MDC and MU partnership adds wildlife habitat to Columbia golf course

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COLUMBIA, Mo. –Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Private Land Services staff have been partnering with staff from A.L. Gustin Golf Course of the University of Missouri system in the heart of Columbia to enhance the environment on the 18-hole golf course. From helping to educate golfers on the importance of wildlife habitat and native pollinators to reducing the maintenance workload across the course, staff has been putting in the hours to get 15 acres of the course back to its natural habitat.

"This golf course is my office and populating areas that don't affect the pace of play on the course with native plants that draw monarchs and other wildlife is only going to make this an even better place to play," Gustin Golf Course Superintendent Isaac Breuer said.

MDC staff provided technical assistance and supplied wildflower seed to help enhance established habitats and create two new areas.

"Community conservation efforts like these are incredibly important in educating citizens about the benefits of natural communities and conservation, and illustrate that no matter the situation or site, there's room for conservation," said MDC Private Land Services Biologist Chris McLeland.

The golf course was also the first to become certified by the Audubon Society for its efforts to establish and monitor blue bird boxes—with more than 2,200 blue birds hatched on the course.

Learn more about Missouri monarchs and native plants on MDC's website at