Preserving the Green
by Scott Witte, Director of Golf Maintenance
In 1993, Cantigny became one of the earliest golf courses in the United States to earn the prestigious classification of “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary”. To reach certification, property owners and managers demonstrate a high degree of environmental excellence in: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.
In recent years, Cantigny Park and Cantigny Golf have joined forces to maintain the Robert R. McCormick Estate’s Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status. In doing so, Cantigny joins over 3,000 properties including golf courses, cemeteries, ski areas, housing developments, hotels, and communities in the rigorous certification program. Through education, technical assistance, certification, and recognition, Audubon International facilitates the implementation of environmental management practices that ensure natural resources are sustainably used and conserved.
Environmental efforts put forth by Cantigny staff and volunteers provide a tremendous value to our surrounding community. Just a few of the programs generated from the program include: Wildlife Habitat Restoration in native prairies and woodlands, Bluebird Nest Box Monitoring, starting a Purple Martin Colony, recycling drums for Rain Barrel sales, The Bee Barometer Project, and several outreach and education events to showcase golf’s environmental opportunities.
While actively engaged in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, Cantigny has incorporated the use of safer pesticides and fertilizers with extremely low toxicity levels. An effort to minimize inputs wherever possible is common place at Cantigny. The overall effect is responsible land management on the cutting edge of technology, sensibility, and sustainability.