Eastman Golf Links has achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Michael Gornnert, superintendent, led the effort to obtain sanctuary designation on the property.
“This is the culmination of nearly six years of work by our golf maintenance crew, volunteers, golf members and the Eastman Community at large,” said Gornnert, who is the chief maintenance officer for Eastman. “We are excited to have received the certification, but this isn’t the end. It’s an on-going process with recertification every three years.”
“Eastman Golf Links has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program,” said Tara Donadio, director of Cooperative Sanctuary Programs at Audubon International. “They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property.
“To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas,” explained Donadio. These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.
EGL Golf Pro Mark Larrabee is excited to lead an ACS Certified course. “This is an amazing accomplishment. Being designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary takes teamwork, time and commitment,” he said, noting that of the roughly 33,000 golf courses in the world, there are only four certified facilities in New Hampshire and 893 in the world.
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, endorsed by the United States Golf Association, provides information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat and protect natural resources. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia have achieved certification in the program.
Eastman Golf Links is a semi-private, 18-hole golf course where golfers this year saw wildlife of all kinds, including fox, a bear and even a moose (view a gallery of some of the wildlife). It was rated 4 stars by the New England Golf Guide 2014 edition and was rated one of the top three courses in the Valley News Readers Poll in 2015. EGL hosted the New Hampshire Men’s State Amateur Championship in 2010 and will host the Women’s State Amateur in 2017.
Audubon International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Troy, NY. In addition to golf courses, Audubon International also provides programs for businesses, schools, communities, and new developments with the purpose of delivering high-quality environmental education and facilitating the sustainable management of natural resources. For more information, call Audubon International at 1-844-767-9051 or visit www.auduboninternational.org.