This shot of a bobcat at The Villages in Florida captured first place in the Best Photograph competition of Audubon International’s BioBlitz 2017. Photo by Tom Lamb
Audubon International’s BioBlitz 2017 recorded almost 2,000 unique species of animals, plants, fungi and insects living on golf courses around the world. Hundreds of community volunteers, ranging from school groups to birding clubs to professional naturalists, gathered at local events between March 20 and June 21 to discover and document the species inhabiting these important green spaces.
Christine Kane, executive director at Audubon International, says, “It’s wonderful to see so many golf courses around the world embracing BioBlitz as a fun and exciting way to help people spend time outdoors and learn about their local environment.”
Now in its third year, Audubon International’s BioBlitz creates an opportunity for school children, community members, golfers and more to take a closer look at the habitats provided on golf courses. In addition to demonstrating the large diversity of species on golf courses, the competition also engages local interest and support of the green space and recreational opportunities they provide to their towns. Participants from North America to South Africa competed for three awards for most species counted, most participants and best photo.
“Our participants and staff love this event and hope it continues in the coming years,” said Yank Moore, conservation coordinator at Jekyll Island (Ga.) Club, the winner of the Biodiversity Award for the greatest number of species counted. Volunteers at the course spotted, identified and listed a total of 532 species.
Park Ridge Golf Course in Lake Worth, Fla., received the Community Engagement Award for having the most participants, with a total of 144 volunteers assisting with the species count and identification. When asked about the success of their event, Phil Henry, golf course manager, responded, “We struck on a really good relationship between our yearly Earth Day golf tournament and BioBlitz, which allowed us to involve staff, volunteers and tournament participants in a fun day of golf, environmental outreach and friendly competition.”
The Villages in Florida, one of four new sites to participate this year, won the Best Photograph contest with a spectacular photo of a bobcat (above). “We are delighted that this honor comes to Tom Lamb, a resident of The Villages and member of the photo club. It is particularly gratifying that his photo in this international contest draws attention to the efforts we have made over the years to make this community an environmentally sensitive one that is a good place to live for wildlife as well as our human residents,” said John Rohan, director of recreation for The Villages.