By Matthew Shepherd
On golf courses across the country wildflowers bloom, birds nest, mammals feed, lizards bask, bats roost, and butterflies sip nectar. Given this diversity of wildlife, it is not surprising that golf courses are increasingly recognized for wildlife. As our landscapes change under pressure from development and agriculture, natural habitat in both urban and rural locations is being lost, fragmented, and degraded. Golf courses offer comparatively stable areas in which wildlife can find refuge and thrive.
Golf courses offer two major opportunities for wildlife conservation: protection of existing areas of natural vegetation, and creation of new habitats in which animal and insect communities can thrive. As with all greenspace, the value of a golf course for wildlife will be greatly increased or diminished by the decisions and actions of its managers. When properly planned and managed, a golf course can provide high quality and diverse habitat for a wide range of wildlife.
These guidelines are focused on providing habitat for pollinator insects, primarily native bees. Making Room provides information on the natural history and importance of native bees, and offers practical advice on how to provide flower-rich areas and nesting sites on golf courses. This is supported by lists of relevant reading, helpful organizations, and Internet resources.