Written by Tyler Krusz
BANGOUR – The Bangor Municipal Golf Course was recognized for environmental excellence this week, retaining its title of “Audubon Certified Cooperative Sanctuary,” one of six courses in Maine with this designation.
“It’s definitely kind of the cornerstone of what we do here,” said PGA course pro Rob Jarvis. “It’s super exciting, this is our first site visit where someone from Audubon International has come to the property. Walk through and show them what we’ve done and what we’ve been working on and what we’re working towards , it was a lot of fun and very rewarding.
“It takes a lot of work to get this certification, it’s not easy,” said Christine Kane, CEO of Audubon International. “There are six different stages, you start with a site assessment and an environmental plan. Once approved, you work your way through five more focus areas, including our chemical reduction safety, water quality and water conservation , wildlife habitat, and outreach and education.
Bangor Muni began their process with Audubon in 2013, and since then they have naturalized acres of land on the course. This has reduced their emissions and use of chemicals, as well as providing natural habitats for small animals to thrive.
“There’s native fescue, we left about 17 to 20 acres in the wild that was mowed, fertilized, sprayed,” Jarvis said. “What it did was it brought in a lot of birds of prey. We see eagles now, red-tailed hawks, peregrines every once in a while, basically because they now have a food source.
In doing so, the muni shows that golf courses do not need to sacrifice the environment to deliver quality golf.
“Golf courses sometimes don’t have the best reputation, and some of them deserve it,” Jarvis said. “But for us, being part of the City of Bangor, we felt this was an opportunity for us to lead in environmental stewardship. We are all passionate about protecting our environment, and what better way than to showcase this stunning property and show that it can be managed responsibly and have a positive impact on the environment.
Another mainstay of their stewardship has been looking after the Eastern Blue Bird – a project which began 40 years ago with course pro Austin Kelly and which still plays a huge part in the course’s identity today. today.
“We have 25 houses here for Eastern Blue Birds, and this year, for some reason, happens to be the biggest I’ve seen in 29 years of being here,” Jarvis said. “It’s very gratifying, and as you can see, we’ve actually adopted this bird as our logo.”
If you ask Jarvis, his favorite part of this process has definitely been seeing the return and prominence of bluebirds on the course.
“Without a doubt, the bluebirds, we have a box on the driving range that they nested in,” he said. “Being able to peek in there and watch the babies, it’s a lot of fun and rewarding.”