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Kent golf club is the bees knees following inaugural award win

February 3, 2014

The inaugural Operation Pollinator Award 2013, run by The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and Syngenta, has been won by North Foreland Golf Club in Broadstairs, Kent.

The Award, which was launched in July of this year, recognises and rewards golf clubs which have successfully created pollen rich habitats on courses leading to an increase in pollinating insects.

The Operation Pollinator Award 2013 is open to all UK and Ireland clubs implementing the Operation Pollinator programme.  Operation Pollinator guidelines and advice has been developed specifically for golf courses in conjunction with STRI.

Award entries were judged by Bob Taylor, STRI's Ecology and Environment Manager. As winners, North Foreland will be invited to the Golf Environment Awards in January 2014 and presented with a certificate of excellence.

Bob Taylor commented: "We had a good response to the call for entries which is encouraging given that this is the first year we have run the Operation Pollinator Award. The scheme helps to raise awareness of Operation Pollinator , an international biodiversity programme driven by Syngenta which aims to boost the number of pollinating insects by helping to provide essential habitats for feeding and nesting.

"From the work taking place at North Foreland, it is clear that this is a long term project with lots of future potential. The selected site had previously been unmanaged for over 30 years where deep ground ivy had taken over the chalk grassland rough. The site selection was due to it being largely out of play with limited foot traffic.

"The results have seen a major transformation with the rough now alive with flying insects, moths, butterflies and grasshoppers. Bee activity within bee hotels has resulted in a gradual species increase and much enhanced environmental and ecological value."

"It was clear that North Foreland course manager, Dan McGrath, fully understands and appreciates what works best in the course environment and the seed selected by him indicates that he has an implicit understanding of what grows well on the course and how it blends in with the rest of the course to provide an enjoyable, colourful and inspiring course for members and the public alike."

Judging criteria included successful habitat transition, variety of wildflowers, scale of the project and participation levels, and how effectively the club is communicating its efforts.

Syngenta Operation Pollinator Manager, Caroline Carroll, added:  "North Foreland has ably demonstrated all the benefits that Operation Pollinator can deliver for a golf club, including the successful creation of new habitat to encourage ecological diversity, alongside enhancing the overall playing experience of the golf course. Importantly Dan McGrath has actively engaged with the club's members to give them pride in what has been achieved, as well as using the initiative to generate valuable publicity to attract new players.

"Dan has also been exemplary in his willingness to share experiences with other greenkeepers. North Foreland is an extremely worthy winner of the first Operation Pollinator Award."  

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