Environmental enhancer

Are you sick and tired of charges that turf is detrimental to the environment and society in general? I am, but that sentiment is bound to change once we start looking at the data that is pouring out of university research programs. In November, I was invited to give an evening presentation--"Turf's impact on environmental enhancement and safety"--to a group of turfgrass scientists at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy. Also speaking on the topic at the meeting were Dr. James Beard and representatives of United States Golf Association and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). The focus was primarily golf-course related (also the focus of this issue), but discussion also touched on the environmental impact of institutional and residential turf areas. In researching the topic, I was struck by the wealth of documented evidence supporting the premise that turf is an environmental and safety enhancer rather than a detriment as some parties would like you to believe. One tactic of the anti-turf groups is to raise fears by claiming that we don't know enough about turf's impact on the environment. Do we know everything there is to know about the environmental impact of turf? No, there's always more to learn. But the information that we now have provides more than an ample foundation to allay concerns about turf being an environmental villain. In fact, we know a lot more about turf's environmental impact than we do about most native species with which some proponents have suggested replacing turf. Too often, turf's beneficial attributes get overlooked. The problem is that we probably will never hear much about turf's positive impacts because positive subjects don't make good sensational news. Turf bashing is bound to continue, but now we have some good evidence to counter negative claims and undue concern. Since the meeting, I have had numerous requests for the information presented. Because of this response, I'll be addressing some of these findings in an upcoming issue of Grounds Maintenance.

Speaking of GM, you'll notice a few changes we've implemented in this issue. First, we've introduced several new departments: Equipment Options, On Site and Association Profile. Equipment Options is a comprehensive overview of equipment used for grounds care. Each month, we'll focus on a particular equipment category. The department includes a general article relating to the topic, as well as a description of products on the market accompanied by four-color photographs and reader-reply numbers if you'd like more information.

On Site features case histories of unique and interesting grounds-care operations across the country. GM Technical Editor Eric Liskey has traveled extensively and interviewed many grounds managers in preparation for this new department. It serves as a platform for grounds managers to share some of their grounds-care techniques as well as their trials and tribulations with you.

Association Profile is a new department that showcases trade associations in our industry. Here you will find out what associations are out there and how they can help you in your profession. The debut focuses on the GCSAA, located in Lawrence, Kan. We'll be covering other associations in upcoming issues.

In addition to these new departments, we've tweaked our design somewhat to further improve the visual impact of GM. You'll notice a new contents page, new headline treatments and new department layouts. Although the changes are subtle, we are committed to continually improve on the magazine to maintain a fresh look that promises to keep your interest.

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