Blog

Here you can find all the latest Audubon International news! From the great environmental efforts of our members, to where we will be next, to helpful tips you can apply at your golf course, you can find it all here.
  • 03/31/2014 3:30 PM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)
    We are looking for 2014 summer interns! This summer we will have two types of internship positions available: an Environmental Communications Internship and an Environmental Research Internship.

    The intern(s) will be asked to work between 10 and 20 hours per week for 10 to 12 weeks. The start date is flexible, but preferably in mid-to-late May. This is an unpaid internship. Read more about each position:

    Environmental Communications Internship
    Audubon International is seeking an Environmental Communications Intern(s) for summer 2014. The intern(s) will report to the Associate Director of Outreach & Communications and focus on creating content for the organization’s publications, website, and social media. The intern(s) will have the option of working in our Troy, NY office or working from home, with preference given to those who are able to attend weekly or bi-weekly in-person meetings.

    Required Qualifications:

    ·         Current college student or recently graduated student in the field of environmental science/communications/journalism/graphic design.

    ·         Experience researching and writing articles or papers on environmental topics.

    ·         Passion for our organization’s mission.


    Desired Qualifications:

    ·         Experience in graphic design and familiarity with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

    ·         Experience with nonprofit organizations.

    ·         Experience with video production.


    To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to Tara Pepperman at tara@auduboninternational.org along with a writing sample (5-page maximum). Students with experience in graphic design can also send one to three design samples in jpeg or PDF format. Please put the job title and your name in the subject line of the email. Applications are due on Friday, April 18th.



    Environmental Research Internship

    Audubon International is seeking an Environmental Research Intern(s) for summer 2014 to compile, analyze, and summarize information collected from natural resource site assessments, environmental plans, and certification documentation. Project results will focus on the benefits of environmental best practices for natural resource management, sustainable landscaping, and water and chemical use. The intern(s) will help develop research questions that will guide data compilation and analysis.


    This is an ideal project for students interested in environmental best practices and environmental behavior as well as data management and research. All work will need to be done in our Troy office. The intern(s) will directly work with the Associate Director of Environmental Programs and report to the Intern Coordinator. 


    Required Qualifications:

    ·         Current college student or recently graduated student in the field of environmental science/environmental policy/planning/conservation or data management.

    ·         Passion for our organization’s mission.

    ·         Experience in Microsoft Office.


    Desired Qualifications:

    ·         Experience with nonprofit organizations.


    To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to Tara Pepperman at tara@auduboninternational.org along with 3 references. Please put the job title and your name in the subject line of the email. Applications are due on Friday, April 18th.

  • 03/17/2014 4:28 PM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)

    Associate Director of Environmental Programs

    Position Description

    Audubon International (AI) seeks a highly-qualified and enthusiastic individual to serve as an Associate Director of Environmental Programs. The incumbent will be primarily responsible for overseeing the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) and ACSP for Golf, and will join a team of program managers implementing additional Audubon International programs: the Signature Program, the Green Lodging Program, and the Sustainable Communities Program. The incumbent will directly engage a wide range of stakeholders (golf course superintendents, club managers, property managers, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, etc.), and report directly to the Executive Director.

    Organization Overview

    AI is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit environmental organization headquartered in the Albany-area of upstate New York. Our mission is to deliver high-quality environmental education and facilitate the sustainable management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources in all places people live, work, and play. The organization, which has been in existence for over 25 years and is not affiliated with National Audubon, works with a wide range of interested partners, including golf courses, developers, agriculture producers, small businesses, large corporations, academic institutions, fellow not-for-profits, community associations, local governments, and state and federal agencies. Through education, technical assistance, certification, and recognition, Audubon International facilitates the implementation of natural resource management practices that ensure land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources are sustainably used and conserved.

    ACSP & ACSP for Golf
    The ACSP is an education and certification program that helps organizations and businesses protect our environment while enhancing their bottom line. The program offers information and guidance to implement an environmental management plan that improves efficiency, conserves resources, and promotes conservation efforts. Audubon International awards certification to publicly recognize and reward the environmental achievements and leadership of ACSP members.

    The ACSP for Golf is a widely recognized and highly-regarded education and certification program that helps protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf. The program serves as a valuable resource for golf courses by facilitating the conservation and restoration of wildlife habitat, enhancing environmental health, improving economic efficiency by reducing operating costs, minimizing potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations, and providing courses with valuable communication and marketing tools.



    Specific Duties & Responsibilities:
    Program Member Service

     *   Assist AI membersundefinedprimarily in the golf industryundefinedin the development of management plans and other technical documents required as a component of the organization's rigorous education and certification process.
     *   Serve members via requests for information through timely in-person, written, telephone, and email communication.
     *   Conduct periodic site visits to assist members with ongoing environmental planning and management activities.
     *   Cooperate with AI’s network of partners to ensure that program materials are up-to-date and disseminated to appropriate audiences.


    Outreach & Education
     *   In conjunction with other staff members, the incumbent will play a leading role in marketing and promoting all of AI's education and certification programs through direct sales and special events.
     *   Develop and conduct seminars, presentations, and informational briefings to help educate AI members (active and prospective) about the benefits of sustainable natural resource management and the efficacy of the organization's approach to environmental stewardship.
     *    Promote all AI programs via stakeholder meetings, media interviews, newsletters, and participation in various industry and environmental working groups.
     *   Play a leading role in the growth of program membership and the development of relationships with other public and private sector organizations interested in partnering with AI in the delivery of the its education and certification programs.


    Administrative
     *   Work with AI staff to develop and implement yearly goals, objectives, strategies, and budget proposals for ACSP and ACSP Golf programs in conjunction with other programs being implemented by the organization.
     *   Participate in organization- and program-level strategic planning efforts.
     *   Coordinate with appropriate AI's staff to ensure that information maintained in the organization's web-based member database is up-to-date and accurate.


    Preferred Qualifications:
     *   A bachelor's degree in an appropriate field of study (i.e., recreational turf management, horticulture, landscape architecture, natural resource management) with relevant and related professional experience, OR a master's / certificate degree in an appropriate field of study with relevant professional experience
     *   Must be dedicated to educating and encouraging golf course superintendents and other types of land managers become actively involved in environmental stewardship projects
     *   Excellent interpersonal communication skills and experience working with diverse constituencies and membership demographics
     *   Ability to excel both by working independently and as part of a collaborative team.
     *   Strong technical and persuasive writing skills
     *   Computer proficiency (i.e., Microsoft Office suite, database management, internet-based research, professional applications of social media)
     *   Knowledge and/or professional experience in golf course management is essential
     *   Pre-existing professional connections in the golf industry is highly desirable

     *   Familiarity with wildlife and ecosystem science (particularly of North America)

    Compensation:
    This is a full-time, permanent position. Audubon International offers a mission-driven work environment that promotes continued employee growth and development. Our non-profit organization offers its employees a competitive compensation package, including salary, individual health benefits, retirement benefits, and vacation.

    Deadline for Application:  Open until filled.

    How to Apply:

    Submitted applications will be reviewed upon receipt and must include the following:
     *   Cover letter summarizing the candidate's qualifications for the position, including a description of how prior educational training, experience and skills prepare the candidate to fulfill the job responsibilities detailed above
     *   Curriculum vitae or resume
     *   Contact information (name, job title, phone and email) for 3-5 professional references
     *   Writing sample (5 pages maximum) which demonstrates analytical reasoning skills and ability to communicate technical concepts or analysis to a non-technical audience
     *   Application materials should be submitted via e-mail to 
    tara@auduboninternational.org with the job title and your name in the subject line (i.e., Associate Director of Environmental Programs - Jane Smith)

  • 03/13/2014 11:46 AM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)

    Hello from Audubon International! My name is Doug Bechtel, and I am excited to be the new Executive Director at Audubon International. I have been working with many of you recently on our golf programs and I must say it has been extraordinarily rewarding to work with members of this organization, many who have been with us for over a decade. I am also inspired by your commitment and by our shared belief that the critical work you do has a positive impact on our communities and our natural landscape. 


    Here in Troy, we are slowly seeing Spring emerge, perhaps more slowly than we would like. I imagine you are preparing for the growing season and either digging out from snow, or dealing with drought, or even preparing for colder weather (we are International, as you know). Weather may be an easy topic to break the ice, but it is also a reminder about change and how the environment is critical to your work and business. For me, as a bird-nerd, it is a time to watch and wait for the return of birds as they migrate and nest. I hope you all enjoy the coming change in season as well.


    Working with people on sustainable practices has been a career for me. Prior to AI, I worked for over a decade and a half in protecting lands and waters with The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire. I led teams and staff in managing natural lands and worked with landowners to protect the native areas in their towns. I am so honored and privileged to bring my experiences to AI in order to continue this critical work with you and your organizations. Keep it up; our members are superheroes!


    As I step into this new role for Audubon International, I can tell you that our focus will be to continue to provide the highest quality service to our members and to continue to effectively deliver a high-impact program that provides significant benefit to both our members and the natural environment. We are determined to make the quality of member services the highest priority in this organization.


    Lastly, we have a great Team here at AI. We are all focused on providing great service, protecting natural lands where you work and play, and reducing our impact on nature. Feel free to reach out to any of us at any time; we are happy to hear from you. Thanks for your efforts on these shared goals.


    Stay in touch!



  • 01/10/2014 4:17 PM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)
    Golf Digest recently released their list of the World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Nineteen of those 100 courses are certified by Audubon International including Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey which landed the number one spot. Congratulations to all who made the list!

    To read the full Golf Digest List, click here.

    Audubon International Golf Courses on the List
    #1    Pine Valley Golf Club, New Jersey

    #14  Merion Golf Club, Pennsylvania

    #15  Pebble Beach Golf Links, California

    #22  Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

    #25  Crystal Downs Country Club, Michigan

    #30  St. George's Golf & Country Club, Ontario

    #34  The Links at Fancourt, South Africa

    #35  Bethpage State Park (Black Course), New York

    #36  Prairie Dunes Country Club, Kansas

    #49  Valderrama Golf Course, Spain

    #62  Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon

    #68  Ballyneal Golf Club, Colorado

    #69  Wade Hampton Golf Course, North Carolina

    #89  TPC Sawgrass, Florida

    #90  Loch Lomond Golf Course, Scotland

    #92  Spring City Golf & Lake Resort (Lake Course), China

    #97  Baltusrol Golf Course, New Jersey

    #98  Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Ontario

    #100 Spring City Golf & Lake Resort (Mountain Course), China




  • 12/13/2013 8:59 AM | Anonymous
    Our members know that we are always encouraging them to reduce intensively maintained turf acreage, minimize fertilizer inputs, use lower toxicity pesticides, and reduce water use. This article in GCM Magazine provides a helpful overview of metrics for these sustainability efforts that can help golf course facilities measure and communicate their environmental goals in a very practical, science-based way. We highly encourage reviewing these simple approaches and guidelines and considering how you can take them back to your facility. 
  • 11/14/2013 12:21 PM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)

    Jennifer Batza, our Membership Coordinator, whom so many of you have gotten to know over the years, has been offered an exciting job opportunity with another organization. We will miss her dearly, and we wish her the best of luck. Though no one can ever fill Jen’s shoes, other staff will be stepping in to help out for a smooth transition to a new membership coordinator.


    Jennifer took a moment to say farewell to our members:


    What an adventure! I have been the membership secretary/coordinator for Audubon international for over 13 years. I am lucky to have worked with so many wonderful people around the globe and a multitude of staff over the years. It has been my pleasure to help so many members and individuals through our certification programs, bird identification, wildlife rehabilitation, travel, event planning, personal growth, tragedies and whatever else was needed.


    To me we have all been one big family, learning and facing challenges together, and I will miss every one of you dearly. I hope you have enjoyed working with me as much as I have with you. My next adventure is not far from AI and is still in education. I will be working as an Account Clerk for New York’s Capital Region Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) in their Career and Technical School.


    I am excited to start my new adventure on November 18th, but I am sad to be moving on from Audubon International.


    I wish you all the best, and keep up the great work!

    Jennifer


    To send Jennifer a personal note of thanks and farewell, email her at jennifer@auduboninternational.org

  • 09/08/2013 7:19 PM | Anonymous

    We often hear from golf courses and communities that are dealing with algae in their ponds and lakes, but a recent story from China adds a new angle. This radio program that I heard last month linked seaweed farming for sushi off the coast of China to one of the biggest algal blooms on the planet. Some Chinese restaurants have seized on this onslaught of local sea vegetation and added it to their menus. A new version of the old adage about lemons: When life gives you seaweed, make sushi?


    The reporter went on to explain that fertilizers used on farms and on people’s lawns are common contributors to conditions that cause algae blooms around the world, in China and in the Gulf of Mexico. These blooms occur when temperatures, sunlight, and nutrient levels are just right to support a major increase in the number of algae in an aquatic system, and they are becoming more common. What are algae anyway? Algae are microscopic plants that do not have true leaves, roots or flowers, but perform photosynthesis and consume oxygen all the same. Their presence is a natural part of the system, but any explosion in their numbers indicates an imbalance in the water body’s ecology.


    Farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region are taking steps to prevent erosion of sediments from farm fields into streams by keeping cattle off stream banks, planting nitrogen absorbing plants in fields, and using buffer strips. They hope to prevent future outbreaks that degrade the Chesapeake's important fisheries and shellfish beds.


    Lawns can provide important aesthetic and environmental benefits, including filtering out pollutants from stormwater that can contribute to nutrient buildup. Maintaining a lawn thick enough to serve as a water filtration buffer may require occasional applications of fertilizer. When needed, natural fertilizers such as compost, grass clippings, or manure are often cheaper and less likely to have toxic side effects than synthetic versions. However, a delicate balance is needed to avoid over-applying nutrients, especially anywhere turfgrass is located near a water body. Ideally, homeowners can select drought-resistant blends of grasses that require little or no mowing and no fertilizer. 


    In its latest enewsletter, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) urged homeowners to allow established lawns to go dormant during hot dry weather in summer. Applying fertilizer to force a lawn to turn green during its dormancy period can damage the grass and contribute to nutrient pollution in streams, rivers, bays, and the ocean. Dormant lawns will green up when cooler temperatures arrive and rainfall increases.


    As is often the case, a few small changes to your land management can make a huge different for the environment. And keeping our lakes, oceans, and streams free of scummy, green mats and full of fish is worth a little effort.


    To learn more about algal blooms, visit this NOAA website

  • 08/08/2013 12:11 PM | Nancy Richardson (Administrator)

    I have been through New Mexico many times usually driving on the way to some place else.  Of those trips, places like Sante Fe during Easter, or Taos for the arts, or even Sedona with its red rock are towns that are stuck in my memory.  But Ruidoso was not a place that I had heard of before The Golf Club at Rainmakers joined the Silver Signature Program.  I had heard of White Sands National Monument and I had heard of Roswell (ooh, extra-terrestrials).  Both of these towns were an easy drive from Ruidoso so I knew about where this town was located (basically in the middle of nowhere).  I learned Ruidoso was a year-round tourist destination offering golf, skiing, horseracing, hotels, cabins, resorts, hiking, and camping.  How could I have missed this place?

    My reason for going there was to review The Golf Club at Rainmakers to confirm through an on-site review that it had met the criteria of the Signature Program.  Going up a mountain at dark is not a choice I normally would make, but a little incident along the way slowed me a bit during that 3 hour drive southeast of Albuquerque through lonely high desert to a small town called Alto, near Ruidoso.  The club manager, Reeves McGuire, said he would meet me at a determined turn-off and lead me in to the community. Sounded ominous but as night fell, I was glad he was there waiting for me.  It was pitch black, and I could not see what was beyond the edge of the two-lane roadway I was driving on.

    But the next morning, all was revealed.  The 18-hole Robert Trent II-designed golf course is actually located in the southern Rockies of south central New Mexico within the Lincoln National Forest at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level on 125 acres of juniper-pinon pine woodlands.   With panaramic views of the 12,000 foot peak of Sierra Blanca and the Sacremento and Capitan mountains, the property is bounded to the east by the Fort Stanton Area of Critical Environmental Concern managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 

    The golf course itself sits on the southern slope of the Rainmakers residential community which is located on a total of about 1,000 acres that were relatively undsitrubed.   Rainmakers has set aside 135 acres  as a wildlife habitat and conservation area.  The name of the development and its image was in recognition of the first residents of this acreage.  Before the project was begun, at the groundbreaking, the land was blessed by a Mescalero tribal leader and medicine man.  Entry into the community is through a set of iron gates with an iron macaw standing guard. In honor of the tribal heritage, all of the streets have been named after Indian Tribes.

    Although I had followed Rainmakers construction through photos, this was my first visit to the site, and I was stunned by the scenic vistas at each golf hole.  It was hard to move on from hole to hole.  Not only were the mountains hypnotic, but the 40-foot deep arroyos running along many of the fairways seemed to pull me toward them.  Next to one particualrly steep  area on hole #6, I encountered a rock wren and its mate jumping around in and under rock ledges.  They were making noises as if to say "Which rock do you like best?" since I supposed they were looking for a nesting site.  It was interesting that they were not in the least disturbed by our presence.

    Protection and conservation of natural resources at a residential golf community in New Mexico is quite challenging.  Ruidoso is semi-arid and recieves less than 2 inches of rain per month throughout most of the year.  To address this challenge, Rainmakers employs many water management and design techniques.  Among those are:

    • Unlike traditional sprinkler systems which turn themselves on at a specified time and deliver a pre-specified amount of water, each of the sprinkler heads on the golf course is digitally tied to an on-site weather station that monitors rainfall, humidity, etc. and reduces or suspends sprinkler activity based on locally-falling precipitation.
    • The arc and angle of each sprinkler head is also independently controlled, placing the right amount of water exactly where it needs to go.  Only 67.1 acres or 54 percent of the course acreage is being irrigated.
    • Natural polymers were incorporated over the greens and fairways while the course was being built.  Each time the spinklers are turned on and whenever it rains, the polymers soak in the water and expand 500 times in size, keeping the soil moist and healthy long after the water stops coming down. This saves Rainmakers an estimated 30 percent of its annual water consumption on the course.  The polymers are 100 percent environmenally, human and animal safe.
    • The landscape architecture includes a wide variety of indigenous flowers and grasses that complement the southwestern ecosystem requiring less water for survival and less labor for their management.  In addition, 90 percent of the re-vegetation on and around the course was accomplished with plants that originally grew on the site thereby preserving the local gene pool.
    • For holes such as #3 that has a steep elevation change and where the hole plays over a ravine, an additional 18 inches of soil was added to the fairway so as to eliminate the need to cut trees growing up in the ravine.  This allowed line of site for the hole without additional disturbance.
    • Both surface and subsurface drainage was directed away from the many dry arroyos and the lake,  and discharged over the native and naturalized areas.  Swales were constructed and lined with stone to slow velocity of any run-off before discharge into vegetated areas.
    • Storm water is collected to drain into rocky basins and infiltrate back to the water table.

    With the golf course's certification, Rainmakers now joins other certified Signature Sanctuaries in twenty-nine US states and five countries including China, Portugal, Spain, Canada, and Puerto Rico.    Congratulations Rainmakers! Great job!

    I may have missed Ruidoso before this trip, but it is on my radar now.   I plan to return there the first opportunity (and maybe even drive over to Roswell?)

  • 06/28/2013 1:39 PM | Deleted user

    Audubon International is a long time member of the EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP). We were recently contacted by our PESP liaison regarding the incident last week in Wilsonville, OR where an estimated 25,000 bumblebees were found dead or dying. They requested our help in spreading the word that it is imperative that products with the active ingredient dinotefuran be applied according to label with particular attention to avoiding applications or drift onto any flowing plants. (The Oregon Department of Agriculture has temporarily restricted the use of 18 ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran by both professional applicators and homeowners as the investigation continues.) For more information about the incident, the restriction, and the investigation, the EPA recommends visiting the Oregon Department of Agriculture website.

    This serves as a good reminder there are always risks associated with chemical use, including serious consequences for people, the environment, and your business. Risks are not only limited to chemicals in their liquid, gas, or particulate form, but also in the form of dust, fumes, fibers, mists, and vapors.

    Human Risks

    • Physical hazards - Chemical reactions can result in fire, explosion, or toxic gas release, which cause physical trauma if chemicals are handled or stored improperly.
    • Health hazards - Harmful health effects (illness, chronic disease, sub-lethal impacts) can be caused directly from chemicals.

    Environmental Risks

    • Diminished water quality - The likelihood of pesticide contamination of ground water and water wells depends partly on the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the site, as well as on pesticide characteristics. Contamination is usually the result of improper application or careless handling, storage, or disposal of unused pesticides and pesticide containers.
    • Detrimental effects on non-target species - Chemical drift or runoff may impact wildlife species in the vicinity of the chemical application.
    • Poor soil structureundefinedDisturbance to soil structure and organisms from chemical use negatively impacts nutrient cycling and plant growth.

    Business Risks

    • Liability - Improper storage or handling of chemicals increases liability. Contamination can result in costly environmental cleanup and fines.
    • Poor public opinion - The public has repeatedly voiced concern regarding chemical use and its environmental and health effects.
    • Pest resistance - Target pests can develop resistance to a chemical that is used repeatedly, resulting in the need to use increasingly toxic chemicals to control the pest.
  • 06/19/2013 3:07 PM | Deleted user

    One of the aspects I love most about my job is how much I continue to expand my knowledge on a regular basis. Sometimes I increase my technical skills, other times I pick up great stories to add to my repertoire, and occasionally I come across local resources that can help us help you to make a difference. Two such resources crossed my path this week, and I would like to share them with you.

    The past few years I have been involved in the planning and implementations of Live Green! events across the country. In preparing for our next event in Pineville, LA, I was asked if we might be able to tackle a significant stream erosion problem. Needing help, I jumped on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website and found what I was hoping for, a Private Land Management Assistance Program (in other states, they are often called Landowner Incentive Programs). Within a couple of hours I had connected our member and a professional biologist who visited the site. As I suspected, it was too large a project for our Live Green! event, but they are now working on a plan that will also include financial assistance in stabilizing the stream bank. Google your state name and “landowner assistance program” to see what available. I was unable to come across any programs outside the United States, but that doesn’t mean they do not exist.

    I was already familiar with the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency website. During a webinar today I learned of other programs providing technical and financial water conservation incentives. You can search these rebates and incentives through the EPA WatersSense website as well as your local water utility.

    Members often ask me where to go to bolster their Resource Advisory Group or Green Team. These are a few great places to start to get the local expertise and possibly financial assistance you need to get your environmental program to the next level.

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