Franklin Park Golf Course Nears Audubon Certification
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For Immediate Release
February 27, 2014
Released By:
Parks and Recreation
For More Information Contact:
Parks Department

The City of Boston’s William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park is nearing full certification from Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department reported this week.

 The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses is an award-winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect the environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf.  By helping to enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations, the program serves as vital resource for golf courses.

The Audubon program records and assists with five different environmental areas: Chemical Use Reduction and Safety; Water Conservation; Water Quality Management; Wildlife and Habitat Management; and Outreach and Education. 

According to Certified Golf Course Superintendent Russ Heller, the William J. Devine Golf Course has been certified in the first three categories since beginning the process in 2011.  Heller notes that involvement in the Audubon program was a natural outgrowth of the release that same year of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Sustainable Design Guidelines, a comprehensive review of existing design standards, details, specifications, and operation and maintenance practices undertaken with the goal to improve the overall sustainability of the City of Boston’s parks and open spaces.

By meeting the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program requirements in the first three categories, the Parks Department has demonstrated the ability to practice safe storage, application, and handling of chemicals and reduce actual and potential environmental contamination associated with chemical use, ensure adequate water supplies not only for irrigation, but also for the healthy ecological functioning of water bodies, such as rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, and ponds, and provide clean water supplies while protecting the health and integrity of water bodies as an essential component of commitment to environmental stewardship.

The remaining two categories, Wildlife and Habitat Management and Outreach and Education, are in the process of being completed and will entail the enhancement of natural areas and landscaping to protect and improve native habitats and the wildlife that depend on them for survival and raising awareness of the Parks Department’s stewardship activities.  Once those benchmarks are achieved, the William J. Devine will be the fourth public course and the only municipally-owned course in Massachusetts to have reached full Audubon certification. 

The second-oldest public golf course in America, the William J. Devine Golf Course measures 5,961 yards from the blue tees.  Part of the historic Emerald Necklace, the Franklin Park course offers a pleasant inner-city golfing experience only minutes from downtown Boston and is open year-round, weather permitting.  Golf Digest named the William Devine one of their “Best Places to Play” three years in a row. 

For more information on the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, visit


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