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Mark your calendars for June 6: the national introduction of the STMA Environmental Facility Certification Program. Four Env Cert Facyears in development with numerous pilots and test runs, the certification program that documents your facility's level of environmental stewardship will be ready for you to pursue on June 6.

Assessing your facility is completed using an electronic form. The sports turf manager fills out a short facility information section, then reports on compliance levels in 10 environmental practices areas. An attester reviews the self-reported assessment during a walk-through of the facility and is asked to validate the sports turf manager's results, also through an electronic form.

As with STMA's Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) program, an 80 percent "pass rate" in each of the environmental areas must be attained in order to achieve facility certification.

There is no cost to apply. When achieved, there will be a $100 fee assessed to the facility, and the opportunity to select either a banner or a plaque (included in the fee) stating that the facility is certified for environmentally responsible management. Certification will be valid for three years after which the entire process must be repeated.

LGoertzThe Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE) is recognizing Leo Goertz, a former Trustee of the SAFE Board who died in 2015, through a named grant.

The Leo Goertz Membership Grant will be awarded annually to seven individuals. Each grant recipient will receive a two-year membership in STMA. Recipients will also be eligible to take advantage of STMA's complimentary conference registration for new members.

The details of how to apply are being developed by the STMA Scholarship Committee with the intent to select the winners this year to receive the grant for the 2017-2018 membership years.

General criteria to apply include:

• be a Sports turf manager or member of a crew managing sports fields
• be an active local chapter member or strong contributor within his/her community
• not have been an STMA national member for five years
• infrequently or has never attended the national STMA Conference
• can be self nominated or nominated by a fellow employee or any STMA member

Pioneer Athletics is the exclusive sponsor of these grants through a 10-year funding commitment.

Leo served on the SAFE Board of Trustees from 2006 – 2011. After his board service, he stayed actively involved with SAFE through helping with its fundraising events. He joined STMA in 1988. Leo was awarded one of STMA's highest honors in 2010, the Harry C. Gill Founders Award. This award was established to honor an individual for their hard work in the sports turf industry and to acknowledge their dedication to STMA. The 2009 winner, Tom Burns, presented the award to Leo at the STMA Annual Awards Banquet. During his presentation, he said that Leo's legacy lies with those he has mentored and helped along the way during his 30 plus years in this business. Many of his employees have gone on to become very successful sports field managers at other facilities. His biggest contribution to the industry and to the association is in his ability to 'give back'. Through this grant, Leo continues to 'give back'.

Commercial companies that are exhibiting at the 2017 conference are eligible to submit for a 2017 Innovative Award. One or more awards may be given to companies that provide a new product, service or piece of equipment that substantially enhances the effectiveness of the sports turf manager and/or make the surfaces safer and more playable for athletes.

Click here for eligibility criteria and a link to the online application. Awards are judged by an Innovative Awards Judging panel made up of practitioner and academic members (no commercial members) and winners will be announced during the first day of the STMA trade show on Thurs., Jan. 26, 2017.

Winners receive recognition, a plaque and the opportunity to use the 2017 Innovative Award logo.

Hot, humid summer days contribute to turfgrass stress and can increase the probability of insect and weed invasion, as well as disease susceptibility. Make sure you are in compliance when it comes to controlling pests with the various resources provided by the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).

The NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use. One of NPIC's goals is to serve as a factual source of information for diverse professional and public audiences on pesticide-related issues.

Federal Pesticide Regulation - In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides at the national level. Congress gives the EPA this authority through several federal laws, including the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). By regulating pesticides, the EPA works to protect human health and the environment.

State Pesticide Regulation - In the United States, state governments play an important role in regulating pesticides. They may develop their own regulations that are stricter than the EPA's federal pesticide regulations. This is done by each state's pesticide regulatory office. They are often part of the State Department of Agriculture, but may be part of other state offices such as the Department of Environmental Protection.

NPIC also features an Herbicide Property Tool. This website has compiled each active ingredient's water solubility, vapor pressure, sorption properties, and half-lives in water/soil. The relative groundwater risk for each chemical in different soil types (groundwater ubiquity scores) has also been calculated. Animations are provided to show the user what these values mean.

As the kick-off event for STMA's Conference, the General Session will feature two of our most requested speakers – Dr. Andrew McNitt and Dr. John Sorochan.

Dr. McNitt is one of the industry's foremost researchers on sports turf playing surface characterization. He serves as a Professor of Soil Science/Turfgrass for Penn State University, is the Director of Penn State's Center for Sports Surface Research, and is the technical advisor to the NFL Groundskeepers Organization.

Dr. Sorochan is a Distinguished Professor of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (UT). Dr. Sorochan is also the Co-Director for the UT Center for Athletic Field Safety where his team investigates athletic field performance and safety as well as athlete to surface interactions.

The General Session takes place from 8-9:30 am on Wed., Jan. 25. You won't want to miss the insight, humor, and wisdom each individual brings to the stage. Stay tuned for more information about this lively opening event!

Tuesday, May 17 found supporters of turfgrass converging in Washington, DC to promote the benefits of turfgrass research. STMA CEO Kim Heck represented the association. A full day of meetings with legislators and regulators showcased the environmental and economic benefits of turfgrass and the importance of funding turfgrass research. Turfgrass research is eligible for federal funding as a specialty crop in the Farm Bill, but turfgrass has been receiving a lower percentage of funding compared to other specialty crops. The group, coordinated by Kevin Morris of the non-profit National Turfgrass Federation, included members from the USGA, GCSAA, TPI, and Virginia Tech University.

The 2017 Conference Education program is packed full of presentations focused on practical field management. STMA is thrilled to confirm Dr. Jim Brosnan and Dr. Jay McCurdy, two of the most respected turfgrass weed scientists in the country, as part of the program.

Dr. Brosnan will be presenting #WeedWatch2017 - Things to Watch for in Weed Management This Year. This presentation will provide an overview of issues turfgrass managers might encounter in controlling weeds of warm- and cool-season turfgrass athletic fields in 2017. Topics covered will include new problematic weed species, management of herbicide resistance, as well as new weed management technologies entering the turfgrass marketplace this season.

Dr. McCurdy will be focusing on Warm-Season Sports Turf Weed Management. Sports turf managers in warm-season climates are faced with greater weed pressure than their cool-season colleagues. Not to mention, growth and recovery of warm-season grasses often does not coincide with frequency of use. Adding to this complexity is year round weed emergence and the practice of overseeding bermudagrass with perennial ryegrass, as well as reliance upon preemergence herbicides that may decrease surface stability, recovery, and wear tolerance.

Don't miss these sessions for management tips to prepare for the 2017 season! Both sessions will qualify for Florida pesticide recertification credits. Seeking pesticide recertification credits for your own state? Make sure to contact your state department of agriculture for approval - STMA only provides credits from the host state.

The 2017 Conference will have 8 tracks focusing on the different aspects of sports field and facility management.

  • The Professional Development track focuses on self-improvement and successfully managing your team of employees.
  • The Agronomic track offers sessions from basic to advanced turfgrass management.  The advanced sessions delve into a variety of focused topics, such as the role micronutrients play in your soil and incorporating plant growth regulators into your program.
  • Our Renovation track features sessions on in-season sodding, as well as the challenges associated with renovating fields under pesticide bans.
  • The West is currently facing one of the worst droughts in history.  Our Water track discusses water restrictions under drought conditions. 
  • The Synthetic track provides information on how you can get involved in the decision making process of a natural to synthetic conversion.  Facts and myths regarding natural and synthetic fields will also be a session option.
  • Industry Developments provides updates to sports turf managers on what is new in the industry.  New research and management tips, as well as new products and services are featured in this track.
  • The Facility Management track helps you run your program more efficiently.  This year features sessions on legal issues, sustainability, and management standards.
  • STMA is featuring a new educational track for 2017!  The K-12 track is specifically focused on sports field management at the K-12 level.  These sessions focus on field management under budget constraints, regional turfgrass agronomics, and overall program success.

 The Conference Education Committee has created a program that has something for everyone.  Don’t miss all that the 2017 Conference has to offer!

The 2-Minute Tip for Success

Have you ever been asked what you do for a living and find that you stumble around a bit before you get to the heart of your work? To quickly and clearly communicate the importance of your job, prepare an "elevator speech". An elevator speech is a brief message that can be easily communicated in 20 to 30 seconds, the average time it takes to ride from the bottom floor to the top floor in an elevator; hence its name.
Try this: "My profession is about safety of athletes. I manage sports fields for (insert category, i.e. youth and adults' recreation leagues). I'm all about environmental stewardship, too. Protecting the environment and protecting athletes – that's what I do so that every game is safe for the players and enjoyable for the fans."

Turf Rundown

Drought affects all facets of our society, from food production to water quality to public health.
In March 2016, the President issued a Memorandum and a Federal Action Plan on building national capabilities for long-term drought resilience.

As called for in the President's Climate Action Plan, the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) is coordinating long-term Federal preparedness across the country and is working closely with State, local government, agriculture and other partners to improve community preparedness and resilience to drought. The NDRP is dedicated to helping communities better prepare for future droughts and reducing the impact of drought events on livelihoods and the economy.

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