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Golf, butterflies and nature.

I had the pleasure a few weeks ago - and you may have seen my butterfly pictures - of spending an hour in what has to be one of the best, most immersive, butterfly gardens in Hong Kong.

And this was between between holes 9 and 10 of the Old Course at Fanling Golf Course, located to the southwest of the new towns at Sheung Shui and Fanling.

What? Say, that again? Where?

Yes, and not many know this, the Fanling Golf Course is home to a surprisingly diverse suite of wild animals and plants, including locally protected, regionally endemic, and globally endangered species. It is also the oldest 18-hole course in Greater China, opened in 1911.

I sat down with the GM, Ian Gardner, a few weeks ago, to understand more about this wonderful project. Full disclosure, I did accept a cup of coffee, and access to the garden for an hour or so. Because normally golf courses are generally seen as an eco disaster….I was sceptical….but, with the help of aec ( Hong Kong Golf Club has been transforming itself and its courses into a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Side note: The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf is an award winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf. By helping people enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations, the program serves an important environmental role worldwide. Audubon International. Basically, they review and guide, and then certify the appropriate:

Environmental Planning

Wildlife and Habitat Management

Chemical Use Reduction and Safety

Water Conservation

Water Quality Management

Outreach and Education

Now, I found this very interesting, as here is an open, co-operative, private enterprise really doing some good for the environment, our understanding of it, and also with public outreach and education programmes.

Check back tomorrow about our conversation.

meanwhile, here are some pictures of what the butterfly garden area used to look like.... hmmmmm, looks like a typical golf course; or an AFCD managed urban park or nature education centre? It is amazing what a little professional management and nature focus can do..... more on that later...


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