An Undergraduate Independent Study Project Developing a Golf Course Tree Inventory for Audubon Sanctuary Certification

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
David Eliot Kopsell , Agriculture, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Jacob Kuban, Undergraduate Student , Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Mike Rayman, Superintendent , Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Developing a tree inventory is one of the initial steps towards golf course Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certification. The Audubon Sanctuary Program is a cooperative effort between the United States Golf Association and Audubon International, Inc., with the goal to promote environmental sustainability and education on U.S. and international golf courses.  As part of an undergraduate independent study project we initiated this certification process for the 140-acre Weibring Golf Club on the campus of Illinois State University by completing a tree inventory of the course.  Course Vision® software was used to catalog and inventory golf course site elements.  The senior undergraduate student involved in the project had a strong background in woody plant identification through coursework and internship experiences.  Prior to the start of the project, Course Vision® field technicians visited campus and mapped the location of all the trees on the golf course, assigning each a number and GPS coordinate.  It took approximately 60 hours over a 15-week semester to visually identify, rate, and enter the genus and specific epithet of each tree specimen into the Course Vision® program.  A rating system of 1 to 5 was used with 1 signifying a tree that needed removal or replacement and 5 signifying a tree in excellent physical condition.  Of the 1,055 tree specimens identified from among 37 different species, ratings were as follows: rating 1 = 9.8% of the total number of trees, rating 2 = 13.6%, rating 3 = 33.5%, rating 4 = 35.7%, and rating 5 = 11.0%, respectively. Completion of this project is helping the course superintendent develop a tree budget and replacement program and to begin the process of applying for Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certification.
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