Greg Holden receives provincial environmental award


Greg Holden-champion innovator for environmental practices at Clear Lake Golf Course

Greg Holden-champion innovator for environmental practices at Clear Lake Golf Course


The Manitoba Eco-Network is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Manitoba Eco-Network Environmental Award.  

Greg Holden is presented with this award June 9, 2009 at the headquarters of the Manitoba Eco-Network in Winnipeg.

Award winners are chosen each year in three categories from amongst nominations submitted by the general public. The award is given “in recognition of significant contributions to the protection and awareness of Manitoba’s environment”. Since 1990, it has been a way for the environmental community to salute the often unsung heroes who do so much to make our world a better place.

This year’s winners are:

  • “Individual” Category: Anders Swanson, cyling and active transportation advocate, nominated by Kevin Miller, co-chair of Bike to the Future;
  • “Group” Category: Organic Food Council of Manitoba, nominated by Anne Lindsey;
  • “Special” Category: Greg Holden, Superintendent of the Clear Lake Golf Course, nominated by Celes Davar, President of Earth Rhythms, Inc.


Greg Holden, Superintendent of the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park is the winner in the “Special” category. Greg was nominated by Celes Davar, of Earth Rhythms, an eco-tourism provider operating in Riding Mountain National Park. Greg has led the operation of the Golf Course and restaurant at Clear Lake for 16 years, transforming it from a conventional pesticide and fertilizer-laden, waste-stream driven course to a model of sustainability, innovation and recycling.

The conversion stems from Greg’s personal commitment to the health of the planet – he has also been a certified organic garlic grower, built his own energy efficient home, and provides sustainability presentations to Riding Mountain National Park area visitors.

Innovative features of this environmental turf management of the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park include:

  • the use of composting toilets and a digester to minimize waste creating a resource for natural fertilization of the course, and eliminating the requirement for 300,000 gallons of groundwater for conventional flushing;
  • use of compost teas and a variety of natural and biological controls for weeds and fungi;
  • over the past several years, diversion of about 10,000 litres of waste cooking oil from area restaurants as a biodiesel source for golf course vehicles and tractors;
  • composting of all kitchen waste, grass clippings and leaf debris for use on the course and in the herb gardens;
  • and use of native species for plantings around the golf course.

As Greg embarks next year on a term as President of the Canadian Golf Course Superintendent’s Association, he will be taking the examples and lessons learned at Clear Lake to a national audience – one that is committed to putting into practice his message of sustainability for this popular sport.


There are several good international references for sustainable golf course management.  Perhaps one of the best is the Royal & Ancient in St. Andrews, Scotland.  They have an entire page on their website dedicated to environmental management and sustainable golf courses.

The R&A is golf’s world rules and development body and organiser of The Open Championship. It operates with the consent of more than 130 national and international, amateur and professional organisations, from over 120 countries and on behalf of an estimated 30 million golfers in Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and The Americas (outside the USA and Mexico). The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the game’s governing body in the United States and Mexico.

GEO Industry Forum drives sustainable golf in Europe – Last month (May, 2009), The Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and its European Golf Partners came together  to consolidate a shared positive vision for sustainable golf, drive forward environmental programmes, and to collectively evaluate progress to date.  The meeting of this ‘Industry Forum’, administered by GEO, represents another milestone in the way in which golf’s strategic leaders are mapping out a future in which golf will be internationally recognised for enhancing environmental quality and human wellbeing.

And, in New Zealand, New Zealand Golf and the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute has published online their Sustainable Golf Course Design Guidelines – very straight forward.

Congratulations Greg!


Good Food – Riding Mountain area

The following are two places I highly recommend for quality local food. You’ll love the hosts, the food, and you’ll get insight into local stories, views, and news.

Harvest Sun Café – Get Directions

The Harvest Sun Cafe – is a small cozy cafe nestled at the heart of the small community of Kelwood which is situated right next to the east gate of the Riding Mountain National Park. We offer cuisine that is made from organic, and more importantly local produce.  Our cafe offers a unique rural experience for visitors, which includes local tastes, flavours and the opportunity to connect with a sma Manitoban community.  

Kelwood, Manitoba Email:


The Harvest Sun Music Fest – is a music festival with a fantastic family atmosphere that is dedicated to the support of local agriculture and community building. The fest offers an incredible line-up of musical acts, and as we are partnered with the local ag fair, there is the opportunity to have a hands on experience with an Agricultural Fair that has been running for over 100 years.  


Prairie Seasons Café & Bakery
Onanole, Manitoba
Look for the big elk statue as you come into Onanole.
Organic baking, fresh and local foods.

Inauguration Green Ball January 19 is really green

The Green Ball Inauguration ball on January 19th, 2009 organizers committed to making the ball as green as they could.  Here are some things that they did.  This is putting “greening of events” into action.

A Green Ball That’s Really Green

The organizers of the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball are committed to making this the greenest inaugural ball possible.

  • 100% of the carbon footprint of the event is being offset with high quality carbon offsets from Native Energy. The offsets will support a portfolio of renewable energy technologies.
  • The event’s menu developed by Grand Cuisine and Chef Bradley Nairne, in consultation with renowned organic Chef Nora Pouillon, will include locally-sourced, organic and seasonal food.
  • Waste from the event will be recycled, reused and composted by the Waste Neutral Group. No plastic bottles will be available
  • Waste items will be source separated into biodegradable trash bags supplied by Perf Go Green.
  • Lighting will incorporate the latest LED technology
  • Limited paper and signage was used to produce and publicize the event.
  • All printed materials will be printed on recycled paper using soy based ink.
  • All bathrooms will use biodegradable soap and energy efficient air dryers.
  • All linens are cleaned without the use of chemicals, and in a manner that uses less water and drying time.
  • Floral decorations are organic, being kept to a minimum, and arrangements will be donated and reused.
  • Attendees were encouraged to use metro, walk, or drive a hybrid to the event to minimize emissions from transportation.
  • Trucks will not be permitted to idle while in the loading bays.
  • The Green Carpet greeting guests, provided by Bentley Prince Street, is made with 100 percent renewable electrical energy and is made of 10% consumer waste. The carpet will be completely recycled after the event.
  • Even the coat check will feature reusable numbers instead of paper tags.
  • Guests will be encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets through a partnership with Native Energy
  • Many additional greening aspects were explored but were not feasible due to security, infrastructure, and availability of vendors to service.