Teachers Get Out of Classroom & Onto the Links

On July 12th, 35 teachers from schools in King and Pierce County (Wash.) gathered at Fairwood Golf & Country Club in the Renton Highlands for First Green training.

First Green is an innovative environmental-education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs. Golf course superintendents and/or local representatives host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream bed restoration and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.

Through hands-on activities, teachers learned how soil composition affects water flow, the best grass seed for the course (and their residential yards), effective irrigation techniques for golf courses and homes, and how to test water for nitrates that are harmful to fish. They also got to try to sink a few on the putting green.

"We received so many positive comments. Our teachers are anxious to get their students out to the golf course. We look forward to working with you in the future, " wrote Mark Champoux, Summer Institute Site Coordinator.

In addition to learning how the golf course is an excellent learning lab, educators earned continuing education credits. They also got to meet golf course superintendents from local courses ready to host field trips.

In recognition of the educational impact of its programs, First Green has been invited to showcase local field trip programs as part of the Founder's Museum at the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club July 29. The Washington State Golf Association and the United States Golf Association have given significant support to First Green.

For more information, see www.thefirstgreen.org.