Putting Green in A Florida Golf Course
Amy Meide is a biologist by training and a people person at heart. As a biologist and natural resource manager for St. Johns County, Amy is charged with improving the quality of natural areas on County property, but opportunities to interact with the public through outreach and educational presentations are what really motivate her.
Amy’s passion for the natural environment started as a young child, “just playing in the woods and watching Jane Goodall on TV”. As an undergraduate biology student at Florida State University, she developed a passion for birds and bird conservation. Then, in 1999, she went to Olango Island in the Philippines as a Peace Corps Volunteer to work on grassroots conservation initiatives. She worked with community groups in and around a newly-developed marine sanctuary, where residents depend on a healthy coral reef for subsistence fishing and income from tourism. Working with local communities and schools, Amy spread the word about how to protect the reef from illegal fishing activities and how to monitor it to document changes in marine life populations. Amy also assisted in the development of a sustainable eco-tour of the bird sanctuary on Olango Island, a RAMSAR listed site.
As part of Amy’s TogetherGreen Conservation Fellowship, she blended her interests in people and conservation by working to improve and restore habitat on the publicly-owned St. Johns County Golf Club. With the help of volunteers from groups such as First Tee, an organization that promotes character development for kids through the game of golf, Amy worked to improve natural habitat for threatened and endangered animals, including eastern indigo snakes, wood storks, and bald eagles, on three acres of “no play” zones along the course. The ultimate goal was to restore 25 acres of no play zones, and Amy’s fellowship was the first step in that direction. Her team improved the land using native plants, and at the same time reduced overall fertilizer use and water consumption on the golf course.
Amy hoped that her work with St. Johns County would be a demonstration model for other golf organizations interested in sustainable golf course design.