Southwinds Golf Course: Certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary acts as an outdoor classroom for all ages
Southwinds Golf Course is a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf that continues making sustainable strides for the environment in the heart of Boca Raton, Florida. This public, 18-hole golf course is owned and operated by Palm Beach County and boasts a family friendly venue with championship level golf facilities. Located just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Southwinds is one of many gems on the gold coast of Florida.
Since opening in 1977 Southwinds continues receiving numerous accolades for their commitment to great golf, including several “Best of Boca” awards. As part of this commitment, Southwinds Golf Course went even further and improved their environmental footprint with certification as an Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary in 2009.
Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) for Golf has six focus areas; five of which work on improving sustainability through operations such as environmental planning, chemical use reduction and safety, wildlife habitat management, water conservation, water quality management…while the sixth is outreach and education; which focuses on educating stakeholders far and wide about the green value of your golf course.
Outreach and education is a crucial step to maintaining a sustainable golf operation and Audubon International certification. By encouraging golf course maintenance crews and management to showcase their implementation of sustainable projects, both the general public and golfers learn about the valuable green benefits golf courses provide. Audubon International encourages this aspect so strongly they created a world-wide annual event for members to participate in called BioBlitz.
What is BioBlitz?
Audubon International’s BioBlitz is as an intense surveying period to identify species (plants and animals) while showcasing the habitat on a golf course to golfers and non-golfers. Not only does it showcase the great habitat on site but also has the potential to bring new golfers to the game!
BioBlitz Award Winner
Since becoming certified, Southwinds has been a leader in outreach and education to the public. So much so that they won Audubon International’s BioBlitz Community Engagement Award in 2018 and 2019 with over 240 participants both times!
But their educational efforts don’t stop there…a highlight of Southwinds Golf Course’s continued certification is their 2,000 square foot butterfly garden. By choosing to naturalize areas with pollinator habitat they save money through chemical reduction, lower water usage, and provide endless educational opportunities. In addition, the native plantings utilized support native species of wildlife.
“The ACSP helps golf courses and their golfers enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf operations, and serves as [a] vital resource for golf courses… Receiving certification demonstrates leadership as a steward of the environment and publicly recognizes and rewards environmental achievements.” – Southwinds Golf Course
To learn more about how your golf course, resort or community 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.
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