February 15, 2017 - On Monday, February 8, 30 fifth-graders from Florida Virtual School visited Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., for hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities. They held different kinds of soil in their hands, learned about how water moves through these different kinds of soil, calculated the areas of the golf course that the superintendents deal with every day, got to learn about the technology used to maintain the greens and enjoyed practicing how to putt – all part of a First Green field trip.

“Administrators, students and families loved the field trip experience. The science of soil and measurement mathematics was fascinating,” said Florida Virtual School principal Sarah Sprinkel. “Students said putting the ball was their favorite activity. Thank you, First Green, for providing a great opportunity to Florida Virtual School.”

One student enthused, “It’s really cool and interesting. The sand textures felt really soft.”

Another added, “We learned about mathematics, earth and science and how the environment helps humankind.”

Students weren’t the only ones learning on the golf course. Observing the field trip were over 40 golf course superintendents from around the U.S., Canada and China – plus a contingent from Taiwan -- who were attending the Golf Industry Show (GIS), sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). At GIS, superintendents take professional development classes, network, and have a chance to learn about new golf industry products and programs. Like most professional conferences, the show is held indoors.

Superintendents who signed up for the First Green workshop looked forward to the added bonus of getting outdoors for part of their session to learn how they could host STEM field trips on their own golf courses. The Orange Tree event was held on a beautiful 75-degree day.

The workshop offered superintendents an opportunity to expand local community involvement through hosting students and teachers. Several superintendents now hosting field trips were there to lead the labs and share what works for them at their own golf courses.

Noted Rob Torri, golf course superintendent at Orange Tree Golf Club, “I learned about the First Green program through the GCSAA. They reached out to me and asked if I’d entertain hosting such an event. I thought it was a great opportunity for these kids to come out here and I certainly wanted to be a part of it.”

The field trip received media coverage from GCSAAtv and “Katrek and Maginnes On Tap” -- heard on XM 92 and Sirius 208.