In the beginning of 2018, after many years of dedication and hard work, Springfield Golf and Country Club achieved designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Springfield Golf and Country Club is the 36th golf course in Virginia and the 891st worldwide to hold this title.
Lentz Wheeler, Golf Course Superintendent, led the effort to meet the program's stringent criteria and in doing so undertook a variety of projects in the following areas: Wildlife and Habitat Management; Chemical Use Reduction and Safety; Water Conservation; Water Quality Management; and Outreach and Education.
"Our entire Club is excited to achieve the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certification," says Wheeler. "It has taken plenty of work, but has been so worthwhile. The creation of the wildlife pollinating garden has been particularly rewarding as we have seen many different species of butterflies and birds already frequenting the area. As the plants mature, this will only increase in number and species."
Wheeler also planted a wildflower pollinating garden that is nearly half an acre. It is bursting with perennial and annual flowers native to our region, and provides habitat and food for a wide variety of wildlife as well as adding beautiful color to our highly walkable, championship golf course. Some of the beneficial plants that grow on property include goldenrod, a fantastic pollinator, and milkweed which is essential for monarch butterflies. We even have beehives that are serviced by a local apiarist, and provide honey which will be utilized by our Executive Chef and available to our membership in the near future.
Wheeler and his team are in the process of building nature trails so that the membership can enjoy the gardens, bat boxes, owl houses, and plethora of wildlife flourishing at their Club.
"Golf courses have gotten some bad publicity over the years as excessive users of chemicals, fertilizers, and water. We hope to show that a properly managed golf course not only benefits the environment, but enhances it."