Nearly 1,000 volunteers visited golf courses worldwide to participate in Audubon International’s 5th annual BioBlitz. This event, sponsored by the United States Golf Association (USGA), provides a unique opportunity for golf courses to engage their community members in activities designed to showcase and record the abundance of wildlife found on their course landscapes. Participating courses went above and beyond in their outreach and environmental stewardship efforts. Participants also competed for awards in Community Engagement, Biodiversity, and Best Photograph.
Christine Kane, CEO at Audubon International, says, “Audubon International’s annual BioBlitz is a great way for golf courses to create awareness among the society of their wildlife habitat value, especially in urban locations. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for community members from all walks of life to meet and learn about nature while getting outside and having fun.”
Individuals volunteering to take part in the search for plant and wildlife species at their local golf course included a remarkable combination of men’s, women’s, and junior golf league members, scout troops, local birding groups, club members, golf course employees, community members from surrounding neighborhoods, entire families, school children, and other nature enthusiasts.
Over 5,400 species were recorded during this year’s BioBlitz.
Southwinds Golf Course in Florida received the Community Engagement Award with a total of 271 participants. Key to their success was both a Lady’s Night Out and a Junior BioBlitz session that included crafting both animal masks and birdhouses along with the hunt for wildlife. The Southwinds clubhouse joined in by featuring a wildlife-themed drink menu throughout the week of the event. Park Ridge Golf Course in Florida & Arrowhead Country Club in Illinois came in second and third place, respectively, for Community Engagement.
The award for Best Photograph also went to Southwinds Golf Course, for their photograph of a Red Fox on the course. Sharon Painter, Southwinds’ General Manager, says, “We make it a priority to educate our golfers of all ages about the habitat our golf course provides to the diversity of species that call Southwinds Golf Course home.”
Bay Oaks Country Club in Texas received this year’s Biodiversity Award, with 576 species identified on their course. Deborah Repasz, BioBlitz volunteer coordinator from Bay Oaks states, “We could not have had this number without the help of my fellow Galveston Bay Area Texas Master Naturalists. They diligently worked to find and identify as many species as possible using iNaturalist on their phones as well as field guides. We participate in BioBlitz to track the increase and decrease of species in the area while also hosting a fun event. Some were surprised to see what a golf course can support in flora and fauna. It isn’t all mown grass, sand, trees, and water!”
A close second and third place for Biodiversity go to Naples Lakes Country Club in Florida with 508 species sighted and Harbour Ridge Yacht and Country Club, also in Florida, reporting 456 species.
About Audubon International
Audubon International is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to creating sustainable environments in all the places people live, work and play. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, individual properties, recreation sites, and entire communities.
For more information, contact Audubon International at 120 Defreest Drive, Troy, NY 12180, 1-844-767-9051, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.auduboninternational.org.