Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Do We Cover The Greens?

On Monday the Agronomy Staff spent several hours pulling the covers on the greens.  Some of you may wonder why we cover the greens at certain times so I wanted to try and explain why. Our ultradwarf greens are most susceptible to injury during the winter months because they do not go completely dormant and yet are not actively growing either.  They still have live green tissue in the leaf and crown area which can be killed or damaged by winter desiccation or sudden cold temperatures.  Much like you need a coat on to go outside right now, our greens need a little extra protection to survive the cold nights.

Here is an example of how the covers help to protect and insulate the greens.  The air temperature at 7:35 this morning was 25 degrees with a wind chill of 16 degrees.  The measurement on the top is of an area which was covered all night. Our soil thermometer gave us a reading of 38.8 degrees while the bottom picture shows an area that was uncovered which had a soil temperature of 30.1 degrees.  Simple explanation for using covers is this, turfgrass plants have water inside of them inside of the plant cells. If this water is allowed to freeze it will, and often does, act like a balloon when frozen, it will burst.  Turfgrass cells which are damaged or burst/killed in the winter months will not revive themselves and the damaged areas on the greens will not green up in the spring.

Having the golf course closed for a few days while the covers are deployed is a minor inconvenience compared to the alternative which could like this green pictured here.  We will only pull the covers when I feel it is necessary to protect the golf course, not just to keep you off the course.  Trust me, pulling covers is not a fun task in the first place.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Almost Ready to Fly

We have had several people ask us about when the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam will be back on line again so I thought we should fill everyone in on the improvements we have made for this coming year.  We think you are going to like them.You just have to be patient a little while longer.

Last year when HB5 was injured and then rehabbed by Al Cecere and the fine people at the American Eagle Foundation we were able to gain some great friends and mentors in the eagle cam world.  The AEF team has been broadcasting live feed of eagle nests from Dollywood for several years and in the past couple years has added a site in northeast Florida to their portfolio.  They have provided us with information on the proper camera to purchase and streaming service so we can provide a better, high quality product to our viewers.

All of our equipment has been upgraded this year from the camera to the microphone to the website, all the way to the communication cable transmitting the signal to the world. If you want a clear signal then fiber optic cable is the way to go and so we did.  Harrison Bay State Park Ranger Matt Vawter has taken over the technological side of this project (it is all way over my head) and has done a tremendous job.  He and Mrs. Angie Underwood of the Friends of Harrison Bay State Park have created a new, user friendly website that we think everyone is going to enjoy.  Matt enlisted the assistance of his father, Paul Vawter, and his lifelong friend CL, to come to the course and terminate the ends on the fiber optic cable.  For one, I was amazed at the special care that had to be taken with this fiber but more amazed at the quality of picture it helps to produce.  Special thanks to Mr. Paul and Mr. CL for their help.

Once again this year Angelo came down to assist us with the installation of the camera and other items that go way up in the top of the tree.  We can not thank Angelo enough for his help, for if he did not help us I don't know if the project would even get off the ground.  I have to give him all the credit though.  He worked for over three hours at over 100 feet in the air in a pine tree that was swaying and twisting in the wind and did a fantastic job.

Although the website is not yet completely ready for public viewing I did want to provide everyone with a screenshot to show the clarity of picture we will have the pleasure to experience this year.  Also this year we will not have any ads or commercials running during our broadcasts so teachers, if your are out there, you can tune into the broadcast and let your students watch the activities without fear (short of the occasional bloody coot that they will eat).

Our site will go live in a week or so but if you want to see an active Bald Eagle nest right now we suggest you visit the American Eagle Foundation Northeast Florida website and see the activities of their beautiful Romeo and Juliet.  AEF Northeast Florida Cam