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Skeena Valley Golf Club superintendent earns CGSA/Rain Bird environmental award

Rob Wilke to be honoured at Vancouver conference

February 1, 2023  By Turf & Rec

      Rob Wilke, superintendent at the Skeena Valley Golf & Country Club in Terrace, B.C., has been named the CGSA/Rain Bird Environmental Achievement-of-the-Year Award winner for 2022.
      The award, presented by the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association and Rain Bird, recognizes a golf course superintendent member of the CGSA who has distinguished himself or herself through dedication and contribution to the profession as well to the community. The recipient must complete an environmental project, program or practice on his or her course and then document the environmental impact this initiative has had at the facility.
      Wilke’s environmental success includes a trifecta of items that he has led his course to incorporate. The first is starting a compost program on site from materials that are generated there. The compost made on site is then incorporated into a foliar treatment that has fungicidal effects. Secondly, under his direction, the fertilizer program at Skeena Valley has moved to 100 per cent foliar, which helps to eliminate flush growth and aids in nutrient-rich soils. Lastly, he oversaw the installation of a new irrigation system and tweaked the wetting agent program which allows for better management of limited water resources. Skeena Valley has seen an improvement with reduced disease and healthier turfgrass over the property as a result of these initiatives.
      Wilke has been in the golf industry since 1989, having worked at Turner Valley Golf & Country Club in Alberta before moving to the Osoyoos Golf Club as assistant and then starting at Skeena Valley Golf & Country Club in 2001 as superintendent. He has been a CGSA member since 1993. He grew up on a farm while his father was a doctor. He says, “Perfect recipe to become a turfgrass manager.” He served on the British Columbia Golf Superintendents Association’s board of directors for nine years, including the 2007-2008 year as pas president.
      “Rob’s environmental projects have proven to be very successful at Skeena Valley Golf Course,” Pierre Vezeau, CGSA president, said. “He should be celebrated for these positive environmental initiatives.”
      Erica Beck, golf area manager, Canada, Rain Bird International, Inc., said, “It is clear that he is very passionate and excels at environmental sustainability initiatives. This award is very well deserved.”
      As the winner of the award, Wilke and one of his team members will receive an “all-access” registration to the Canadian 2023 Golf Course Management Conference, Feb. 22-24. He will also receive four nights’ accommodation and transportation costs to Vancouver.
      To register for the conference or to attend the awards ceremony, click here.

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