Feature Article - November 2015
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Innovation, Conservation & Training

The Latest Trends in Grounds Management

By Chris Gelbach

Knowledge-Sharing Grows

As president of the STMA, Johnson sees the constant learning and interaction with peers as a benefit of joining a professional organization in the field. "Everybody always tries something different, and you never stop learning," he said. "There are things that park district guys can learn from people working on pro fields, and there are things that we can learn from them."

When it comes to certification, Johnson sees the STMA's Certified Sports Field Manager certification as particularly valuable for managers who are in charge of a lot of different sports fields and need knowledge of different sports. "If that's not your role, then maybe it doesn't make sense," Johnson said. "But if you're in charge of 11 sports fields and you have three or four guys under you that also help you take care of those fields, it might make sense for all of you to get it."

Burns sees the Landscape Management and Operations Accreditation program at the PGMS as currently being geared more for corporate and university grounds managers than for those who work at park districts. Instead, he recommends the Certified Grounds Manager program for grounds managers at parks, and the Certified Grounds Technician program for staff involved in day-to-day grounds maintenance.

Temple additionally recommends the Irrigation Association's programs, which are offered for all levels, from technicians who may occasionally replace a sprinkler to supervisors. "The Irrigation Association is a great resource to help people understand irrigation and to learn the proper ways to design, install and operate these systems to get the most out of them," Temple said.

By acquiring the knowledge to get the most out of these and other technologies, grounds managers are becoming able to produce better-quality fields and grounds that can withstand increased useā€”all without breaking the budget.