VANCOUVER PARKS GOLF works with Environmental Youth Alliance to further enhance environmental stewardship at golf courses
Vancouver, B.C., August 10, 2012 – On June 28, 2012 Fraserview Golf Course became home to a wildflower garden bee habitat. Working with the Environmental Youth Alliance, the Fraserview site is part of a citizen science program to monitor bees in cities. Native bees are an important part of maintaining biodiversity in urban spaces. They also play a critical role in supplying local food. Both native and honeybees are declining in Canada. The EYA will use volunteer teams to survey the bee pasture at Fraserview every two weeks. Mason bee condos have also been installed at all three Championship golf courses.
This bee project is just another phase of the environmental stewardship initiatives undertaken by Vancouver Parks Golf. In 2003, Fraserview was designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by the educational division of Audubon International. The program provides information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat. McCleery and Langara followed with the same designation in 2004. All three golf courses have been re-certified every two years since and remain three of only 11 golf courses certified in British Columbia.
In March 2009, 30 fruit trees were planted at Fraserview Golf Course, just off the 8th fairway, 27 apple and 3 cherry trees. The Fraserview apple crop for 2012 is looking very good. If enough apples are produced they will be used in the kitchen or donated to a local food bank.
Golfers are welcome to pick an apple for a snack on the way by. In addition, 3 cherry trees and 2 apple trees were planted at McCleery Golf Course, near the river. Langara has several apple cherry and plum tress and as part of the 2020 greenest city initiative has an extensive tree planning project planned for this fall. Approximately 200 bird friendly trees will be planted which will include some fruit trees. These trees will further help develop the biodiversity of the property.
In April 2012 bat houses were installed. The houses at Fraserview, McCleery and Langara golf courses provide a safe habitat for bats, which are a major insect-controller. Bat populations have been declining due in part to the loss of their natural roosts. Six ‘Nursery’ bat houses that can accommodate up to 300 bats have been installed. “Last year we had a problem with mosquitoes. We had to supply bottles of OFF repellent on the courses for golfers,” said Howard Normann, Supervisor of Golf Operations. “But if there is one thing that bats like to eat, it’s mosquitos”.
Birdhouses have been erected at all three championship golf courses. Since 2003 the Vancouver Natural History Society has been recording bird counts at all three properties. Each golf course also has a “Bird Board” in which golfers and users of the nature trails can read about the various bird species that have been identified. (All three golf courses are surrounded by walking/nature trails. The 2.7 km trail around Langara is one of the busiest in the City.) Since 2003,103 different species have been recorded. The birds and the bees will help pollinate local plants and the fruit trees.
In 2012 Fraserview converted an existing flowerbed between the Clubhouse and the 10th tee into a productive, organic vegetable garden. There are currently three 12′ x 4’ raised beds that are growing cucumbers, different lettuce varieties, carrots, onions, kale, purple cabbage, beans, peas, squash, and a variety of herbs. The kitchen will be using all that is produced. It is being promoted as grown organically on site.
The Superintendents at all the golf courses and the Supervisor of Golf Operations are committed to continuously improving the biodiversity of the properties. Two of the three superintendents (currently at Fraserview and McCleery) have been with the Park Board for over 30 years. The newest member of the team is the superintendent at Langara. He studied agronomy at The Pennsylvania State University and has 17 years of previous experience. The Supervisor of Golf Operations was also a Superintendent and works at all three golf courses before assuming his current role. These men are dedicated to providing an exceptional golf product while at the same time creating a “naturalized” environment that enhances wildlife habitats.