Press Archive

Here you can find all the latest Audubon International news! From the great environmental efforts to where we will be next, we will post it here first.
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  • 05/17/2016 12:00 PM | Daron Blake (Administrator)

    The Board of Directors of Audubon International has announced that Executive Director Doug Bechtel will be leaving the organization for a leadership position with New Hampshire Audubon.

     

    "Doug has done a superb job for Audubon International since joining us in January 2014 and we wish him well in his new responsibilities," said Chuck Bassett, chairman of the AI board of directors. "He has served as an excellent leader at AI, and he has advanced AI’s mission to promote the responsible, sustainable use of our natural resources."

     

    "His entire career personifies the AI mission, to deliver high quality environmental education and facilitate the sustainable management of land, water, wildlife and natural resources where people live, work, and play," Bassett said.

     

    Doug added a comment: "I am very excited about this new opportunity in New Hampshire.  I know that I leave AI at a time when the organization is strong, healthy, and positioned to deliverable tangible results in multiple sustainability disciplines. I very much appreciate the people I have worked with at AI, the staff and board members, as well as the many individuals and organizations we work with."

     

    A nationwide search to fill Audubon International's top position is underway.

     

    Prior to joining Audubon International, Doug served as the Director of Conservation Science for The Nature Conservancy’s New Hampshire Chapter for more than 15 years.

     

    Audubon International works with private and public lands, including golf courses, communities, cemeteries, ski areas, businesses, and lodging facilities in more than 20 countries, with the goal to help them reduce their impact on nature.  In its 29-year history, Audubon International, a 501.c.3 not-for-profit organization, has enrolled more than 3,000 facilities in its rigorous certification programs and has collaborated with various colleges, agencies of state and federal government as well as golf organizations such as the USGA and the GCSAA.

    Contact: Chuck Bassett, 352-255-6199

  • 05/12/2016 1:16 PM | Joanna Nadeau (Administrator)
    Photo courtesy of Green Mountain College

    POULTNEY, VT--Green Mountain College and Audubon International—two organizations at the forefront of advancing sustainability—have announced a partnership to promote environmental stewardship and make sustainability education programs available to all. Staff at Audubon Internationals’ vast network of environmentally-responsible facilities will receive discounts to enroll in GMC’s cutting edge, online graduate curriculum in one of four sustainability disciplines. Graduate students at Green Mountain College can apply their place-based education by exploring and implementing Audubon International’s programs alongside professional staff.


    Based in Troy, N.Y., Audubon International is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) environmental organization. Through education, technical assistance, certification, and recognition, Audubon International facilitates the implementation of environmental management practices that ensure natural resources are sustainably used and conserved. To date, Audubon International has enrolled over 3,000 properties (including golf courses, cemeteries, ski areas, housing developments, hotels, and many others) and communities in its rigorous certification programs.


    “Green Mountain College’s program is a model for sustainability training, and a natural academic partner for Audubon International and our member facilities,” said Doug Bechtel, Executive Director of Audubon International. “Continuing Audubon International’s legacy of introducing science-based ecological principles to stewards of developed lands, partnering with GMC expands educational offerings available to the staff at Audubon International’s member organizations. We hope to further develop research opportunities with Green Mountain College faculty and students to advance sustainability science and practices using our real-world examples.”


    “Green Mountain and Audubon International make great partners. Our students get to work hand in hand on sustainability projects with Audubon staff and partners, and people affiliated with Audubon can access award winning and affordable sustainability education right at home," noted Thomas Mauhs-Pugh, Provost at Green Mountain College.


    Green Mountain College has been a leader in sustainability focused education for 20 years. The American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education rates it #1 in the country for its sustainability curriculum. GMC has received the highest score in Princeton Review’s greenest schools category since the category was created, and is currently rated the second greenest school in the country. GMC consistently ranks in the top 15 of Sierra Magazine’s annual coolest schools list. In 2006, GMC launched the nation's first sustainable M.B.A. and first online M.S. in environmental studies. Since then the College has introduced an M.S. in sustainable food systems and an M.S. in resilient and sustainable communities, the first online programs of their kind in the U.S.


    For more on Green Mountain College’s graduate programs, visit: http://www.greenmtn.edu/academics/graduate/


    Contacts: Kevin Coburn, Green Mountain College Director of Communications, 802-287-8926; Joanna Nadeau, Audubon International Director of Community Programs, 518-767-9051 x124


  • 02/01/2016 11:25 AM | Daron Blake (Administrator)

    Environmental nonprofit Audubon International has launched the second annual BioBlitz, a free program for golf courses across the world, which will run from Earth Day, April 22nd, to International Migratory Bird Day, May 14th.


    BioBlitz is a species-counting competition designed to create awareness among golfers and the general public about the environmental value of the habitats supported by golf courses. The program is open to any golf course worldwide, including those unaffiliated with Audubon International.


     “A BioBlitz is a great way for golf courses to bring naturalists and families out to see the natural beauty golf courses provide in their towns,” said Doug Bechtel, Executive Director of Audubon International. Last year’s participants recorded 3,560 total species, representing over 1,592 plants and fungi and 638 wildlife species, for a total of 2,230 unique species identified. Kim Davidson, Horticulturist at Ironwood Golf Course in Michigan, wrote: “We were able to record 279 species! The blitz was a lot of fun and it opened my eyes to all of the species that call our course home…I am excited to share the list with our golfers so they too can see how many species our course benefits.”


    A golf course may invite any number of participants such as golfers and their families, local environmental organizations, youth groups, community members, and local experts to count plant and animal species located on the property. Awards will be given in the categories of Most Species, Most Participants, and Best Photo. Following BioBlitz, Audubon International will compile the lists of plant and animal species recorded and report on the findings.


    To register for BioBlitz 2016 and receive your free toolkit, please email Tara Donadio at tara@auduboninternational.org. The deadline to register is April 20th. Visit Audubon International's website to see photos from last year's competition.

  • 01/20/2016 12:51 PM | Daron Blake (Administrator)

    Vancleave, MS –The Preserve Golf Club, the only golf course in Mississippi to be certified through the Audubon International Signature Program, has been recognized for continued sustainable management of natural resources. The Preserve joined the Signature program in 2004, before construction began. The Preserve opened in 2006, was certified though the Signature Program in 2007, and has been recertified by Audubon International as a Certified Signature Sanctuary.


    In the past few years, The Preserve has renovated greens, collars and bunkers, dug a new irrigation well, and evaluated existing tree shade to improve the health of the greens.  Throughout these changes, The Preserve staff has maintained a commitment to the environment. “The Preserve Golf Club is honored again to be recognized for our commitment to environmental stewardship by Audubon International,” said Stephen Miles, Director of Operations for The Preserve.  “Environmental stewardship is a great business plan for the game of golf.  Environmental stewardship simply means being efficient with the resources we use on a daily basis.  We want the nutrients and medicine we apply to stay on target and not be wasted down our rivers and streams.  It just makes good business sense!” 

     

    The 110 acre golf course has 18 holes and was designed by Jerry Pate. It sits on a 245 acre site with eight acres of lakes and over 4,000 linear feet of naturalized shoreline. Nature Conservancy land to the south, US Fish & Wildlife lands to the west, Old Fort Bayou Mitigation Bank to the east, and Cypress Bog to the north create a total of 1800 acres of dedicated nature preserve surrounding the golf course. The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge located just west of the property is inhabited by the endangered Mississippi sandhill crane. These cranes occasionally use the golf course for food and shelter. The wetlands of Fort Bayou run through the golf course, providing an excellent wide vegetative corridor for the movement of wildlife through the property. “The native surroundings of pitcher plant bogs, cypress swamps, long leaf pine savannah, live oak groves and native grass prairies all guided the design of the course as it was laid into this natural setting,” said Nancy Richardson, Signature Program Director for Audubon International, during the required staff visit to the property.


    The Signature Program provides environmental planning assistance to new facilities and developments and helps landowners design for the environment so that both economic and environmental objectives are achieved. To become recertified, Signature Program members must demonstrate their continued commitment to the Principles for Sustainable Resource Management as outlined in their site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan. This plan addresses wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring and management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and the adoption of green building products and procedures.

     

    To learn more about The Preserve Golf Club, go to www.preservegc.com.

  • 01/05/2016 4:33 PM | Daron Blake (Administrator)

    Perdido Key, FL–Lost Key Golf Club has been recognized for continued sustainable management of natural resources. Originally designed by Arnold Palmer Golf Designs, Lost Key was the first course in the world to become certified through the Audubon International Silver Signature Program. Certified on July 29, 1998, Lost Key has been recertified by Audubon International and is celebrating its seventeenth year as a Certified Signature Sanctuary.


    Located on Florida’s northwest coast near the Alabama state line, the 287-acre property is situated on Perdido Key in Escambia County. The Gulf of Mexico is within one half mile of property’s southernmost point. “The general course layout originally was designed to utilize upland areas as much as possible in order to avoid and minimize wetland impacts,” stated Nancy Richardson, Signature Program Director, during the recertification site visit to Lost Key. Natural wetland areas were expanded by 5.4 acres by backfilling excavated upland areas with existing wetland muck, thus preserving the site-specific gene pool. Lost Key Golf Club is one of the few areas of protected wilderness in the Florida panhandle, and has faced significant inundation and damage from hurricanes. But the plant community, a mixture of North Florida flatwoods, sand scrub, and North Florida coastal strand, has survived and flourished. Wildlife corridors wind through sand live oak, sand pine, and slash pine, and support pairs of nesting osprey and American bald eagle, alligator, deer, and healthy shore bird populations.

     

    To become recertified, Signature Program members must demonstrate their continued commitment to the Principles for Sustainable Resource Management as outlined in their site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan. This plan addresses wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring and management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and the adoption of green building products and procedures.


    Following the site review, Ramsey Prescott, golf course superintendent, said: “At Lost Key Golf Club, we agree in a co-existence of both humans and nature, and believe that the best way to sustain that co-existence is by developing and maintaining our property with best management practices.  By working with Audubon International through their Signature Program,  we are able to implement effective cultural practices, follow with proper water management techniques,  and develop sound fertility programs while protecting the environment and preserving the natural heritage of the game of golf.”


    To learn more about Lost Key Golf Club, go to www.lostkey.com.

  • 12/15/2015 11:18 AM | Joseph Madeira (Administrator)


    New Orleans, LA– Audubon International announces that Audubon Park Golf Club has been recognized for continued sustainable management of natural resources and has been awarded recertification as a Certified Signature Sanctuary. Audubon Park Golf Club, designed by Dennis Griffiths, is the only golf course certified through the Audubon International Signature Program in Louisiana. The golf course opened in October 2002 and was certified as a Silver Signature Sanctuary on July 22, 2004.


    To become recertified, Signature Program members must demonstrate their continued commitment to the Principles for Sustainable Resource Management as outlined in their site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP). This plan addresses wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and the adoption of green building products and procedures.


    Using an infill location that had been disturbed by a previous golf course project, Audubon International and Audubon Nature Institute worked cooperatively on 80 acres near the historic Garden District of New Orleans to restore habitat and to provide a cohesive educational program aimed at golfers, area residents, and park users. “The challenge initially was to improve connections throughout the property to isolated wildlife habitat patches and lakes and to increase the vegetation diversity in these patches and corridors”, said Nancy Richardson, Signature Program Director for Audubon International, during the required staff visit to the property. “Today, the interaction of patrons, walkers, and joggers with the course provides an opportunity for education about those natural systems on the property.”


    The golf course is circled by a paved pedestrian and bike path. This path is shaded by huge live oak trees with wide, sweeping canopies which, in some cases, extend to the ground. The golf course is part of the Audubon Park complex which also includes the Audubon Zoo and other public park land. With eighty percent of the property remaining as open space, habitat preserves on the course include a lagoon, large oak patches, and oaks that line the jogging/walking path. Along the northern and eastern periphery, the thirteen acre lagoon was excavated as part of Olmstead’s original plan for Audubon Park in the early 1900’s. Hurst Walkway, a pedestrian walkway through the middle of the golf course from east to west, continues to be used by walkers.


    Audubon Park has a long history of importance in the local community. The park was the site of the 1884 World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. The main building of the World’s Fair included almost 32 aces under its roof, covering holes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the current golf course. The bricks along the lake near the ninth hole are remnants of the building foundation.


    Following the site review, Will Guererri, golf course superintendent, stated: “The Audubon International Signature Program is a great program to hold industry leaders to a responsible and ethical standard that, in my mind, all facilities should participate in. From wildlife management to water conservation, our facility has further improved the quality of our guest experience and encouraged myself and our staff to fulfill our responsibility as an Audubon signature facility.”

    To learn more about Audubon Park Golf Club, go to www.auduboninstitute.org/golf.


  • 09/25/2015 11:15 AM | Joseph Madeira (Administrator)


    09/25/2015 10:02 AM | Joanna Nadeau (Administrator)


    WILLIAMSTON, NC – The Town of Williamston is recognized by Audubon International for their continued commitment to sustainability through recertification as an "Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community.” Brent Kanipe, AICP, Director of Planning, led the effort to maintain certification status for this town and is being recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. The Town of Williamston was designated as an Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community in 2009 and is one of five communities in the world to receive the honor.


    Williamston Mayor Tommy Roberson commented, “Williamston is very proud to receive this designation from Audubon International and is pleased to be recognized for all the efforts of town citizens, staff, and the Town Board of Commissioners.”


    The Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program provides information and guidance to help communities preserve and enhance what makes them healthy and vibrant places to live, work, and play. Certified members define a vision for their future founded in the three pillars of sustainability–a healthy local environment, quality of life for citizens, and economic vitality.


    "Williamston demonstrates a strong commitment to its sustainability program. They are to be commended for preserving the natural heritage of the area by enhancing wetlands along the Roanoke River and directing development away from critical farmland and into the historic downtown," said Joanna Nadeau, Director of Community Programs at Audubon International.


    Developing riverside camping platforms, signage, and trail maps, purchasing recycled materials, and updating the comprehensive plan with green building and smart growth principles are the top examples why Williamston is considered a leader in sustainability. In the last few years, Williamston has also reduced municipal water use by 50%, installed permeable pavement in two parking lots, and increased affordable housing options. Williamston’s accomplishments have been enhanced by funding awards for historic preservation projects including façade improvements in the historic district and heritage publications.

    "To maintain certification, a community must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a majority of areas," explained Nadeau. Members maintain certification status in the Sustainable Communities Program by demonstrating continuous progress towards goals in the plan under fifteen focus areas. Communities go through a recertification process every two years. Currently, there are 20 communities in the Sustainable Communities Program.


  • 04/21/2015 8:57 AM | Joseph Madeira (Administrator)

    RIO VERDE, AZ – Rio Verde Community Association has been designated as the first Certified Sustainable Community in the state of Arizona after completing requirements and meeting the strict criteria of the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program. 


    To become certified, Sustainable Communities Program members must develop and implement management practices and policies according to a community-driven Long Term Sustainability Plan (LTSP) that has timelines and measurable goals addressing 15 focus areas, including wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water conservation, energy efficiency, health, and transportation. Receiving designation as a Certified Sustainable Community by Audubon International is contingent upon the quality and completeness of the LTSP and its implementation.


    “Rio Verde Community Association residents have worked enthusiastically to shape our community within the guidelines established by Audubon International,” noted Gary Holcomb, President of the Community Association. “Our focus on preservation, conservation and sustainability will certainly benefit our current residents as well as those who will follow in their footsteps.   We look forward to a long-term partnership with Audubon International.”


    Located 40 miles northeast of Phoenix, Arizona, Rio Verde was built between the Verde River, the Tonto National Forest, and McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Residents enjoy 735 acres of desert wildflowers, cacti, and abundant native wildlife that accent the residential areas, hiking trails, tennis courts, fitness center, and two golf courses - irrigated with reclaimed water, of course. In 2015, this desert haven was voted No. 1 “Private Golf Course” and “Active Adult Community” in Arizona by Ranking Arizona: the Best of Arizona Business.


    Director of Community Programs Joanna Nadeau will present the certification award to the Rio Verde Community Association at a final site visit on Earth Day 2015. “As the first member west of the Mississippi River to receive the Audubon International Sustainable Community Certification, Rio Verde has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable living,” says Nadeau.  “This community’s multi-stage, volunteer-led effort will help to preserve the unique desert setting and enhance quality of life for all residents over the long run.” 


    To preserve its natural and recreational amenities, Rio Verde is implementing action items from an adopted long-range sustainability plan and measuring initial progress towards its chosen sustainability targets. Rio Verde’s accomplishments include:

    •  Solar panels installed on the community center serve 25% of the building’s average energy demand, resulting in over 250,000 kWh (and over $28,000) saved annually.
    •  15 acres of turf on the golf courses have been naturalized to desert landscaping, reducing water and maintenance requirements.
    •  3-4 tons of citrus are donated by residents annually to local food banks from their citrus trees.
    •   Created a native plant landscaping palette for the Country Club and Community Association.
    •  A biennial educational event held on practices and products for living green draws over 100 residents.

    Rio Verde is the 5th community to receive this certification, joining Eufaula, Alabama; Williamston, North Carolina; Coconut Creek, Florida, and Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont.


    About Audubon International

    Audubon International is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization dedicated to providing people with the education and assistance they need to practice responsible management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, properties, new developments, and entire communities. Through the Sustainable Communities and Green Neighborhoods Programs, Audubon International works to help community leaders and stakeholders embrace environmental stewardship and sustainability as a central element of planning, policies, and practices. For more information, contact Audubon International at (518) 767-9051 or visit the website at www.auduboninternational.org.


    About Rio Verde Community Association 

    The Rio Verde community is governed by a homeowners' association under Arizona's planned community statutes. Rio Verde is an age-restricted community or "adult community," which means one member of each household must be at least 55 years of age and no person under 19 can be a permanent resident of the community. This long standing and effective community association has proven effective over 40 years of governance and management for the approximately 1,080 residential home units. The HOA is run by a small professional staff that is augmented by volunteer committees who help run the community, including management of its streets and services.


  • 04/06/2015 1:07 PM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)
    TROY, NY – As part of its long-standing partnership with environmental nonprofit Audubon International, The Toro Company has announced a new initiative to sponsor cities in the Sustainable Communities Program. Funding provided by Toro will advance sustainability efforts in two communities where the company has facilities: in Riverside, California and in Windom, Minnesota. Toro is the first in the world to fund membership in this certification program on a community’s behalf.


    Judson McNeil, President of The Toro Foundation, said, “We believe that creating sustainable communities is good for people, for the environment, and for business. We are pleased to draw on Audubon International’s experience in creating comprehensive community sustainability initiatives, and we hope this will lead to both Riverside and Windom receiving the designation of Audubon International Certified Sustainable Communities.”


    Audubon International’s community-wide improvement program engages residents, businesses, and municipal leaders in identifying low-cost strategies for practicing sustainability that safeguard the quality of life where they live and work, far into the future. The sponsorship provides qualified cities membership in the Sustainable Communities Program for two years, along with a grant for a demonstration site project in each community.


    “Toro selected Riverside and Windom to demonstrate their commitment to improving the quality of life for people in these communities. We are excited to work directly with Toro and local Toro facilities to achieve bold sustainability goals for these communities,” said Joanna Nadeau, Director of Community Programs at Audubon International. “We are proud to welcome Riverside and Windom into the Sustainable Communities Program as the 14th and 15th cities working towards certification.”


    About The Toro Company
    The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment including turf, snow and ground engaging equipment, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. With sales of $2.2 billion in fiscal 2014, Toro’s global presence extends to more than 90 countries. Through constant innovation and caring relationships built on trust and integrity, Toro and its family of brands have built a legacy of excellence by helping customers care for golf courses, landscapes, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties and agricultural fields. For more information, visit www.thetorocompany.com.


  • 03/17/2015 10:23 AM | Katie Hopkins (Administrator)

    Audubon International and e-par USA are pleased to announce a series of “Lunch & Learn” webinars on the value of voluntary environmental programs for golf course superintendents to take place throughout April and May of 2015. 


    Building from a joint presentation recently delivered at the Metropolitan GCSA Chapter Education Session, Audubon International Executive Director Doug Bechtel and e-par USA President & CEO Kevin A. Fletcher, Ph.D., will deliver a series of 30-minute live webinars designed to:

    • Present data highlighting the economic and environmental value of third-party voluntary environmental programs;
    • Provide a forum for golf course superintendents to learn more about both the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf (ACSP) and the e-par Environmental Management System (EMS) for Golf;
    • Describe how a combination of various programs can be used to enhance ongoing efforts to protect and conserve water, wildlife, and other natural resources;
    • Highlight the ways golf course superintendents can gain additional benefits from these programs, such as professional development and training for assistant superintendents;
    • Explore lessons-learned from Golf Course Superintendents currently using the ACSP and the e-par EMS to meet their environmental performance goals.

    These sessions are built on a collaboration recently taken by the two organizations in an effort to inspire the next wave of environmental leadership in golf. As Cornell University Professor Frank Rossi states, “I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Kevin and Doug present their progressive view of environmental programs for golf. I feel their approach will help superintendents understand the best way forward when considering establishing a recognized environmental performance program at their facility.”

    The schedule for the webinar series is as follows:

    • East Coast Webinars—12:00pm Eastern: April 1st, April 15th, and May 11th
    • Central/Mountain Webinars—1:30pm Eastern (12:30 Central): April 2nd, April 16th, and May 13th
    • West Coast Webinars—3:00pm Eastern (Noon Pacific): April 1st, April 15th, and May 11th

    Click here to register:   https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/8056458512819624962

    Along with this “Lunch & Learn” series, Audubon International and e-par USA are also pursuing opportunities to deliver joint presentations at golf association meeting throughout 2015. “If we’re to continue to help golf course owners, managers, and superintendents throughout the industry lead on environmental issues beyond the current state, it only makes sense for like-minded organizations to work collaboratively. It certainly starts with more effective outreach and education,” said Fletcher. 


    “E-par-USA and Audubon International share a similar mission to enhance golf course’s business operations while certifying best practices,” said Bechtel. “We hope to demystify voluntary programs and offer stories and data that demonstrate the balance of economic, social, and environmental benefits certification programs provide.”


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