Audubon International and EDF team up to launch Monarchs in the Rough

By |  June 5, 2018 0 Comments

Audubon International and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently partnered to launch Monarchs in the Rough, a program to assist golf courses in the United States, Canada and Mexico in creating habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators in out-of-play areas.

The program first rolled out in January 2018 with a goal of enrolling 100 courses. Since the program surpassed its initial goal by enrolling more than 250 courses, it has set a new goal of enrolling 500 additional courses. A new website also launched to feature participating courses.

“The response from the golf community to helping pollinators recover from dramatic declines in recent years has been tremendous,” said Christine Kane, CEO of Audubon International. “Habitat loss is a key driver of the monarch butterfly’s decline, and golf courses are uniquely positioned to help create new habitat and turn things around for this iconic species.”

Golf course properties occupy approximately 2.5 million acres in the United States. Audubon International estimates there are at least 100,000 acres that have the potential to become suitable habitat for butterflies and bees, if managed appropriately.

Monarchs in the Rough encourages golf courses to adopt conservation practices such as planting milkweed and other wildflowers that monarchs need to breed and feed, in addition to changing mowing practices to support the timing of the monarch’s migration, and protecting sites from pesticide treatments.

“We bring the scientific expertise and the technical support, and the golf courses bring the land and the staff who are already well positioned to implement conservation practices,” said Daniel Kaiser, senior manager of habitat markets at EDF.

Monarchs in the Rough provides course superintendents and staff with the information they need to incorporate monarch habitat into the unique layout of each course.

“This program is not only helping turn things around for the monarch – it’s also an opportunity for the golf community to change the assumptions many people have about golf courses being unsustainable,” said Yank Moore, land manager for the Jekyll Island Authority and Golf Club in Jekyll Island, Ga. “We have a real opportunity here to showcase the stewardship ethic of golf course managers and superintendents, and to educate the public about conservation practices that support monarchs and other pollinators.”

Photo: Audubon International

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