Friday, August 21, 2009

For The Love Of The Gamiing!

Recently I read a headline mentioning the "Gamiing Nature Centres First Annual Golf Tournament", this had to be a typo right? According to the majority of newspappers and public opinion golf is "bad for the environment", so what on earth was an organization whose main focus is on conserving and preserving habitat and water resources doing holding a Golf Tournament? I was compelled to find out more so I spoke with Andrew Kadykalo, Marketing Director at the Gamiing Nature Centre.


Turfhugger - Tell me about the tournament. Who do you expect to come, environmentalist or golfers?
Gamiing - Well, we expect both. We were initially hoping to attract strictly environmentalists who love to golf but since this is our first year running the event our response has not yet been what we'd hoped so we are hoping now to get anyone to come who loves to golf. That being said, the spots we have filled so far are filled mostly by environmentalists who are familiar with the organization.

Trufhugger - Are golfers environmentalists?
Gamiing - Not all of them, but many of them are. Myself and many registered in our tournamnet so far are frequent golfers. We love the game but we also care for the natural environment. I feel many environmentalists at our tournament will warm up to golf after they play in our tournament. The love of golf and environment is a tricky balancing act and any true environmentalist must come to recognize and understand the impacts of a golf course to the environment. Golf courses use up large amounts of water, fossil fuels, pesticides, and natural landscape. However, many courses also preserve many natural habitats and areas which might otherwise be totally abolished by development. It is important to support courses who preserve natural forest/water bodies/landscape and who use environmentally friendly techniques in regards to maintainance (using rain water, watering early or late in the day, pesticide free, compost etc.). Golf can be enjoyed in a sustainable fashion, so long as the public pressures courses to use environmentally friendly methods/techniques when operating their course.

Trufhugger - Why did you choose golf? Are golfers your typical crowd you approach for donations?
Gamiing - We chose golf because of the potential that exists to raise funds for our not for profit organization. Our organization has needed to expand for some time now but with a slumping economy, fewer available grants, less donations our small organization needs to look for other sources to fund our work. Our hope is that over time this event will grow in popularity and attendance and every consecutive year we get more sponsors, more golfers and more funds which eventually come back to us to help us with our work. Golfers are not the typical crowd we approach for donation. Since we are in a very ruraly area we can not be to choosy when it comes to who we approach. We mostly ask local professionals, and cottagers who have their second homes along Pigeon Lake (where we are located).

Trufhugger - Any specific reason as to why you choose Tamarack GC?
Gamiing - Yes. We screened most of the golf courses in our area when she decided to organize a fundraising golf tournament. We chose Tamarac Golf & Country Club because their maintainance practices were the most environmentally friendly. Tamarac irrigates their course with collected rainwater and because of this is in the process of being Audobon certified. We tried to take this standout fact and run. We are trying to host one of the few 'Green Golf Tournaments'. We are trying to attract environmentalist golfers, and environmentally friendly sponsors. So far, it appears like our event will run successfully. Our event is even going to be bullfrog powered (100% green electricity) by donation.

Trufhugger - What will this money from the tournament help you do?
Gamiing - All the proceeds from this tournament will go towards our eco-educational and lake stewardship programs. Sandy Carrothers, our outdoor education specialists runs outreach programs to libraries and schools and in-house programs and workshops for schools, camps, groups to come visit Gamiing. She also runs a Nature Club every first Saturday of each month. As for lake stewardship, we run several projects headed by John Nolan restoring and naturalizing Pigeon Lake shoreline which has been heavily eroded and has had natural landscapes changed by the high traffic of cottagers and tourists. We also work towards restoring habitat for native animals. For example, John and his team this past spring created several gravel nesting sites for turtles (several species of which are highly endangered) along the shores of Pigeon Lake.

The Tournament is coming up on Saturday September 19th, go here for more details. BTW, any one want to go with me? Its about an hour or so out of Toronto.

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