STA’S Annual Field Day held in the Centre of the Universe
Dubbed the centre of the universe by Wayne Gretzky’s father, Walter Gretzky, Brantford, Ontario held the Sports Turf Association’s (STA) annual field day. Honorary Mayor of the City, Walter Gretzky, kicked off the day with introductions and a few sly jokes. Presenters including : Dr. Eric Lyons, Stephen MacCartney, Alan Dore and Chuck Hicks covered topics such as: Turf Management practices without common herbicides and pesticides, irrigation management, sports field management strategy and synthetic turf.
The most notable speaker was University of Guelph’s own Dr. Eric Lyons. His presentation on managing turf without pesticides or herbicides was a clear exhibit of his knowledge and passion for the issue. The aspects on which he focused on covered: changes in the industry, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges that turf managers are sure to face in the upcoming decade.
In terms of change in the industry, Dr Lyons suggested assessing your day to day operations, and understanding the importance of human resources. Acquiring new resources such as Global Positioning System controlled mowers and increasing public awareness and professionalism for those involved in the turf industry were also headlined.
Upon discussing strengths and weaknesses of the professionals in our industry, Dr. Lyons noted that prioritizing, or in another sense, getting by with less was one of our greatest assets. Also, “stick-to-it-iveness”, a term coined to describe our success to get by despite facing challenges was included on the list.
Specifying turfgrass managers weaknesses, Dr. Lyons was not shy to point out that maintaining a low profile among our communities was not helping to increase the awareness regarding the importance of our chosen profession. Resist to change was also outlined as an issue the industry has to confront head on.
In terms of challenges, the very idea that an entire profession has to change their day to day operations to conform with ministry guidelines took sole priority.
I found the most intriguing part of the field day was Dr. Eric Lyon’s passionate presentation. He exuded a supreme knowledge on his topic and was not intimidated by large crowd that showed up on Thursday. He exhibited the confidence that turfgrass managers were looking for when discussing the effectiveness of permitted pesticides on controlled field tests. His final message embedded itself in my thoughts , they were : in order to maximize success in maintaining exceptional athletic fields that preparation(1), irrigation(2), and constant maintenance(3) were essential. My question after all is said and done would be ” What happens when those three steps aren’t enough?”
For more information on (1) Dr. Eric Lyons or (2) Sports Turf Association check out:
(1) Dr. Eric Lyons