Four years of diligent attention to creating and maintaining a habitat hospitable to hundreds of birds, including waterfowl, at Maderas earned the club long-sought certification as an Audubon International course in March.
Manager General Michael Flickinger, who initiated the process in 2012, said the designation is as meaningful as any of the course’s lofty ratings and especially gratifying given the time, effort and resources invested. Maderas is now one of 69 courses in California and 902 in the world to earn the recognition by Audubon International, which works with the golf industry to promote education and encourage environmental stewardship.
“Maderas is proud to have achieved the high standard set by Audubon International,” Flickinger said. “This honor places Maderas in an elite group of outstanding golf courses throughout the world.”
In the letter formally congratulating Maderas on its new official status, Audubon International Director of Cooperative Sanctuary Programs Tara Donadio wrote, “We commend you for all the projects you’ve undertaken to enhance wildlife habitat, achieve sensitive maintenance practices and inform people of your commitment to environmental quality.”
Among other things, Maderas’ certification involved completing a lengthy application, doing government agency outreach and partnering with the local Palomar Audubon Society. An Audubon Society census take last year revealed that Maderas was uniquely home to the canvasback duck. The only three – a male and two females – recorded in San Diego County were found at Maderas.
Former Maderas Assistant Superintendent Kevin Shipley nurtured the application process and current Maderas Superintendent Patrick Reilly and assistant Neal Quantrell helped complete the process by hosting a local Girl Scout troop in 2015. Their afternoon of environmental educational at the course included Reilly and Quantrell installing wooden birdhouses throughout the property.
As far as impact within the golf community, Flickinger said having Audubon International status gives Maderas cache amongst a certain golfing demographic.
“There are some golfers who are environmentally sensitive and seek out courses that are Audubon International-certified when they travel. We hope to be able to attract those golfers now and think it’s not only a win for Maderas but for the city of Poway,” Flickinger said.
The designation is recertified every three years and Flickinger said Maderas has every intention of maintaining its bird-friendly status.
While encouraging Maderas to expand its programs to achieve “new enhancement” for the course, Donadio wrote, “We hope others will follow your strong lead.”