet in elevation, just off Interstate 80. “If you are going to design your first solo course, I believe that you need to know the land, understand the weather, and be familiar with the area,” Boyden says.

“It’s coming around,” said Wohali Golf Superintendent Todd Bunte by phone as he made his way around the course’s routing on a fine fall day. “All 18 holes are shaped. We have [seeded] the practice facility, 10, 17, 18, and 1 through 4. We’re sodding the tees on 7 today. Our goal is to seed as much as we can, but we’ve done some sodding this fall to give us a jumpstart next spring, when we will continue our seeding.”

As of early November, eight greens had been seeded in T1 bentgrass. The ryegrass on tees, fairways and green surrounds are Champions T2. “We pushed our window, seeding the last green, the 19th hole, on September 18,” Bunte added. “It’s usually September 1 around here. They’re pretty thin, but we’ll have a foundation that will be there

34 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23

Above: The Wohali site in its natural state, November 2019

Top Right: Wohali’s 10th hole shows the dramatic, open setting

Bottom Right: Wohali under construction, October 2022

in the spring for us.”

Bunte and his crew have also planted more than 1,500 trees around the course — Colorado spruce, quaking aspen, autumn blaze maples, chokecherry. “By planting them we’ve really brought the [look of the] surrounding hills down to the course.”

As with many modern courses in the West, water conservation at Wohali is paramount, which means keeping irrigated areas to a minimum while allowing maximum playability and natural beauty. Its approximately 45 acres of fairways, 20 to 25 acres of maintained fescue rough, four and a half acres of greens and four acres of tees will be irrigated chiefly from water in the nearby Heber River, with well surveys underway to augment supply if needed.

State-of-the-art wastewater treatment is also in play property-wide including homes, clubhouse and practice center. “Wohali’s goal is to create a system where the wastewater is clean enough to recycle back into toilets and irrigate landscaping,” the website says. “Wohali has focused in on the Busse System, a small-scale wastewater treatment plant that uses a unique filtration system that produces clean re-usable water.”

All of this ground-up planning and execution aligns beautifully with Audubon International

Signature Sancutary guidelines, and Bunte says that he and all of Wohali’s principals wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve worked with Audubon in the Cooperative Sanctuary arena on a few of golf courses I’ve worked on — recertifications and such. I got a [GCSAA] ELGA Award in 2010 or 2011. So when I met with David Boyden, we talked about doing this right as far as trying not to disturb more than we have to. I believe in an organic, carbon-based fertility program. Let’s take care of what we have, starting with water quality. We seemed to be on the same page right off the bat. So I brought up Audubon International to him, and through the entire process of the application, he’s been on board.”

For more information on Wohali, visit www.

To learn more about Audubon International Signature Sanctuary Certification, visit www.

35 Audubon International | Stewardship News | Winter 2022-23
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