Area's initial First Green program visits Philly Cricket - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 12, 2017

Area’s initial First Green program visits Philly Cricket

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Juniors, News

FLOURTOWN, Pa.–Philadelphia Cricket Club, along with members of the Philadelphia Golf Alliance, took part in the region’s inaugural First Green program June 6 at the facility’s Wissahickon Course. The First Green is an innovative environmental and STEM education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.

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  Whitemarsh Elementary School third graders (approx. 95) broke into small groups to visit various activity stations positioned on Wissahickon’s first and 18th holes. Four locations focused on environmental education, two on golf.

“This was a fantastic community event,” said Dan Meersman, Cricket’s Director of Grounds, who coordinated the event. “It all starts with awareness of golf and the environment.”

Students visited STEM labs learning about soils, trees, Turfgrass and water. Golf stages included both hitting and putting areas. Students learned about what is required to maintain grass on a golf course, performed soil and water tests, studied how water moves inside a watershed, identified trees found on the property and how to care for them, as well as explored the game of golf through fun chipping and putting games.

Representatives from the Philadelphia Golf Alliance included the Golf Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Association of Golf Course Superintendents and the Philadelphia Section of the PGA. Other organizations on-hand were the First Tee of Greater Philadelphia; Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; Montgomery County Conservation District; Morris Arboretum; Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Grounds Staff; Temple University; Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association and USGA. A large contingent of Philadelphia Cricket Club members also volunteered their time.

“The Association was thrilled to partner with Dan and the Philadelphia Cricket Club in support of the First Green efforts,” said Mark Peterson, the GAP Executive Director. “The commitment of so many allied partners made the day a huge success while serving as the blueprint for future learning opportunities.

“There is no greater reward than to see the smile on the face of Lilly, Aiden and Franco after a well struck shot, or to hear a first-time golfer say, ‘I’m going to be a golfer now.”

The volunteers who helped teach labs also had a great time and understood the importance of this kind of event. “The Philadelphia Cricket Club is doing great work to encourage environmental stewardship, not only on their land, but in the larger community, and First Green was a perfect example of that work,” said Lindsay Blanton, Water Quality Outreach Coordinator from WVWA. “The Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association appreciated the opportunity to connect with students of Whitemarsh Elementary and teach them about watershed health and how we can protect the Wissahickon for generations to come.”

Discussions are ongoing with a handful of area facilities to host a First Green program in the fall.

For more information on how to host a First Green event, contact Taylor Hollander at 610-687-2340, ext. 13 or

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

First Green
First Green is an innovative environmental and STEM education outreach program using golf courses as environmental learning labs. Golf course superintendents and/or local golf course representatives host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream bed restoration and are involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf. A tax-exempt non-profit, First Green was founded in the State of Washington in 1997 and is expanding nationally. Website:

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