In November 2013, the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., had a groundbreaking ceremony for theGrass Roots Exhibit, the centerpiece of a four-year initiative that focuses on the environmental, economic, aesthetic and recreational benefits of turfgrass in landscapes, golf courses and athletic fields. The National Turfgrass Federation and U.S. National Arboretum, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, have collaborated in the development of the new public exhibit to highlight modern uses of turfgrass. The USGA provided $25,000 for the exhibit, which has received $240,000 in donations from turfgrass associations and commercial companies.
The Grass Roots Initiative is “committed to helping citizens, including national decision-makers, understand new and emerging science underlying our nation’s beautiful lawns, athletic fields and gardens,” according to National Arboretum Director Dr. Colien Hefferan.
The project will feature a website accompanying the exhibit, professional and scientific symposia, and homeowner-focused workshops and demonstrations – directed to audiences ranging from children to policymakers – to highlight the value of turf to the environment and the importance of research to leverage that value. Turfgrass scientist and professor Frank Rossi, Ph.D., from Cornell University delivered a keynote address on the history and future of the turfgrass in the United States.
According to Dr. Hefferan, the interactive outdoor exhibit will highlight the results of turfgrass research and communicate that managed turf landscapes are essential in conserving soils, retaining and filtering water, offering a venue for socialization and recreation and enhancing the aesthetics of a property. The Grass Root exhibit is located on the 446-acre National Arboretum visited by half a million people each year.
Did you know that golf has a long history with the U.S. Department of Agriculture?