New Orleans, LA – Audubon International announces that Audubon Park Golf Club has been recognized for continued sustainable management of natural resources and has been awarded recertification as a Certified Signature Sanctuary. Audubon Park Golf Club, designed by Dennis Griffiths, is the only golf course certified through the Audubon International Signature Program in Louisiana. The golf course opened in October 2002 and was certified as a Silver Signature Sanctuary on July 22, 2004.
To become recertified, Signature Program members must demonstrate their continued commitment to the Principles for Sustainable Resource Management as outlined in their site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP). This plan addresses wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and the adoption of green building products and procedures.
Using an infill location that had been disturbed by a previous golf course project, Audubon International and Audubon Nature Institute worked cooperatively on 80 acres near the historic Garden District of New Orleans to restore habitat and to provide a cohesive educational program aimed at golfers, area residents, and park users.
“The challenge initially was to improve connections throughout the property to isolated wildlife habitat patches and lakes and to increase the vegetation diversity in these patches and corridors”, said Nancy Richardson, Signature Program Director for Audubon International, during the required staff visit to the property. “Today, the interaction of patrons, walkers, and joggers with the course provides an opportunity for education about those natural systems on the property.”
The golf course is circled by a paved pedestrian and bike path. This path is shaded by huge live oak trees with wide, sweeping canopies which, in some cases, extend to the ground. The golf course is part of the Audubon Park complex which also includes the Audubon Zoo and other public park land. With eighty percent of the property remaining as open space, habitat preserves on the course include a lagoon, large oak patches, and oaks that line the jogging/walking path. Along the northern and eastern periphery, the thirteen acre lagoon was excavated as part of Olmstead’s original plan for Audubon Park in the early 1900’s. Hurst Walkway, a pedestrian walkway through the middle of the golf course from east to west, continues to be used by walkers.
Audubon Park has a long history of importance in the local community. The park was the site of the 1884 World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. The main building of the World’s Fair included almost 32 aces under its roof, covering holes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the current golf course. The bricks along the lake near the ninth hole are remnants of the building foundation.
Following the site review, Will Guererri, golf course superintendent, stated: “The Audubon International Signature Program is a great program to hold industry leaders to a responsible and ethical standard that, in my mind, all facilities should participate in. From wildlife management to water conservation, our facility has further improved the quality of our guest experience and encouraged myself and our staff to fulfill our responsibility as an Audubon signature facility.”
To learn more about Audubon Park Golf Club, go to www.auduboninstitute.org/golf.