SportsTurf March 2011

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Facility&Operations | ByMark Frever, CSFM Want to be an environmental steward? Here’s how Here are some sample questions to ask the team: •Describe a time when you feel the campus performed really well with environmental issues? •What were the circumstances during that time? •Describe a time when you were proud to be a member of the organization’s environmental movement. Why were you proud? >> A RAIN GARDEN designed to handle run-off from tennis courts, instead of directly into the river. An example of an Albion College’s projects initiated and built to demonstrate future parking lot designs. A T SOME POINT, you may make the choice to become an en- vironmental steward. It is a per- sonal decision greater than trying to achieve “sustainability.” Sustainability, in my opinion, is a media buzzword and is an over- used dust pan in which to sweep up every process and then declare victory. It is an appro- priate buzzword for your communications de- partment and doesn’t put any dirt under your fingernails. We have a job to do and that is to provide safe athletic fields. Environmental stewardship is more in line with our jobs as sports turf managers as “keepers of the earth.” It takes a high level of self-organizing to embrace the mystery of the earth and understanding that Mother Nature is the victor. Self-organizing is like cleaning up the desk in your brain. The challenge is, “How to do it?” Let’s assume you are a leader on your cam- pus and have accepted the seriousness of taking Environmental Stewardship from your insti- tute’s agenda. Be prepared because once you begin to inquire about environmental issues it will be magnified and you have to be able to wrap your mind around this worthy topic. “What we focus on becomes our reality.” Begin with gathering all the loose papers in your brain that document what your campus has accomplished successfully on environmen- tal stewardship. Communicate with everyone involved with past practices, across the cam- pus, that you have identified their accomplish- ments, how they were done, and that more of the same accomplishments are in the future of our campus. In every society, organization, or group, something works.” This step will do two things for self-organizing. One is that it will put suc- cess stories on the tip of your tongue when you need motivation and two, you will realize that you’re not alone. A team will start to form if you focus on how successful individ- ual projects contributed to the campus’s Envi- ronmental Stewardship. How you function as a team is up to you. It is my experience that face-to-face meetings are best with the goal being an agreed upon collaborative docu- ment. Now that you’re not alone and a team is built, start to create questions that can ex- plore environmental stewardship. Here are some sample questions to ask the team: De- scribe a time when you feel the campus per- formed really well with environmental issues? What were the circumstances during that time? Describe a time when you were proud •What do you value most about being a member of this team? Why? to be a member of the organization’s environ- mental movement. Why were you proud? What do you value most about being a mem- ber of this team? Why? Take these exploratory questions to your team and facilitate interviews and/or surveys. For interviews, separate team members into pairs and have each person interview the other with these questions. “The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way.”Make sure notes are taken by the in- terviewer because the questions will turn into conversation. Notes will be shared soon. Regroup as a team and start asking for small tidbits of information from the interviews. As the facilitator make sure to write the nuggets of information on a white board or large paper pad. What will happen is a common thread will emerge about environmental issues that will be visible for all of the team. “People have more con- fidence and comfort to journey to the future (the Unknown) when they carry forward parts of the past (The Known).” On our campus, for example, we discov- ered that we had about 80% of the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP) portfolio of modules completed, just by identifying our past success stories. We also discovered that with some administrative 22 SportsTurf | March 2011 Eco friendly stamp illustration ©istockphoto/Oehoeboeroe

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