Hudson County’s Skyway Golf Course has become a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” via the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, officials announced today.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The designation of Skyway Golf Course as Hudson County’s first Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary is a momentous occasion for our community, and we are proud to have a public golf course that not only provides recreational opportunities but also serves as a model for environmentally conscious development,” Hudson County Executive Craig Guy said in a statement.
Fred Parcells, the golf course superintendent, and Sammantha LaSasso, an environmental scientist, led the effort to obtain sanctuary designation on the property, and the course is now one of over 900 courses in the world to hold certification from Audubon International.
“These efforts will no doubt preserve this slice of nature as a haven for golfers and nature lovers alike for years to come,” Parcells added.
“The process has been very educational and rewarding, and thanks to our wonderful course staff and the tremendous support of the Hudson County Improvement Authority, we have ensured Skyway will be a great golf destination and a home for wildlife and the community to enjoy for generations.”
The Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) spearheaded the planning, design, construction, and financing not only for the golf course but also for the integrated public walkway, transition area, and vital wetlands mitigation.
“Skyway Golf Course’s designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary is a testament to our dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility,” noted Guerra.
“We believe in creating spaces that not only provide recreational enjoyment but also contribute to the preservation and enhancement of our natural surroundings. This certification underscores our commitment to the well-being of both the community and the environment.”
In 2010, then-County Executive Tom DeGise and HCIA Executive Director Norman Guerra visited the site and had the vision of developing a golf course on the west side of Lincoln Park.
Skyway was then designed by Case Golf, with the help of its President Roy Case, who had previously designed several courses that were also adaptive reuses of prior landfills and several of which have also obtained the Audubon Society Certification.
To reach certification, Skyway was required to demonstrate and maintain a high degree of environmental quality in a number of categories.
Those included environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management.
Over the past year, Skyway Golf Course has made a number of eco-friendly upgrades including adding native trees and shrubs to unused areas, creating natural habitats for local wildlife, adopting more sustainable practices, and testing their ponds and irrigation systems multiple times a year to ensure water quality.
“Skyway Golf Course has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” rejoiced Audubon International CEO Christine Kane.