July 19, 2011 - On July 12, twenty-seven teachers from areas such as Renton, Kent and Auburn gathered at Meridian Valley Country Club for First Green training. Through hands-on activities, teachers learned how soil composition affects water flow, how to test water for pH, and what people can do to protect water quality. They also got to try to sink a few on the putting green. These activities showed teachers what their students could do on a field trip.

This unique, hands-on workshop was provided by First Green, a not-for-profit organization that uses golf courses as environmental learning labs.  

Through First Green, local golf course superintendents host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream bed restoration and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.

 “I think it is important to expose children to (the) wise use of natural resources and golf courses really help with this. Teaching 4th grade, I appreciated the simplicity of the activities, but could also see how they could be enhanced for older students,” said Sarah Edwards, Kent View Elementary teacher.

In addition to learning how the golf course is an excellent learning lab, educators earned continuing education credits. They also got to meet golf course superintendents from local courses ready to host field trips. Craig Benson, Superintendent of Meridian Valley Country Club hosted the training. Staff from other golf courses helped at several of the learning stations -- Greg Hall, Superintendent at Fairwood Country Club; Steve Kealy, Superintendent at Glendale Country Club; and Tracey Hawkins, Assistant Superintendent at Glendale Country Club.