The William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park could soon be fully certified by the Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, recognizing the recreational area’s commitment to the environment.
The program, which helps golf courses protect the environment while promoting the history of the game, evaluates five different environmental areas: chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, wildlife and habitat management, and outreach and education.
The Franklin Park course has been certified in the categories of chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management since 2011 and hopes to receive certification in the final two categories by 2015, according to Russ Heller, the course superintendent.
“It’s [the program] is a way to highlight the things we already do and helps build upon those things while showing the general public what we have accomplished,” said Heller. “We have 100 acres of green space, and when you have that much green space, wildlife lives there.”
The course has seen success in the reduction of chemical contamination as well as its work to protect nearby water supplies. It, however, must still be certified in wildlife and habitat management and outreach and education, something Heller said he will be pushing for this year.
To tackle the wildlife and habitat management category, Heller suggested a number of initiatives including the installation of more bird nesting sites, the construction of a hummingbird and butterfly garden, the restoration of native landscaping, and some restoration work at Scarborough Pond.
To fulfill the outreach and education component, Heller said he hopes to lean on the course’s many partners to boost event participation and help support the installation of displays and informational boards.
“This is a way to show that our golf course is a beneficial space for wildlife and we can use the program to take that a little further,” Heller added.
Once fully certified, the William J. Devine Golf Course will be the first municipal golf course and fourth public golf course to receive the certification.