Elcona Country Club recognized for environmental excellence

Elkhart Truth file photo Elcona Country Club has retained its designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.

BRISTOL — Elcona Country Club has retained its designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program.

Participation is designed to help course personnel plan, organize, implement and document a comprehensive environmental management program. To reach certification, a course must demonstrate it is maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas including: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management. Achieving certification demonstrates an organization’s leadership, commitment and high standards of environmental management.

“Elcona Country Club has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Christine Kane, CEO at Audubon International.

Elcona Country Club is one of six golf properties in Indiana, and of over 900 courses in the world, to hold the honor. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Central America, Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia have also achieved certification in the program. Elcona was first designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in 2012.

“We see the site visit as an important component of a course’s recertification,” Kane said. “It provides an objective verification of some of the more visible aspects of the course’s environmental management activities. In addition, it offers an opportunity for golf course representatives to share publicly some of the voluntary actions they have taken behind the scenes to protect and sustain the land, water, wildlife, and natural resources around them.”

Highlights of Elcona’s commitment to environmental stewardship include well-defined wildlife corridors and habitats, increased acreage designated for pollinator habitat, constructing bee hotels for increased native bee habitat, a 28 percent reduction in plant protectants and inputs over a six-year period, a 24 percent reduction in water usage over a 10-year period, and hosting First Green school field trips to educate seventh-grade students on STEM principles on the golf course.

Elcona’s program is coordinated by Ryan Cummings, golf course superintendent.

“Both the staff and the membership of Elcona Country Club are thrilled to be recertified as an Audubon Certified Sanctuary,” Cummings said. “This recertification demonstrates the continued commitment Elcona has in setting high standards in environmental management and our dedication of being good stewards to the community.”

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