Recently, I had the pleasure to sit down with superintendent Charlie Butterbaugh and general manager John Cameron from the Daytona Beach Golf Club to discuss conducting a First Green environmental learning lab at their facility this fall. We discussed initial considerations of utilizing this program to expose students from an inner-city school to the many benefits of golf and get them excited about the practical science lessons involved. I was able to provide lesson plans supplied by the First Green that Cameron will use to pitch the program to the principal and hopefully get the ball rolling at his facility.
Daytona Beach GC is part of ValleyCrest Golf, and they have expressed a keen interest in pursuing the program at their other facilities as well. Cameron and Butterbaugh said they would like to expand the program to other area schools after they get a feel for it with the initial offering. Both gentlemen were excited to have GCSAA involvement in this endeavor. I am looking forward to working with them as well, and I am hopeful that this will lead to a firestorm of interest in the First Green program here in Daytona and elsewhere around the state.
First Green is an innovative environmental education outreach program using golf courses as environmental labs. Golf course superintendents host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.
I have discussed this program at chapter events and know that there are so many opportunities around the state to conduct the environmental labs and help young children gain an appreciation for the work you do every day on your golf courses. If you are interested in conducting a First Green field trip at your facility, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. By hosting students, we can hopefully enlighten them to the numerous environmental benefits golf courses provide and get them excited about the game of golf.