Talking Turf

There is nothing I love more than using this page in the magazine to recognize someone in our industry who is working to benefit each of you reading this column. Today that person is Turfgrass IPM Specialist Kevin Trotta, who, last month, collected the 2006 Turf and Ornamental Communicator's Association (TOCA) Environmental Communicator of the Year Distinction at the association's annual meeting in Napa, Calif. The award is given each year to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry. He is the eighth recipient of the award (the first recipient being our very own Dr. Mark Welterlen).

Trotta is an educator, speaker and writer about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and is an expert in the practical application of those sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in turfgrass management. Trotta began his career in the green industry as a lawn and landscape contractor. He also served as an assistant golf course superintendent before becoming head groundskeeper for the North Rockland Central School District in Garnerville, N.Y., in 1988. Trotta holds a B.S. degree in landscape horticulture from the State University of New York and a M.A. degree in environmental studies from City College of New York.

Kim Heck, CEO of the Sports Turf Managers Association, nominated Trotta for the award because he is an ambassador for environmental stewardship in the green industry. “His passion for protecting the environment and providing safe and beautiful sports fields for athletes and fans has gained him recognition as a leader in integrated pest management. It is his personal mission to share his knowledge, experience and research with others through presentations, articles and community outreach.”

Upon accepting the award, Trotta encouraged all of us to be ambassadors for this industry.

“In its early years, the turf industry adopted some pretty heavy-handed strategies and methods. We're guilty of plowing through the latter half of the last century like proverbial bulls in a china shop. We helped create our own image problem,” Trotta said.

“But today there's a new breed of green industry professional on the scene: armed with new tools and techniques and aware that if we want to be perceived as stewards of the environment, we must be stewards of the environment.

“Our critics need to meet the modern sports turf manager or golf course superintendent. The public needs to know who we are, what we do and why we do it. Each one of us is a potential representative and ambassador with an opportunity to correct misconceptions and reshape our collective image. We must reach out to our colleagues and impress upon them these responsibilities at this critical juncture,” he said.

“We have an opportunity in the coming years to demonstrate that the green industry is not an environmental problem; we're part of the solution.”

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