Not all the good things that happen on a golf course involve little white balls. The fine folks at GlenArbor in Bedford, NY, have found a way to make great use of their facility for another fun--and very worthwhile--endeavor: environmental education.
A group of kids from West Patent Elementary School recently visited the course for a hay ride tour with Superintendent Ken Benoit that included stops at a bluebird nest box where they discussed nesting and predators and at a stand of rare Dawn Redwoods where the talk was about the importance of trees to the air we breathe as well as the aesthetics of the golf course. They made a visit to the 17th green to talk about grass as an oxygen-producer and the many substances that make up healthy soil, and finished at a lake on the course where they observed fish, two types of turtles, and ducks, swans, and a Great Blue Heron.
Near the 15th tee they stopped to see the wetlands where the swans nest, then it was off to the 14th tee to see the nearby wild flowers and their pollinators, the bees, butterflies, and humming birds. Along the way, they looked for other wildlife that inhabits the course and surrounding countryside including fox, coyote, deer, turkeys, hawks, rabbits, raccoons, and skunks. The day included a honey bee hive demonstration, slide show, and even a box lunch served near the short game practice facility.
The kids had a great time and learned a bunch about the world we live in.
Next time I'm searching for a ball in the tall grass or cursing that big tree between me and the green, I hope I can step back and enjoy the place I'm playing the same way these kids did.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo