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2009 Green Star Awards

Each year, the Professional Grounds Management Society names the winners of the PGMS Green Star Grounds Management Awards. Recognizing beautifully designed and magnificently maintained sites from all over the United States, 2009 marks the 36th year of the competition. Judged by a revolving panel of 6 PGMS members-peers within the industry-the winners were announced at the conclusion of the School of Grounds Management & GIE+Expo in Louisville, Ky. in October.

Sure-loc Aluminum
Teak Warehouse 3 tier Tech
Senna Tree Sport Turff
PGMS Kafka Granite
Power Trim Scottsdale Water

Submissions were made in the following 15 categories:

  • Small Site (commercial or primary work site with a budget under $80,000)
  • Residential Landscape (single residence or estate owner)
  • Public Works Site (includes parkways, greenways, and intersections)
  • Shopping Area
  • Hospital or Institution
  • Government Building or Complex
  • Cemetery or Memorial Park
  • Industrial, Commercial Site, or Office Park
  • Park, Recreation Area, or Playground
  • Multiple Sites under Management Company
  • Condominium or Apartment Complex
  • Hotel, Motel, or Resort
  • Amusement Park, Theme Park, or Zoo
  • Athletic Fields, Professional Fields and Golf Courses
  • School Grounds

Many facilities are taken into consideration, but because the standards are so strict, not every category is represented by the winners. Such was the case this year, as only seven categories were recognized. Among the winners are eight Grand Awards (the highest honor achievable per category), along with 11 Honor Award winners. So, without further ado, LSMP is proud to present the 2009 winners.

Amusement Park, Theme Park, or Zoo - Grand Award

  • The Disneyland Resort, Year of a Million Dreams, Anaheim, CA
  • Dave Garza, Operations Manager, HRE

At the Disneyland Resort, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. However, when you're making more than 15 million first impressions annually, landscaping has to be at its best everyday. The Year of a Million Dreams project is a testament to landscaping at its best with intricate designs, complete with a variety of colors, textures and greenery. The Castle moat features formal pruning, while a rose garden complements statuettes of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, which were sculpted especially for Walt Disney and made of Italian Marble from Lucca, Italy. Petunias help simulate the colors of the ocean while a display of jumping dolphins frolic. Tropical plants and tall timber bamboo provide convinced undiscovered temple ruins at the entrance to the Indian Jones attraction at Adventureland. A playground for kids of all ages, Disney never fails to please.

The floral Mickey Mouse at the entrance of Grand Award winner, Disneyland in California is maintained to look its best every day. The floral display is changed eight times a year and greets guests as they enter the park.

Daily removal of spent flowers at Disneyland is on every gardener's task list. The scents of these carnations are an added benefit to the colorful show.

Amusement Park, Theme Park, or Zoo - Honor Award

  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C.
  • Craig Rudolph

Established in 1889, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park is a 163 acre urban park located in Northwest Washington, D.C. With a budget of $1.2 million, the grounds crew of 13 is able to create and maintain exhibits that are fresh, inviting and aesthetically different. To name a few, the Think Tank exhibit is housing for orangutans designed with a tropical feel and the Seal and Sea Lion exhibit is a pool whose landscape surroundings include 500 annuals in planting beds and weathered cedar driftwood. Boasting an abundance of unique exhibits, the zoo has a landscape area that is sure to please any taste.

This flowerbed is at the pedestrian entrance of the Smithsonian on Connecticut Avenue. The bed is a three season display. In the spring, bulbs and pansies are planted. In the summer, annuals and tropicals are installed. For the colder seasons, topiaries are installed and surrounded by red twig dogwood.

Over 8,500 annuals were planted at the Smithsonian this year. In this picture, some of the staff is planting blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens), Zinna "Profusion Orange," and Angelonia "Deep Plum" at the lower entrance of the Zoo in an area called the Crossroads.

Athletic Fields - Grand Award

  • Carroll College Nelson Stadium, Helena, MT
  • Gerald Landby, Director of Grounds

Winning teams need top-tier fields to play on and the crew at Nelson Stadium makes sure that they can meet the challenge. Primarily used for football and soccer, other organizations look to Nelson Stadium as a venue for some of their events. Despite small budgets and, sometimes, shorthanded crews, this NAIA field can challenge others to be the number one field in the nation.

At Carroll College Nelson Stadium the football team goes through run-through drills on Friday to get ready for their next game. 2007 marked the first time in five years that a chemical application (Trimec ) was used to control weeds on the field.

The finishing touches are put on the field before the next game. The 2.4 acre field was named the 2007 STMA College and University Soccer Field of the Year.

Athletic Fields - Honor Award

  • Baker Field Athletic Complex, New York, N.Y.
  • Kevin Malone, Manager

Located in bustling New York City, Baker Field is a six acre sports complex, home to Columbia University's sports teams that includes a stadium and track, field hockey, baseball and soccer fields as well as a boat house with a floating dock. Managing an array of landscape varieties the grounds crew of 10 was recently put to the test as they had the challenging task of installing new synthetic surfaces to replace the natural grass fields for the baseball, soccer and field hockey fields. Dealing with an urban environment, a variety of landscapes and environmental factors including snow and rain keep this grounds crew busy, the end result is a pristine athletic sports complex ready for the universities athletes.

Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, part of the Baker Field Athletic Complex, as seen from the pressbox overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades' to the west. To maintain the field, 10 full-time groundskeepers put in 400-450 total labor hours per week.

This worker grooms Wien Stadium's synthetic turf. Recently, three new artificial surfaces-for baseball, soccer and field hockey-were also installed on the Columbia's Baker Field Athletic Complex.

Athletic Fields - Honor Award

  • Bergenfield Little League Association, Bergenfield, NJ
  • Volunteers trained by George Van Haasteren

With over 300 games, not including practices, maintaining Hickey Field is no easy task. Volunteers spend 25 hours each week meticulously grooming the field to make sure it is both safe and playable. Frequently compared to the field in Williamsport, where the Little League World Series is held each year, Hickey Field continues to impress spectators, little leaguers and parents alike.

The total budget for Hickey Field is $9,000. Some special maintenance challenges that volunteers have been faced with include: repairing home plate after games, grooming the infield, nightly mound repair, as well as repairing the turf area in front of the mound. Yearly, $600 is spent on chemicals and fertilizers and another $600 is spent on seed and plant material.

Condominium or Apartment Complex - Grand Award

  • Henry Ford Village, Dearborn, MI
  • Davey Tree Expert Company

This campus-style Erickson Retirement Community is located adjacent to the birthplace of Henry Ford. More than 1,200 residents enjoy vibrant colors throughout the property with trees, shrub beds and flowers such as day lilies impatiens, azaleas, petunias, mums and pansies. Begonias, white hydrangeas and ornamental trees are among vegetation that line the entrance to one of the two clubhouses, which include restaurants, fitness centers and art studios for Henry Ford Village residents. Henry Ford Village and Birthplace Park provide residents and visitors a serene, garden-like atmosphere that celebrates an American icon.

Brilliant impatiens enhance the informational markers dispersed throughout the park at Henry Ford Village. A full-time gardener tends to the flower beds throughout the campus.

Condominium or Apartment Complex - Grand Award

  • Ocean Edge Condominiums, Brewster, MA
  • Rick Roberto, Association Manager

The 429-acre condominium property on Cape Cod is occupied by a Nicklaus Design golf course and nearly 1,000 condominiums, which mostly serve as second homes to its residents. With a budget of over $4.6 million, 38 staff members create new and interesting landscaping through flower bed reconstruction, main road beautification and expanding the property irrigation. Colorful gardens line the main road, welcoming residents and visitors. Despite the challenges of the high cost of living and difficult climates, Ocean Edge Condominiums offers first class landscape design worthy of its immaculate reputation.

The Linx Clubhouse is one of the marquee structures on the Ocean Edge site that is cared for by a crew of 13 full-time groundskeepers and an additional 25 seasonal staff.

At the Ocean Edge Condominiums, the Carriage House sits on the 100-acre site maintained by the staff. The landscape also contains 15 acres of display beds and 5 miles of paved area.

Condominium or Apartment Complex - Honor Award

  • Palisades Park, Alexandria, VA
  • Davey Tree Expert Company

Nestled among towering trees overlooking the Potomac River in Arlington, Va., Palisades Park is nearly five acres of beautifully maintained and manicured landscaping. Ornamental grasses, shrubs and flowers complement each unit and colorful plants, such as the Bigleaf Hydrangea, are used to add impact. Well-kept street trees, lush turf, brick walkways and driveways, stone walls, and flower beds are scattered throughout the community, making this a relaxing oasis that contrasts the busy, nearby Washington, D.C. life.

Care near the front entrance of Palisades Park includes attention to ornamental grasses, shrubs and flowers that complement each unit.

Government Building or Complex - Grand Award

  • Riverwalk Landing at Yorktown Waterfront, Yorktown, VA
  • Joanne Chapman, Landscape Maintenance Coordinator

Opened to the public in 2005, the Riverwalk Landing is the newest portion of the Yorktown Waterfront seaport, attracting visitors from across the country. The landscaping consists of native and exotic plants that lend to an aesthetically pleasing blend of changing seasonal colors and textures. Visitors can expect to find White Crape Myrtle, Hydrangea, pansies and tulips at various centers and along the pedestrian trail at the Landing. Each perennial garden, container garden and light pole adorned with flower baskets make Riverwalk Landing a beautiful spot to visit at any time of the year.

The view from across the "Green" features Ulmus Americana 'Valley Forge' Valley Forge Elms, Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Lamb' and container gardens. Approximately 2,000 annual flowers and 1,000 spring flowering bulbs are planted on site throughout the year.

This grounds maintenance worker mows some of Riverwalk Landing's two acres. In addition, workers maintain two acres of display beds and five acres of brick paver walkways and plaza areas on the site.

Industrial, Commercial Site, or Office Park - Grand Award

  • Abbott Park, Abbott Park, Ill.
  • Dave Spittlemeister, Senior Supervisor of Grounds

The grounds crew at Abbott Park, the corporate headquarters of Abbott, a broad-base company that discovers, develops and manufacturers and markets health care products, maintain three facilities of 615 total acres located a few miles west of the shores of Lake Michigan. The grounds crew of 12 full time employees work around the year to keep the property well maintained with personalized flower beds, a 300 person outdoor patio, and a wildlife area that boasts the preservation of the Eastern Prairie White Fringed Orchid. With a strong commitment to the environment, the grounds crew puts much effort into their green friendly landscape areas which include a rain garden, a green roof and bio-swales. Committed to both excellence in ground maintenance and the environment, Abbott Park is a great example of hard work paying off.

The new AP-6 patio, by far the largest outdoor patio area at Abbott Park, has table seating for up to 300 people. The patio is comprised of five circular pods with one of the pods being an outdoor cooking area.

Weed control is a constant challenge on the 231 acres of Abbott Park's maintained landscape. Weekly patrols with Roundup Pro or Roundup Quik Pro throughout the grounds are necessary to stay ahead of the weeds.

Park, Recreation Area, or Playground - Honor Award

  • The Disneyland Resort, Jungle Rehab, Anaheim, CA
  • Dave Garza, Operations Manager, HRE

When folks at The Disneyland Resort set their mind to a creative project, they dive deep into imagination and make the most challenging projects seem like a walk in a Disney park. The annual jungle rehab is no different. The forest canopy reaches heights of 100 feet and is one of two of the oldest jungles in southern California. Vines, giant timber bamboo and phyllostachys are used to screen one scene from another in this attraction. Ginger, philodendrons and palm trees line much of the river's edge, with eight different species of bamboo located throughout the river. Landscapers work together to achieve the vision and make every visit to the Jungle a memorable one.

Workers from all areas of Disneyland help with plantings when the water is drained during the annual jungle rehab. Soil testing is done during this time so that appropriate fertilizers can be applied. Here the manager discusses on-site design challenges while the foreman documents the changes for future project work.

School Grounds - Honor Award

  • Genevieve Green Gardens at Ewing Cultural Center, Illinois State University, Normal, IL.
  • Mike O'Grady, Director of Grounds and Fleet

The Genevieve Green Gardens at Ewing Cultural Center situated on the Illinois State University campus is a six acre site that includes the original home of Hazle Buck Ewing and her husband as well as the pristine landscape that surrounds it. After a generous donor gift, the area underwent a $25 million dollar landscape renovation project where the entire landscape was stripped and re-designed with the original vision of the Ewings. The new designed incorporated native ornamental shrubs, trees and flowers as well as an outdoor terrace, fountain and pathway. A popular site for events, weddings, cultural events and much more, this manor and its landscape serve as a historic serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of a busy campus.

The 2008 budget for Genevieve Green Garden included $6,000 allotted for chemicals, $2,500 for irrigation and another $4,000 for container plants. The total budget was $48,000.

With 2.5 acres of turf, 2.5 acres of display beds and another acre of paved area, this landscape is surprisingly only cared for by one full-time groundskeeper and another seasonal worker.

University and College Grounds - Grand Award

  • San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • John Rodriguez, Assistant Director

Over the last two years, San Diego State University has suffered a loss of 25% of their workforce due to attrition. This loss led the grounds director to revise his method for assigning responsibilities. The end result was more seasoned personal are able to focus on the art of gardening instead of more routine maintenance duties. Finding good out of a sticky situation has allowed the grounds crew at this urban university to produce more personalized and aesthetically pleasing landscape areas.

The landscape and signage design at San Diego State was a collaboration between the grounds division and the school's graphic arts shops. With 24 full-time employees and eight seasonal student staff, the crew maintains 30 acres of turf and an additional 90 acres of display beds.

University and College Grounds - Honor Award

  • Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
  • Kevin L. Dilliard, Assistant Director for Landscaping

Southern Methodist University resides on 170 acres of tree lined beauty in the Trinity Blacklands of north Texas. The desire for an evergreen campus presented a host of challenges because of black clay soil, heavily shaded areas and heavy foot traffic. However, this southern gem rose to the challenge and implemented various procedures that provided a solution to the problems. By air spading, using specialty grasses and plants, the grounds crew was able to create an appealing landscape of red yuccas, vitex, roses, tulips and a variety of perennials. The hard work has definitely paid off and has exceeded the expectations of the university's administration.

At SMU, these tulips are planted in front of the Laura Bush Promenade. With 2.5 acres of display beds, one licensed pesticide applicator works on staff amongst a total of 19 full time groundskeepers. Annually, $4,000 is spent on chemicals and fertilizers, while $100,000 is spent on plant material.

University and College Grounds - Honor Award

  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • Gerry Dobbs, Landscape Services Manager

As one of the top 100 universities in the world, Michigan State is impressive not only academically, but aesthetically. Landscape crews have been busy over the past few years with a variety of projects, including adding more than 4,000 trees and shrubs, bringing in more color beds and developing more than 500 new hardscape projects. In the Fall, different colors and textures make the campus stand out and winter snow brings beauty as well as minor challenges. "One of the challenges we face in the snow is pranks. The students covered and decorated one of our snow plow trucks," writes Gerald Dobbs, CGM, landscape services manager. Despite challenges, Michigan State has an extraordinary crew dedicated to creating unique and pleasing landscape design.

The new statue of Sparty, in honor of the school's mascot is featured prominently on the Michigan State campus. A huge staff of 57 is needed to maintain 900 acres of turf, which is merely a part of campus's 5,000 total acres.

Urban University Grounds - Grand Award

  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
  • Gene Gibson, Managing Director

Referred to by Will Rogers once as "the prettiest campus this side of the Mississippi," and hailed by MSNBC as one of the "Top Five Prettiest Campuses in the United States," the Texas Tech University campus continues to push the envelope, incorporating creativity, function and elegance into its landscape design. By taking a stroll around campus, visitors can encounter red geraniums, desert willows, pink hibiscus, crepe myrtle, chrysanthemums, Louisiana red acalypha and more, exposing them to rich colors and textures that are both sure to please. Beautification projects are also making the campus a work of art in itself. Landscape beds have been placed around 21 art pieces and will make the "prettiest campus" bigger and better than ever.

Texas Tech University was named one of the top five prettiest campuses in the U.S. in 2007 by MSNBC, as evidenced by these green honey locusts (background) and pampas grass (foreground).

Red and white chrysanthemums in a small bed form the Double T symbol that is synonymous with Texas Tech. An automatic watering system using either risers or drip line is used in most of the campus planting beds.

Urban University Grounds - Honor Award

  • Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
  • Dwight DeVries, Grounds Superintendent

Over 350 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds cater to a diverse mix of Lewis University's faculty, staff and student body. The ever-classic tulip greets students and guests as they enter who, once inside, are exposed to a delightful array of flowers and greenery. From meticulously sculpted meditation gardens and reflection pools to fountains, grottos and well-designed courtyards, Lewis has something to offer everyone. With a $1 million dollar budget and a staff of 16, the grounds superintendent and his crew have worked tirelessly over the past two years to create a formal garden, new practice fields and an inner paver courtyard, each of which has made this picturesque campus a source of inspiration.

The campus of Lewis University is comprised of 70 acres of turf, 7 acres of display beds and an additional 46 acres of paved area. With a total of 64 labor hours per week, 16 full-time employees use an operating budget of $1 million to run their program.

Urban University Grounds - Honor Award

  • Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Adrian Williams, Manager of Custodial Services

Ryerson University is a culturally diverse community within a dynamic, cosmopolitan environment. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the university's urban setting is integral to its approach to learning, teaching and research. The Ryerson landscaping team has recently took on projects to revamp campus fountains, update the chancellor's garden and replant the campus' perimeter gardens. With small budgets and staff, Ryerson's grounds maintenance is poised to stand out from other urban university landscape designs.

With 3 acres of turf, 2 acres of display beds and 2 more acres of paved area, a team of 6 full-time groundskeepers and an additional 10 summer students are required to care for the campus of Ryerson University.

Urban University Grounds - Honor Award

  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
  • Donna Anderson, Director of Facilities Management

Set on a long hillside, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) brings well-designed landscapes to students, faculty and staff. The Landscape and Grounds department maintains more than 500 acres of trees, perennials, annuals and shrub beds that make the campus beautiful. The Library Pond is a jewel located in the center of campus that attracts students and resident wildlife alike. Flowering trees welcome students and guests to UMBC, while roses and perennial beds decorate the outside of various campus buildings. UMBC classily brings a suburban beauty to an urban environment.

With 125 acres of turf and another 25 acres of display beds, UMBC keeps its 10 full-time staff members (and 1 seasonal worker) very busy.

This worker performs routine maintenance in the spring on one of the seven individual irrigation systems on campus.


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December 14, 2019, 8:30 am PDT

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