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Course aims to be sanctuary
There's no shortage of wildlife on Jekyll Island's Pine Lakes Golf Course. Deer roam close to the tree canopies and wood storks roost in the trees.

Pink-colored roseate spoonbills, herons and palm warblers fly overhead, all while golfers spend their day on the greens.

When it comes to enhancing and protecting its wildlife habitat on the course, Pine Lakes Golf Course is on the right track.

The course, which is the newest and longest course on Jekyll Island, recently received certification in Environmental Planning from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf courses.

The 18-hole golf course was originally designed and built in 1968, and was renovated in 2002.

It now includes new lakes and bunkers, redesigned greens and drainage improvements and other property preservation and enhancement efforts which helped the course earn its environmental certification.

"By joining and participating in the (sanctuary program), Pine Lakes Golf Course will be involved in projects that enhance habitats for wildlife and preserve natural resources for the benefit of the local community," said Erica England, communications specialist for the Jekyll Island Authority.

According to the certification status report, Pine Lakes displayed a great amount of promise toward becoming an accommodating sanctuary, with areas of opportunity in strengthening a previous commitment to wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, plus outreach and education.

The program provides an advisory service to help existing golf courses, such as Pine Lakes develop effective conservation and wildlife enhancement programs.

Projects may include placing nesting boxes for birds such as bluebirds and swallows, using integrated pest management techniques, conserving water and maintaining food and cover for wildlife.

The environmental plan for Pine Lakes was developed by Golf Course Superintendent John Neidhardt.

Neidhardt also received recognition from the Audubon program for his role in the creation and implementation of the plan.

"All the natural areas on Jekyll Island are important for us to preserve," England said. "It's such a great honor that this really reputable group recognized our golf course for doing so."




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