Kevin Mercer, superintendent of grounds at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, was awarded the President’s Award for Leadership by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) during its national convention January 11-15 in Austin, Texas. The award went to Mercer in recognition of his environmentally friendly grounds maintenance program at St. Mary’s College. Mercer was this year’s sole recipient out of thousands of STMA members.
Under his management, St. Mary’s became the first campus in Maryland to be named a sanctuary by Audubon International. “The college has a long history of environmental stewardship” says Chip Jackson, associate vice president for planning and facilities. “Being a waterfront campus, we understand the fragility of our setting and have implemented a variety of measures to protect the watershed. We always need to concern ourselves with runoff into the river. Kevin and his crew have led the way in introducing environmentally friendly groundskeeping practices, intelligent sports turf management, and installing acres of natural meadows to protect natural resources.”
Mercer says of the honor, “I’m very proud of this award. I’m also blessed that St Mary’s College of Maryland is very committed in its efforts to preserve the environment.”
The STMA has named Mercer to its new national environmental task group. Mercer will also be writing an environmental grounds practices manual, based on the efforts undertaken at St. Mary’s College with Dr. David Minner (Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University) and Jim Sluiter (staff ecologist, Audubon International).. The manual will be used to help commercial sports facilities, primary and secondary schools, and parks and recreation facilities achieve Audubon certification and promote environmental awareness in their grounds maintenance programs.