Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is Stonebridge Golf Club, a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf (ACSP). This semi-private golf club boasts an 18-hole golf course, practice facilities and clubhouse where you’ll find residents and visitors enjoying great golf and the natural beauty of Stonebridge’s environmentally sustainable course.
Stonebridge Golf Club achieved certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf after completing all six certification focus areas in 2009, including: Site Assessment & Environmental Planning, Wildlife Habitat Management, Water Conservation, Water Quality, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Outreach and Education. Through Audubon International’s certification tracks properties pursue 3rd party verification of their sustainability efforts while gaining access to unlimited technical assistance and education – the perfect win for members and the environment alike at golf clubs, resorts, communities, and businesses.
“As a whole I believe golf course superintendents do a great job as environmental stewards, yet we receive little recognition for our efforts. I felt that becoming and maintaining certification with Audubon International would help show that Stonebridge Golf Course is committed to enhancing and protecting the environment.” Says Chris Snyder, Golf Course Superintendent, Stonebridge Golf Club.
The process doesn’t cease once a club is certified; in fact, each certified property undergoes recertification every 3 years. Stonebridge Golf Club recently underwent an Audubon International recertification site visit where their efforts in protecting the local environment, conserving resources, and enhancing wildlife habitat on the course was demonstrated in the following ways.
While water has always been an invaluable resource, when coupled with climate change concerns, golf courses are under a magnifying lens. As good stewards of the environment, golf course superintendents pride themselves on being accountable and limiting their water usage.
Prior to Stonebridge enrolling in Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program, much of the property consisted of only maintained turf. Since undergoing the certification process acres of maintained turf have been transformed into naturalized areas made up of fescue, orchard grass and wildflower blends. These grasses not only contribute to the aesthetics and habitat of the property, but they also require less irrigation once established. In addition, pesticide inputs and mowing frequency have been reduced.
Wildlife Habitat Management:
To further support wildlife species at Stonebridge Golf Club there are many habitat projects underway including:
- Establishing nesting boxes for Blue Birds
- Leaving snag trees for wildlife perching, nesting and feeding sites
- Creating brush piles for small mammals from pruning debris on course
The efforts above sustain a flourishing wildlife population by supporting numerous levels of the food chain. Examples of this include, snag trees providing food for woodpeckers, and brush piles providing habitat for small mammals, a food source of raptors.
In a time where limiting your resource use is of utmost importance, learning how to expand on sustainable resource management is crucial. To learn more about how your local golf course, community or resort can gain recognition for your environmental efforts and learn how to expand your initiatives 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.