The Jim Engh-designed golf course at Blackstone Country Club has been designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the 10th in Arizona and the 778th in the world, by Audubon International.
A 570-acre private, gated community located within the Vistancia master plan in Peoria, the award adds even more weight to the community's green efforts, catapulting it to the Vanguard level--the top designation--on the GolfCourseHome Network's GreenGolfCommunities website.
Earning the certification means the club has demonstrated a strong commitment to its environmental program and maintains a high degree of environmental quality in the areas of environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water quality management, water conservation and environmental planning.
“The Blackstone agronomy team is to be commended for its efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Jim Sluiter, staff ecologist for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
The championship course is home to mule deer, ducks, badgers, bobcats, prairie dogs, chipmunks, many types of birds and the wild donkeys that have roamed the area for generations.
Course Superintendent Roger Brashear led the 25-member team in the year-long process that took more than 300 hours to complete.
“I’m proud of the team’s efforts,” he explained. “Their daily record-keeping allowed me to provide Audubon International with information in a concise and timely manner. It made things run very smoothly.”
Brashear, who is being recognized for his environmental stewardship by the organization, regards the certification as an affirmation of the club’s existing course maintenance practices.
“The environmental management practices we follow here are respectful of the land, wildlife, water and air,” he said. “But they also help us to improve our efficiency in maintaining the course and will ultimately help us achieve sustainability.”