With an eye toward the future, the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) has introduced its Environmental Facility Certification Program.
The program — which certifies and rewards facilities that showcase ecological stewardship and sustainability practices — is the result of four years of development by the STMA’s Environmental Committee.

“Our members are leaders in conservation and we now have the ability to support and promote our member’s commitment to protecting and preserving the environment,” said Environmental Committee Chair Jimmy Simpson, CSFM. “For the thousands of sports fields nationwide, this is an opportunity to highlight specific venues and its sports turf managers through an objective, standards-based certification process.”

A facility’s field manager must complete an initial online assessment followed by an on-site walk-through validation with an attester. The assessment covers 10 environmental practice areas, including storm water management; fertilization; pesticides/Integrated Pest Management (IPM); recycling; composting; mowing; energy conservation; shop buildings and storage areas; irrigation and water quality testing; and educational outreach.

To achieve this certification, the site must attain an 80 percent score within each section. Facilities will remain certified for a three-year period, at which point a recertification process takes place.

STMA’s external focus on outreach for environmental stewardship began in 2010 with the appointment of an Environmental Task Group. By 2013, a general framework for the certification program was formed and, by 2014, the first pilot program was created.