All Nine MCG Golf Courses in Montgomery County Achieve ‘Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary’ Status

Montgomery County has announced that all nine of its golf courses have achieved “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” for environmental excellence.

Per the news release: All nine MCG golf courses in Montgomery County have now achieved “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” status through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP), placing them among an exclusive group of only 750 golf courses worldwide. The most recent courses to be certified were Falls Road in Potomac, Hampshire Greens in Ashton, Rattlewood in Mount Airy and Sligo Creek in Silver Spring.

MCG courses are a division of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority. The other courses operated by Montgomery County Golf are Needwood in Derwood, Laytonsville, Little Bennett in Clarksburg, Northwest in Silver Spring and The Crossvines in Poolesville.

The certification announcement comes as MCG is joining Montgomery County in recognizing Monday, April 22, as “Earth Day 2024.”

To receive certification, a course must demonstrate that it maintains a high degree of environmental quality in several areas, including environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation and water quality management.

The four courses recently certified were qualified for providing wildlife habitats, protecting water features with vegetative buffers, utilizing low-maintenance grasses, conducting water-quality testing and educating golfers and the community regarding sustainability.

The Little Bennett course was the first MCG course to achieve certification, earning that status in 2000. Needwood is marking its 10th year as a certified sanctuary course.

“This certification is not just an award, but a demonstration of our unwavering dedication to environmental preservation and sustainable practices,” said Keith Miller, the chief executive officer for the Revenue Authority. “Our team’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing the natural beauty and biodiversity of our courses ensures a lasting legacy of sustainability.”

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf courses is endorsed by the U.S. Golf Association. In addition to courses in the U.S., courses that have received the status include those in Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Audubon International is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit based in Troy, N.Y. In addition to golf courses, it provides programs for business, schools, communities and new developments with a goal of delivering high-quality environmental education and facilitating the management of sustainable management of natural resources.

Jon Lobenstine, director of agronomy for MCG, and the superintendents of the nine MCG courses led the efforts to have the courses certified.

“I’m proud of our teams for all achieving ACSP certification,” said Mr. Lobenstine. “It is a testament to the good work they have been doing for many years. The net benefit for the County is having green space that serves not only as an important recreational outlet for our residents, but also an environmental habitat for the many creatures that share our neighborhoods.”

For more information about MCG, go to

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