The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) recognizes Western Michigan University’s Landscape Services for its efforts to ensure environmental stewardship and enhance wildlife habitat. Western Michigan University (WMU) recently achieved certification in the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP), a nationally recognized program to advance environmental stewardship and increase compliance of Michigan’s turfgrass industry related to environmental risks associated with wellhead protection, pesticide and fertilizer handling, application and record keeping, septic system management, fuel storage, irrigation and water use management areas, and emergency response.

“Western Michigan University’s Landscape Services has gone above and beyond environmental compliance requirements to prevent pollution, protect water resources and conserve energy that collectively benefits the environment. By reducing maintained areas on the grounds, implementing best management practices, and conducting energy audits, they are saving money, protecting natural resources, and reducing their carbon footprint,” said Keith Creagh, MDARD Director. “MDARD is proud to be associated with this unique partnership among state agencies, Michigan State University, and industry stakeholders that provide a solid foundation for environmental success.

To date, 230 properties statewide have begun to voluntarily participate in the MTESP – 82 have achieved the high standard for certification. MTESP certification requires regulatory compliance and implementation of practices that prevent pollution, reduce energy and waste, and protect water resources.

WMU’s President John Dunn is committed to fostering a culture of sustainability with his three pillars: diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and sustainability. “It is an honor for Landscape Services to be recognized for our piece in this University-wide initiative,” said Tim Holysz, Director of Landscape Services.

Landscape Services is dedicated to meeting and exceeding the requirements of environmental laws. Lead by Tim Holysz, this department has taken strides to reduce waste, move towards the use of natural products and provide education related to these initiatives.

As part of the MTESP certification requirements, an environmental action plan is established during a site visit by program staff. The action plan is used as a management tool to prevent potential threats from negatively affecting natural resources with a special focus placed upon the protection of groundwater, which is often the source for irrigation and drinking water.

The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program is intended to organize efforts of the turfgrass industry, state agencies, Michigan State University (MSU), and environmental advocacy groups to advance the environmental stewardship of the turfgrass industry and to recognize environmental achievements. The program was developed at MSU with support from the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, Golf Association of Michigan, and Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Agriculture and Rural Development.

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