Big Cedar Resort Fosters the Game of Golf and Sustainability

Big Cedar Resort Fosters the Game of Golf and Sustainability

Big Cedar Golf, located in the heart of the Ozarks, is home to 5 world class public golf courses all of which are in the process of becoming certified in Audubon International’s elite Signature Sanctuary Certification track. Big Cedar Golf is most famously known for its golf courses and resort, but beyond just that, they are also committed to environmental sustainability and fostering the game of golf across all generations.

Following this vision, and their goal of achieving Signature Sanctuary Certification, Big Cedar recently hosted an amazing event that brought them closer to becoming certified under AI’s outreach and education component. On April 28th the Big Cedar Golf team joined forces with Audubon International and GCSAA’s First Green Program to host a First Green field trip with a local school. The 8th grade students got a firsthand look at the ins-and-out of maintaining a golf course and the science behind growing turf while maintaining biodiversity in surrounding areas.

“We were thrilled to host the kids from School of Ozarks on our golf courses. At Big Cedar we go beyond what is necessary to make sure we are considerate of our environment with special tools and technology to track water usage, using organic fertilizers, and more. Our staff enjoyed getting the chance to teach the local students about our agronomy practices and our natural habit here in the Ozarks.  Seeing the kids engage and interact with hands-on training and activities was the highlight for us. The kids had a lot of really good questions and were not afraid to get involved and get their hands dirty. Sustainability and conservation are so important to us as an organization and our founder, Johnny Morris, and getting kids involved with the outdoors and learning about the world around is the best way to make sure we promote nature and preservation to future generations.” – Matt McQueary, Assistant Director of Golf Sales & Marketing, Big Cedar

GCSAA’s First Green program is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) environmental outreach program that uses the golf course as a living laboratory. K-12 students participate in hands-on, outdoor learning stations that include lessons on wildlife habitat, soils science, environmental sustainability, mathematics, water conservation, career exploration and much more.

“The First Green field trip held in April at Big Cedar hit on all aspects of this program. The golf course maintenance staff at Big Cedar are environmental stewards and ensure they are properly caring for the property that has been entrusted to them. They were able to highlight these efforts and engage in a fun, hands-on STEM field trip for the 8th Graders that attended the field trip. The students took part in learning stations on Soil Science, Wildlife Habitat and Cool Tools on the Green – an opportunity for the young people to use some of the technology on the golf course. The 8th graders took a golf course tour and observed first-hand the care and stewardship in play at Big Cedar.” – Leann Cooper, Senior Manager, GCSAA Chapter Services

Students even enjoyed a live wildlife exhibit where they learned about native and invasive wildlife in the area, stood on the tee of the iconic 19th hole at Payne’s Valley and finished their day with a putting contest at Ozarks National.

Audubon International’s outreach and education focal area is a component of all seven environmentally focused certification tracks offered for new and existing golf courses, communities, and resorts. Signature Sanctuary Certification is specifically designed for those undergoing renovation or development and includes a focus on sustainable design and management now and in the future.

To learn more about Audubon International’s certifications for your golf course, community, or business; please visit  

Audubon International, an environmentally focused non-profit organization, offers members numerous certifications and conservation initiatives to protect the areas where we live, work, and play. Their certifications are designed to increase environmental awareness, encourage sustainable environmental efforts, and educate both their members and their communities.

19th Hole at Payne’s Valley

Wildlife Exhibit

Soil Science Exhibit

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