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SustainAbility Newsletter

The American Society of Golf Course Architects throw their support behind Audubon Lifestyles

Audubon Lifestyles is delighted to have gained the support of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, for the Audubon Lifestyles Sustainable Golf Facilities Program (SGFP). Erik Larsen, President of the ASGCA wrote American Society of Golf Course Architectsin a letter of support; “The ASGCA’s 185 members look forward to seeing how the Sustainable Golf Facilities Program develops. The program certainly falls in line with the work of ASGCA members and the ASGCA pledges to communicate your results to our members, so they may continue this dialogue with their clients.”

The SGFP is a sustainability rating program that includes an audit component that focuses on economic, environmental and social sustainability at golf facilities. The program was designed with the help of the Golf Advisory Group, which included experts in sustainability and in golf course design, construction and management issues.

“We wanted to make certain that the SGFP was designed in such a way that golf courses who have participated in existing programs, and have already focused on environmental stewardship and other related topics got credit for what they have already accomplished,” said Eric Dodson, CEO of Audubon Lifestyles, “and I cannot express enough how grateful we are to have gained the support of the ASGCA to help us in that endeavor.”

To view the ASGCSA’s letter of support in its entirety visit: www.audubonlifestyles.org/programs/golf.html


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

The Reserve at Lake Keowee
www.reserveatlakekeowee.com/

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

EnergyStar
www.energystar.gov/

The Royal Society of Biological Sciences
www.royalsocietypublishing.org

National Geographic
www.nationalgeographic.com

Double Oaks
www.doubleoakscharlotte.com

Global Stewards
www.globalstewards.org

United States Department of Energy
www.energy.gov

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

     

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Critter of the Season - The Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes at the PGA Golf VillageAdults are gray overall; during breeding, the plumage is usually much worn and stained, particularly in the migratory populations, and looks nearly ochre. The average weight of the larger male is 4.57 kg (10.1 lb), while the average weight of females is 4.02 kg (8.9 lb), with a range of 2.7 to 6.7 kg (6.0 to 15 lb) across the subspecies. The Sandhill Crane has a red forehead, white cheeks and a long dark pointed bill. Its long dark legs trail behind in flight, and the long neck is kept straight in flight. Immature birds have reddish brown upperparts and gray underparts. The sexes look alike. Size varies among the different subspecies. The standard linear measurements of the Sandhill are: the wing chord measures 41.8–60 cm (16.5–24 in), the tail is 10–26.4 cm (3.9–10.4 in), the exposed culmen is 6.9–16 cm (2.7–6.3 in) long and the tarsus measures 15.5–26.6 cm (6.1–10.5 in).

This crane frequently gives a loud trumpeting call that suggests a French-style "r" rolled in the throat, and they can be heard from a long distance. Mated pairs of cranes engage in "unison calling." The cranes stand close together, calling in a synchronized and complex duet. The female makes two calls for every single call of the male.

The sandhill crane's large wingspan, typically 1.65 to 2.1 m (5.4 to 6.9 ft), makes this a very skilled soaring bird similar in style to hawks and eagles. Utilizing thermals to obtain lift, they can stay aloft for many hours, requiring only occasional flapping of their wings and consequently expending little energy. With migratory flocks containing hundreds of birds, they can create clear outlines of the normally invisible rising columns of air (thermals) that they ride.

Behavior and Breeding
Sandhill cranes are fairly social birds that are usually encountered in pairs or family groups through the year. During migration and winter, non-related cranes come together to form "survival groups" which forage and roost together.

In migratory populations, egg-laying usually begins between early April and late May. Both members of a breeding pair build the nest using plant material from the surrounding areas. Nest sites are usually in marshes, bogs, or swales, though cranes will occasionally nest on dry land. 

The parents brood the chicks for up to 3 weeks after hatching. They feed the young intensively for the first few weeks, and with decreasing frequency until they reach independence at 9 or 10 months old.

The chicks remain with their parents until 1 or 2 months before the parents begin laying the next clutch of eggs. After leaving their parents, the chicks form nomadic flocks with other subadults and non-breeders. They remain with these flocks until they form breeding pairs themselves, and begin breeding between the ages of 2 and 7 years old.

Status and conservation
Though the Sandhill Crane is not considered threatened as a species, the three southernmost subspecies are quite rare. While the migratory birds could at least choose secure breeding habitat, the resident populations could not, and many subpopulations were destroyed by hunting or habitat change. However, initially the Greater Sandhill crane proper suffered most from persecution; by 1940 probably fewer than 1,000 birds remained. They have since increased greatly again, though with nearly 100,000 individuals they are still less plentiful than the Lesser Sandhill Crane, which numbers over 400,000 individuals, making the species the most plentiful crane alive today.

The Florida Sandhill Crane is far less common, with some 5,000 individuals remaining. They are most threatened by habitat destruction and probably depend on human management in the long run. In Florida, it is protected, and if killed, carries a very high monetary penalty. This subspecies is under protection of state and federal law at this time. Since the loss of habitat is a somewhat controllable cause of a declining population, habitat preservation is a valuable management measure. The current outlook for the Florida sandhill crane, if it can be maintained on the protected habitats, is good. Transplanting wild birds, as well as introducing captive-reared birds into suitable areas where crane numbers are low, appears to be a viable technique in the management of this threatened species. It is hoped that these management strategies, plus continued ecological research, will prevent the Florida sandhill crane from reaching a more critical status.

The Mississippi Sandhill Crane has most drastically declined in range; it used to occur along most of the northern Gulf of Mexico coast and its range was at one time nearly parapatric with that of its eastern neighbor (compare the Mottled Duck); today only 25 breeding pairs exist in an intensively managed population, but this seems at least stable in recent times. Some 300 Cuban Sandhill Cranes remain; this is the least-known of the populations.

The Mississippi Sandhill Crane has become the first bird to have a young hatched where an egg was fertilized by a sperm that was previously thawed out from a cryogenic state. This occurred at the Audubon Institute as part of this subspecies' Endangered Species Recovery Plan.

Sandhill Cranes have been used as foster parents for Whooping Crane eggs and young in reintroduction schemes for that species. This project failed as these foster-raised Whooping Cranes imprinted on their foster parents and later did not recognize other Whooping Cranes as their conspecifics – attempting instead, unsuccessfully, to pair with Sandhill Cranes.

 


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org 
             
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

Sustainable Demonstration Project Blog
scotlandyardsgolf.blogspot.com

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games
www.olympic.org

Scotland Yards Golf Club
www.scotlandyards.com

Audubon Outdoors
www.audubonoutdoors.org

Love and Dodson
www.loveanddodson.com

Green World Parth
www.greenworldpath.com

Turf Feeding Systems
www.turffeeding.com

The Dodson Group
www.thedodsongrp.com      

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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