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Ceplo earns national environmental award

Matthew J. Ceplo, certified golf course superintendent (CGCS) at Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, N.Y., has been selected by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Board of Directors to receive the 2013 GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship.

The award will be presented Feb. 6 during the 2013 GCSAA Education Conference at the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta. The conference (Feb. 4-8) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 6-7) at the San Diego Convention Center.

“GCSAA is fortunate to have member superintendents like Matt who are wonderful environmental stewards at their courses,” said GCSAA President Sandy G. Queen, CGCS. “The board is proud to recognize Matt as a passionate leader in this important area, and to congratulate him on his many accomplishments.”

The GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship was established in 1991 to recognize “an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf; a contribution that further exemplifies the golf course superintendent’s image as a steward of the land.”

Ceplo is a 27-year GCSAA member and has spent most of his career at Rockland Country Club, which he guided through certification in Audubon International’s cooperative sanctuary program for golf courses in 2000. He has expanded his involvement with the organization to become a member of the Audubon Steward Network and has been a tireless advocate for various environmental initiatives, especially among fellow members of the Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association (MGCSA) and the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA). As a member of the MGCSA board for 18 years (2008 president), Ceplo was instrumental in helping the chapter develop a set of best management practices for New York golf course superintendents. He currently serves as vice president of the Tri-State (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) Turf Research Foundation.

When Ceplo’s area experienced a period of extended drought, he organized an initiative with green industry representatives to convince the Rockland County Health Department to change its public policy for water use and now chairs the county’s newly formed WaterWise Committee. Ceplo previously has been recognized with a number of environmental honors, including the MGA’s 2012 Arthur P. Weber Environmental Leader in Golf Award and the Global Sports Alliance’s 2011 New York Environmental Steward Award.

A graduate of the State University of New York-Delhi’s two-year associate’s degree program in horticulture, Ceplo was an assistant superintendent at Ridgewood (N.J.) Country Club and the superintendent at Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains, N.Y., for eight years before going to Rockland Country Club in 1995.

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