Program uses golf courses as environmental learning labs
Encanterra Country Club in San Tan Valley, Ariz. recently played host to a First Green field trip. First Green is an innovative environmental education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs – the only program of its kind in the world.
The field trip marked the inaugural First Green event in the state of Arizona and featured 22 sixth grade students from Navarette Elementary School in Chandler, Ariz.
|Encanterra superintendent Scott Anderson (center) speaking to students|
Encanterra’s Class A superintendent Scott Anderson oversaw the proceedings with assistance from USGA West Region agronomist Brian Whitlark, University of Arizona area extension agent Kai Umeda, Encanterra director of golf Mark Black and I.
The field trip provided students with an introduction to the game of golf and the superintendent profession while providing numerous STEM based learning activities.
Learning stations included a stream flow calculation, use of a prism and soil moisture meter, a Stimpmeter demonstration, walk mowing demonstration, cup cutting, bunker raking and the opportunity to play a 9-hole putting course set-up by Anderson and his staff.
The trip was three hours in length and the students were split up into three groups with a school instructor/chaperone also participating in each group.
This marked the third First Green field trip that I have participated in and the trips illustrate the environmental and community benefits of golf courses while introducing potential players to the
game (students, teachers and parents). It also provides an outstanding media/public relations opportunity for participating facilities.
|Encanterra director of golf Mark Black discussing the short game|
First Green was established in 1997 and over 15,000 students have participated in field trips. The organization originated in Washington, but field trips are now offered in all regions of the United States.
First Green has extensive resources for golf course superintendents, including online lesson plans, as well as facilitating the connections between golf courses and local schools and science/horticulture teachers.
For more information on First Green (including how to videos) or to schedule a field trip, visit the website at www.thefirstgreen.org or call at 425-746-0809.