Mirimichi has become the first golf course in the Americas to receive Golf Environment Organization (GEO) Certified status. The designation signifies that Mirimichi has met comprehensive and advanced sustainability requirements, and uses them to both drive continual improvement, and communicate the back-story behind their success. With GEO Certification Mirimichi becomes one of just 10 courses world-wide to receive the prestigious designation.
The Golf Environment Organization is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening ties between people, golf and the environment. The international organization recognizes that opportunities for enhancing social and environmental quality abound in golf development and management, and works through a global community of partners to develop and deliver innovative, practical programs within a coordinated sustainable golf movement.
"Receiving GEO Certification, especially on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, is very proud moment for all of us associated with Mirimichi," said Justin Timberlake, owner of Mirimichi. "Environmental sustainability at Mirimichi is about more than what we can do at our course. It is about taking a leadership role and encouraging other golf courses, and organizations of all kinds around the country and around the globe to emulate our commitment toward making a positive impact on the world we live in."
The full details of Mirimichi's certification can be found on the GEO website at: www.golfenvironment.org/mirimichi
"What we see here is a model example of sustainability in golf," said Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of the Golf Environment Organization. "Mirimichi is well integrated into the community, and has focused on maximizing the site's ecological value while minimizing resource consumption. Mirimichi highlights that with the engagement of skilled and motivated staff who are actively encouraged to explore common sense opportunities to enhance the facility's environmental and social value, golf really can deliver a diverse range of benefits to local people and as ecosystems.
"GEO has brought this recognition programme forward, with the support of our partners, at a time when golf facilities the world over are re-positioning themselves to offer high quality products based on sustainability principles and practices," added Smith. "By interfacing society's contemporary sustainability agenda with golf facility management, we want to help these facilities in both raising their own bar and realizing tangible business benefits. We also sought to create a transparent mechanism through which verifiable leadership can be represented and positive international profile attained. We are delighted Mirimichi have chosen to be part of this movement, and by the drive that Justin and his team have demonstrated in Mirimichi's redevelopment and ongoing management."
To achieve GEO Certification, Mirimichi had to publicly represent and have independently verified a high level of performance in a wide variety of environmental and conservation areas. Some of the particular strengths noted during the site's verification included: enhancing nature protection by increasing the size and connection of natural habitats; placing an emphasis on entirely native planting, enhancing landscape and cultural heritage; minimizing water consumption; protecting and enhancing water quality; minimizing pesticide use; reducing resource and energy consumption and waste; providing comprehensive internal and external environmental communications and maintaining a challenging Environmental Management Plan. Progress is continually re-assessed and reported on a three-year basis.
"Here at Mirimichi everyone feels the depth of our commitment and drive to do our best for people and the environment. Our staff have embraced their role as stewards and it's visible in all aspects of our facilities," said Kenny Herzog, Superintendent at Mirimichi. "Knowing we are managing to internationally recognized standards of social and environmental performance, our team can confidently promote the benefits of living and working more sustainably. We've gone far beyond simply massaging our performance stats or green marketing. We do it because it's good for business, and because we know great golf and healthy ecosystems go hand in hand."
"I've been working with the team at Mirimichi for three years and have witnessed an unerring desire to completely understand the sustainability opportunities," said sustainability adviser, Russ Bodie of Sustainable Golf, LLC. "What sets Mirimichi apart is that they have made the commitment from the top down to tell people about what they are doing; to share their experience in delivering sustainable golf not only within their own community but also with the rest of the industry. That desire to share and partner is in the spirit of true environmentalism, and the Mirimichi has it in abundance."
The GEO Certification compliments Mirimichi's existing environmental award as the first golf course in the U.S. to be designated as a Certified Audubon International Classic Sanctuary. To achieve both these certifications, Mirimichi has worked closely with sustainability consultants including accredited GEO Sustainability Advisers on creating responsible procedures and policies, the long-term environmental management of the golf course and comprehensive employee training.