John O’Gaunt Golf Club in Bedfordshire was the first club to sign up for the innovative Operation Pollinator project to restore valuable wildlife habitats and enhance the ecological value golf courses. Greenkeeper Steve Thompson plans to utilise the techniques learned at the Syngenta Workshops earlier this year to plant up specific areas on the club’s two courses.
He reports the club has already used the downloadable Operation Pollinator press release template to publicise the news in the local papers. They will also be using a prepared newsletter article and other downloadable information from the dedicated pages on the www.GreenCast.co.uk website to communicate with members what they are doing to improve the playing experience and what they will see.
“Operation Pollinator looks an exciting opportunity to extend the environmental work that we are already doing at the club and create a specific ecological resource for pollinating insects,” added Mr Thompson. “We have appreciated the training given and the opportunities provided to help market the club.”
He highlighted the objective of establishing a wildflower mix especially designed for golf course environments is not only to provide the necessary pollen and nectar to attract and support insects, but also to look visually attractive and create added interest for players to enjoy the ecological diversity.
Syngenta Turf & Landscape Market Manager, Rod Burke, said: “Bumblebees play a crucial role as natures’ pollinator, but they have been in serious decline and need our help now. Helping to resurrect bumblebee populations will further prove that golf courses can be managed in harmony with the environment and give both the players and managers immense pride in their club.”
He added that new techniques for Operation Pollinator establishment and management, developed in conjunction with STRI and involving the use of Rescue and Primo Maxx where appropriate, has given greenkeepers a faster and more effective route to managing ecological habitat and out of play rough. “We are aiming to get 250 clubs across the country involved with Operation Pollinator over the next three years, and would encourage others to sign up and see what it can do for them and the industry.”
As the first club to sign up for Operation Pollinator, Mr Burke presented Mr Thompson with a Bee Hotel – intended to create a new nesting habitat for mason bees, as well as an additional focal point for club members. Mason bees are an important species of solitary bee, which will also benefit from food resources supplied by the Operation Pollinator habitat.
Operation Pollinator www.operationpollinator.com