First, First Green Event of 2019

By WCTA Staff

The first, WCTA sponsored First Green event of 2019 was hosted by WCTA President, Travis Olson and the Kamloops Golf and Country Club on May 13th.  About forty local grade 8 and 9 students were bussed to the golf course to participate, along with their teachers.

First Green, founded in 1997 in the Seattle area by a small group of dedicated golf superintendents, is an innovative environmental and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs.  Golf Course Superintendents and/or local golf course representatives host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream bed restoration and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. 

Starting in 2015 at the Vancouver Golf Club with a pilot event, the WCTA currently remains the first and only international First Green sponsor and since, have produced events using both golf courses and sportsfields.  Last year, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America became an integral First Green partner with a vision to expand and support the program across the US, Canada and beyond.

On the organization and execution of the Kamloops Golf Club event, host superintendent Travis Olson admitted, “I was a little stressed in the initial planning stages but it wasn’t hard to put together.  The learning lessons themselves are easy to present because you’re really just talking about something you know very well.  The key is to remember that a lot of kids may never have been on a golf course before so keeping the presentation simple is important.  They were very enthusiastic and loved the hands on component of the lessons.”

Jason Hooper (far right) presents a putting lesson to a group of students and their teacher as one of five stations on the program.  The others were water conservation, water quality, math and soils.  Photo credit WCTA.

Jerry Rousseau, WCTA Executive Director observed, “It was interesting to not see a single cell phone in the hands of a group of 14 and 15 year olds for an hour and a half.  Maybe that’s a new record!”  He added, “Any Superintendent can host a First Green event and engaging the kids is extremely gratifying.  It’s a fantastic community outreach program.  Some may take up the game, some could end up working on a golf course but all will leave with a little more knowledge and understanding of some of the science taking place on a golf course.”

 Okay, maybe one cell phone came out at the end but that was actually a teacher! (white shirt, red tie on right side of image).  Photo credit WCTA.

Our First Green presenters from left to right, Jason Hooper, Cam Watt, Patrick Kerr, Travis Olson, Dylan Kerr, Jared White, Jesse Cowan and Nathan Hagel (missing). Thanks for your help guys!  Photo credit WCTA.