Encouraging wildlife on Golf Courses and Sports Grounds
As grounds managers, whether on a golf course, sports ground, or other amenity area, we are increasingly aware of our duties and responsibilities to nature and the environment. Working sympathetically with, and in close harmony to, wildlife and the forces of nature is a challenge that can be both frustrating and rewarding. Lucky we are indeed when perusing a golf course in the soft glows of early morning light and catching a glimpse of a stalking weasel edging its way toward an unsuspecting rabbit; or a startled cock pheasant clumsily taking to flight amidst its nervous squawks; or a bright-eyed field mouse on its perilous journey, oblivious to the piercing glare of an eager kestrel hovering above.
In places, beneath our feet, is a botanical myriad of colours, textures, forms and scents. Yarrow, scabious, gentians, cowslip, self-heal, violets, buttercups, bugle - maybe even orchids - a bountiful collection of fascinating and beautiful wild flowers.
Amidst this jungle of vegetation, there lurks a plethora of insects - strange forms, weird, alarming - some beneficial, some the source of our frustrations. But, whatever their roles, they add to the diversity of life and activities.
As guardians of these habitats and their inhabitants, we contribute to the beauty and splendour of our surroundings. We must never forget them, abuse them, or put them at risk. They are our responsibility and we must protect them and encourage them - even if we don't like all of them. Knowing that we have helped to preserve and enhance our environment should be one of the most rewarding elements of our work. The more knowledge and experience we gain, the greater will be our rewards.
Experts in their fields and accomplished grounds managers from all walks of sport are on hand to discuss various aspects of environmental stewardship at the National Turfgrass Foundation 'In Pursuit of Excellence' Conference 2005 at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool, 5th to 8th December.