Located in North Carolina’s Coastal Plains region, lies the small town of Chocowinity which is home to Cypress Landing Golf Course, a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) member. This semi-private, 18-hole golf course is an exemplary model for the ACSP for Golf certification track and is celebrating its 10th anniversary of certification this year.
In accordance with ACSP certification guidelines, certified members are encouraged to complete Outreach and Education initiatives involving their local community, course members, homeowners and environmental organizations in helping to plan and implement environmental projects and educational efforts on the course. As part of this effort, Cypress Landing golf course staff and volunteers, Stanley Cohen and Judy Keohane, spearheaded the initiative to participate in North Carolina’s Wildlife Federation Butterfly Highway.
“The Butterfly Highway is a statewide conservation restoration initiative that aims to restore native pollinator habitats to areas impacted by urbanization, land use change and agriculture across North Carolina.” (ncwf.org)
Their pollinator efforts don’t stop there…the course also is a member of Audubon International’s Monarchs in the Rough program – an initiative to plant milkweed and pollinator habitat in out of play areas of golf courses. While the majority of their pollinator habitat can be found among the club’s Butterfly Highway Pitstops, wildflower and milkweed can also be found in various native areas throughout the property.
Superintendent Stanley Elliott surveyed the property and found an ideal plot for the volunteers to establish a pollinator haven. Sitting on nearly a quarter acre, the project has created a network of native flowering plants to support butterflies, birds, bees and other nectar dependent wildlife.
To compliment the course’s picturesque flowers, snags and bug hotels, the volunteers took the initiative to create an educational booth. The booth is lined with grab and go brochures so visitors will become aware of the importance of the butterfly highway initiative. the booth also has a map listing the locations of the various Pollinator Highway gardens located in the community.
In addition to Cypress Landing’s outstanding Outreach and Education initiatives, the club continues to make a tremendous effort to expand their strong Wildlife Habitat Management by providing and expanding quality habitat for wildlife. Bird and bat boxes can be found hidden among the trees and scattered throughout the property and their management team also embraces the practice of allowing vegetative buffers to form around water features. Buffers are a great way to provide additional habitat and shelter for aquatic wildlife. Additionally, brush piles and snag trees are embraced at Cypress Landing, which are frequently occupied by the Eastern Flying Squirrel, Gray Fox and Great Horned Owl.
Cypress Landing’s numerous habitat enhancement efforts are verified through annual fledglings counts and regular bird sightings, and their efforts are a great example of how golf and wildlife can coexist in harmony. 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.auduboninternational.org.
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.