The TwinEagles Club in Naples brought its entire resident community together for pollinator conservation and its certification as an Audubon International Signature Sanctuary. Located west of I-75 on Immokolee Road, The TwinEagles Club is home to two world class18 hole championship golf courses: The Talon by Jack Nicklaus and son Jack, and the Eagles, a Steve Smyers complete redesign of the original Gary Player layout, that was named “Best New U.S. Private Course of the Year” in 2012 by Golf Magazine.
The Talon course, open since 1999, is in the midst of a major renovation by the Nicklaus Design Team that will leave the course revived and even more sustainable through the updated Signature Sanctuary Certification. As part of the process, the Golf Club is involving the entire gated community. When someone buys a home at Twin Eagles their membership is part of the sale, so every homeowner has an interest in the Club. The efforts on behalf of the certification are twofold-outreach and educational program combining the interest in pollinator conservation and meeting the requirements of the Audubon initiative-Monarchs in the Rough (MITR).
The Monarch butterfly is a wonder of the world. The Monarch is a North American icon, but its population has declined by more than 90% in the past two decades. To combat this decline and that of other pollinators Audubon International, the USGA, and the Environmental Defense Fund have teamed up to create the Monarchs in the Rough initiative.
The Club’s certification committee is operating a unique and all-hands-on-deck pollinator program known as the Milkweed Foster Parent Program(MFPP). Sal Pontello, committee chair describes it this way, “the MFPP is the brainchild of the committee. Its goal is to engage the entire community in an effort to save the Monarch Butterfly. Chef Billy Vasseur provides the egg crates, Director of Agronomy Darren Gafford provides the seeds from the USGA, the potting soil and instructions to the members. “
“The members serve as foster parents growing the milkweed starters, returning them to Darren to be planted in non-play areas of the golf course. The reward? Foster parents are allowed to keep some of the milkweed sprigs to add to their gardens. The bonus? The more milkweed available to the Monarchs, the larger the habitat for the Monarchs to lay their eggs which equals more Monarchs in the rough,” explained Sal.
“Part of our mission at TwinEagles is not just to provide our Members with outstanding amenities and golf courses, but to be good stewards of the environment. We are all guests in a wonderful habitat that we share with incredible flora and fauna. Cultivating a sense of environmental stewardship and participating in initiatives like the Audubon International Signature Sanctuary and Monarchs in the Rough programs are the best way to show our gratitude for the beautiful place we get to enjoy every day.” says General Manager/COO Doug Brown, of TwinEagles Club.