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Golf course expert to speak at sustainability seminar

Posted on: Feb 28, 2014 1:00:00 AM
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Contact: Della Elliott (619) 644-7690 della.elliott@gcccd.edu

A national expert in golf course environmental stewardship is a speaker for Cuyamaca College’s 6th Annual Sustainable Turf and Landscape Seminar set for Thursday, March 6.

David Phipps, a field representative of the Golf Course Superintendents Association who’s appeared on the Golf Channel, tops a list of presenters focusing on sustainability in golf course and turf maintenance

Cuyamaca College, renowned for its longtime commitment to the green movement, began hosting the seminars as a forum for educators, industry representatives and local organizations interested in fostering a culture of sustainability. The event is put on by the college’s Ornamental Horticulture program.

“This year we are excited to focus on the turf industry and how it is adapting to the changes underfoot for more sustainable landscape practices,” program coordinator Don Schultz said, noting sustainability initiatives by golf courses such as reducing storm water pollution and establishing wildlife habitats.  “Our top-notch speaker lineup is sure to be a big draw to the golf course, sports turf and the landscape industry.”

Under Phipps’ management, Stone Creek Golf Club near Portland Ore. made Links Magazine’s list of  top 10 eco-friendly golf courses in the United States in 2009 and 2012, the same year Phipps won the President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

In including Stone Creek in its list, Links Magazine noted the course’s spare use of pesticides and limited irrigation.

Phipps, who now represents golf course superintendents throughout Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montanan and Idaho, said operators are often unfairly painted as profligate water users.

“California superintendents are some of the best water managers in the country, yet we are viewed as wasters of water,” he said. His presentation at the Cuyamaca College seminar reflects a strategy on the part of the association to change the misperception, Phipps said.

“I’ll be focusing on how we should represent ourselves in the public eye when it comes to overall sustainability,” he said. ”Questions will be raised like who is advocating for the game of golf and what kind of messages are we sending. We need to focus on our message and show the benefits of our industry.”

Other  symposium presenters and their topics are:

  • Nancy Wickus / Kara Roskop Waters  with the County of San Diego: Update on Pesticide Laws and Regulations. Wickus is a senior agricultural/standards inspector with the county Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures. Roskop-Waters works in the same department in agricultural water quality and pesticide regulation.
  • Kimberly Gard with Syngenta Corporation, a global chemicals company which markets seeds and pesticides: Is the Future of Pesticides Sustainable?
  • Luke Yoder, head groundskeeper, Petco Park: Plant Growth Regulators on High Maintenance Turf
  • Joe Vargas, plant pathology professor at Michigan State University: Pesticides: Perception versus Reality. Vargas has published more than 200 articles on turfgrass diseases and has given more than 1,000 presentations at conferences in 19 countries.

In addition to the seminar to be held from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in Cuyamaca College’s performing arts center, an outdoor trade show is planned, with typically sizable industry and vendor representation.

The registration fee $75 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

For more information on the symposium and to register online, click here.

Cuyamaca College is located at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego. For more information about Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu

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