This spring, the out-of-play area between the 10th and 12th Tee boxes will become the location of a Wildflower Garden to offer a habitat for Monarch butterflies.
42 species of tall grass prairie, short grass prairie and wetlands plants have been ordered with a heavy emphasis on wildflowers including Milkweed – needed by Monarchs to sustain their life cycle.
All plants are sourced from Prairie Originals, a local native plant grower working only with local genetics. Once mature this garden will support nectar loving birds, butterflies, bees – but not deer! …along with enhancing the natural aesthetics of the golf course.
A Wonder of the World, Monarchs have declined by more than 90% over the last 2 decades. NCC joins with Audubon International to restore a habitat and migration area for Monarchs in out-of-play areas of our golf course and creating awareness of how the golf course can contribute significantly to a world-wide conservation challenge.
NCC Horticulturalist, Daphne Stapley leads the naturalization of woodland and the seeding of Milkweed off the river bank at Hole 10 to the back of the 12th tee complex. Milkweed provides the environment where Monarchs lay their eggs and is the food that larvae need to complete their metamorphosis into adult butterflies. This area will be declared environmentally sensitive, denoted with appropriate signage.
NCC’s participation in #MonarchsInTheRough contributes to the ecological naturalization of our golf sanctuary and serves a community leadership role in global conservation stewardship.
The Niakwa Country Club Turf Team is working toward certification of the Course under the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf. The ACSP is “an environmental education and certification program that helps golf courses protect the environment, preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf, and gain recognition for their efforts. “
Certification under the program reflects Niakwa Country Club’s recognition of the golf course as an important green space in an urban environment. The program involves preserving and enhancing habitat for native plants and animals and practicing sound environmental stewardship in all management practices.
To date 100 of the top golf courses in Canada are certified under the ACSP program. The Turf Team, led by Jon McMorris, Shane Bell, and Daphne Stapley, with support from our Course Superintendent Shawn Major, hopes to attain Certification in time for Niakwa’s Centennial in 2023.
The Turf Team has already achieved certification from the Audubon Society in several key Categories. These include: Chemical Use Reduction and Safety; Water Conservation; and Environmental Case Study. The remaining Certification categories include: Water Quality Management; Wildlife and Habitat Management; and Outreach and Education.
To support the Turf Team in its efforts to obtain Certification in these Categories, a group of Niakwa Members has formed a support committee. The Support Committee is chaired by Rob Sproule, with Members, Al Kowalec, Karen Yamada, Cory Frank, and Dave McMillan.
The Committee will be assisting the Turf Team with Member liaison and communications, community outreach and education, fundraising, project assistance, and tracking, and recording wildlife.
To date, the Committee has created a website, www.NatureOfNiakwa.ca , started construction of cavity bird boxes and bat boxes, developed a partnership with Save our Seine, and has begun fundraising with a $2500 profit from fundraising for a bench in memory of Dave Farlinger.
Audubon Certification will be a significant achievement for Niakwa. Enjoying the game of golf in harmony with the natural environment enhances the experience for all.
The wood duck is a beautiful bird that often has difficulty finding an appropriate nesting site. While they like to nest in old nests in tree cavities made by other birds, they have far greater success nesting in human-made Cavity Nesting Bird Boxes.
The boxes need to be strategically placed and maintained on the edge of a creek, river, stream or in a seasonally flooded area, about 1m above the water. Sometimes kestrels or owls will make these boxes a home.
Thanks to NCC member Dave McMillan for building duck boxes for NCC this year. For anyone feeling inspired to build one for their own yard these are good plans to follow!
Honey production on golf courses has grown in popularity over the past years. This summer, working with Scott Creek Honey farm, two hives of European Honey Bees will find a home to the east of Hole 5 Green and at the end of the pond between Hole 11 and 16. Southern Manitoba is one of the best places in the world for honey production and NCC has an abundance of diverse food and water sources to support this important and sustainable initiative.
Not only will the bees produce our own unique NCC Honey, but they will also provide much more reliable pollination that will benefit the plants on our property and in the greater community-at-large.
NCC Horticulturalist, Daphne Stapley has learning about beekeeping through the University of Manitoba to ensure a safe and responsible enterprise.
As part of the Audubon Certification Program for Golf, NCC has embarked upon a goal to naturalize at least 50% of the non-playing golf property.
Last year, NCC Horticulturalist, Daphne Stapely began to naturalize the pond edge garden between holes 11 and 16. Prior to these efforts, a garden of annuals was heavily grazed upon by geese and deer. Naturalizing this area has seen a reduction in watering, eliminated the need for fertilizers, and thereby reduced leaching into the golf course’s water source.
Look for more birds and turtles populating the area and see if the geese and deer are choosing to graze elsewhere!
A weather station is more than a predictor of rain or a beacon for lightening strikes. Data offered by a weather station contributes to the science of growing grass and adapting to the weather challenges of supporting a golf environment in Manitoba. As part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf, NCC is acquiring a weather station to move science and technology innovation forward.
More detailed, localized information about rainfall, dew point, solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity and evapotranspiration provides data used to optimize growing and conservation practices by golf course management staff. Remote access allows staff to monitor real-time data in their specific day-to-day niche management practices such as: irrigation scheduling, aerating and cutting, fertilizer applications, pests and diseases.
The acquisition of the WatchDog Weather Station has a cost of $3000 which will be a fund-raising focus for the upcoming 2021 year.