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Golf Course as Sanctuary

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.

For nearly three decades, Audubon International has impacted environmental health with its sanctuary certification programs. To date, more than 3,000 properties have been enrolled, including golf courses, cemeteries, housing developments, hotels, and many others.

In 2003, the Lake Tahoe Golf Course was designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, one of 1,009 golf courses from locales like Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, Mexico, the US and Southeast Asia that have also achieved this certification.

John Stanowski was golf course superintendent at the time, and has been succeeded by Bobby Jaeger since his retirement. Although Stanowski kept the program up and running for nearly a decade, Jaeger now has firsthand knowledge of what Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary recertification entails, which must be done every two years.

Jaeger explained the process of recertification: "Environmental goals are set, such as reducing water or chemical use, and new paperwork and photos are submitted. We believe being stewards to the land is just as important as providing excellent playing conditions for our guests. Our commitment to being a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary demonstrates this."

But he isn't taking all the credit. "Community involvement is a large factor, the local troop at Girl Scouts of America donated bird boxes to support the effort," Jaeger said. This collective effort has certainly paid off, as nearly 30 species of birds currently inhabit the Lake Tahoe Golf Course.

Joellen Lampman, Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs Director, stated, ''Lake Tahoe Golf Course has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for preserving the natural heritage of the area by protecting the local watershed and providing a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property.''

''To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that it can maintain a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas,'' Lampman stated.

These categories include environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management.

For more information about Audubon sanctuaries, call Audubon International at 518-767-9051 or visit

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August 25, 2019, 5:38 am PDT

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