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Audubon International lauds Sanctuary Golf Course again

By Staff | Jun 9, 2010

Susan Cassell, left, a member of The Sanctuary Golf Club since 1996, poses for a picture with Kyle Sweet, Golf Course Superintendent, and the recertification award received from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

After it was announced that The Sanctuary Golf Club golf course had retained its designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, member Susan Cassell sat back and smiled.

That’s because the club’s participation in the Audubon International program was her idea in the first place.

"I think (The Sanctuary) is the only golf course in the United States that is surrounded by a federally-protected preserve, so it was only natural that we became a part of this," said Cassell, who joined the Sanibel club back in 1996. "I had been a member of the club for two or three years before I mentioned it to Kyle (Sweet, superintendent of the golf course)."

After a couple of years working together to have the club certified by Audubon International, The Sanctuary Golf Club was initially designated a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" in 2000.

"It’s an incredible program and something that’s so evolved within our culture on Sanibel," said Sweet, who stated that the certification process included a site assessment of the course, a review of environmental procedures employed by the club along with suggestions on ways to improve the course environmentally.

"We’ve become so appreciate of the program and will continue to support and grow with it," he added.

Sweet led the effort to maintain sanctuary status on the course. The Sanctuary Golf Club is one of only 99 courses in Florida and 761 in the world to receive the honor.

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, endorsed by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 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, Mexico and Southeast Asia have achieved certification in the program.

"The Sanctuary Golf Club has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program," said Jim Sluiter, Staff Ecologist for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs. "They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property."

Courses go through a recertification process every two years.

"To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas," explained Sluiter.

Among the categories certified by Audubon International are:

• Environmental Planning

• Wildlife & Habitat Management

• Outreach & Education

• Chemical Use Reduction & Safety

• Water Conservation

• Water Quality Management

"Being a part of this program just seemed like a natural fit," said Cassell. "We live on Sanibel, we live in harmony with wildlife. I go out birding in my back yard all the time and enjoy seeing what nature we attract at the golf course."

Audubon International is a not-for-profit, environmental education organization dedicated to educating, assisting and inspiring millions of people from all walks of life to protect and sustain the land, water, wildlife and natural resources around them. Its award-winning education and certification programs, has helped more than 5,800 businesses, golf courses, schools, communities and new developments improve environmental performance and manage natural resources responsibly on more than one million acres of land. 

For more information, contact Audubon International via their website at www.auduboninternational.org.