The designation affirms that the golf course has maintained a high degree of environmental quality in a variety of areas including planning, wildlife and habitat management, education, reduced chemical use, water quality management and more.
Dave Barber, who has been Superintendent of Cranberry Highlands since the course was built in 2001, led the facility’s environmental stewardship efforts. Audubon International notified Barber on June 19 that the golf course’s recertification had been issued. The course was initially recognized as part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program in 2009 and recertified two years later. The most recent certification specifically called out a program begun last year to create wildflower areas around the fairways designed to support pollinator insects – species which have been under stress in much of the country due to loss of habitat as well as other issues.
In her letter to Barber, Audubon Program Specialist Allie Smith cited Cranberry Highlands’ “superb outreach and education efforts, including your involvement with the Boy Scouts to build bird houses.” Other Audubon-inspired projects have included the creation of a half-mile nature trail in a wooded area within the 18-hole facility.
Cranberry Highlands is one of 909 golf courses currently carrying the Cooperative Sanctuary designation. Approximately 2,200 courses are enrolled in the program out of more than 34,000 worldwide.