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32 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.14 Back to our roots Grass Roots, an exhibit highlighting mod- ern uses of turfgrass, is scheduled to open Oct. 16 at the U.S. National Arboretum in Wash - ington, D.C. A collaboration of the arboretum and the National Turfgrass Federation, the ex - hibit is the centerpiece of the four-year Grass Roots Initiative focusing on the environmental, economic and recreational benefts of turfgrass in golf courses, athletic felds and landscapes. Kevin Morris, executive director of the Na - tional Turfgrass Federation, acknowledges the support of the National Arboretum in pro - viding space for the turfgrass exhibit. "It's a little unusual for an arboretum to have a turf - grass display. We don't know of any, anywhere. In fact, they were stepping outside of their comfort zone frankly, but I applaud them for their vision — the (former) director, Dr. Co - lien Hefferan, and Scott Aker, the head hor- ticulturist." The 1.3-acre Grass Roots exhibit space is located near the front entrance of the Na - tional Arboretum, which hosts about 500,000 visitors annually. On opening day, the exhibit will contain 12 interactive displays, with two more to be constructed by next spring. Each section provides information about the uses of turfgrass, its importance to modern soci - ety, its history and best management practices for maintenance. Among the displays are a compact golf hole, sports felds, lawn areas with swards of six warm-season and four cool-sea - son turfgrass species, more than 30 different ornamental grass species, and a rain garden showing the ability of grass to absorb water Geoffrey Rinehart Geoffrey.Rinehart@ars.usda.gov and nutrients. The golf area includes a 007 creeping bentgrass tee, apron and 900-square- foot putting green; a Zeon zoysiagrass fairway; tall fescue/Kentucky bluegrass rough; and a pond with aquatic plants. Interpretive signage will assist visitors, who will be able to access additional information and intriguing "Find the Facts" questions on the Grass Roots website in real-time via QR (Quick Response) codes. "Because many of the concepts displayed in the exhibit need more ex - planation than there is space on the signage, we are hoping that the QR code links will allow visitors easy access to more information as they visit," says Morris. The aim of the Grass Roots Initiative is to showcase the value of properly managed turf as an environmental asset and the importance of research to continue to leverage that value. As part of the initiative, professional and scientifc symposia and homeowner-focused workshops and demonstrations will be held. In addition, the initiative is coordinating efforts to develop a "National Greenscape Corridor" linking the National Arboretum, the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery, and coordinat - ing public messaging and outreach to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable Presented in Partnership with Barenbrug (turf) The compact golf hole as seen from a small pond at the Grass Roots exhibit in the U.S. National Arbore- tum. Photo by Geoffrey Rinehart turfgrass and landscape maintenance practices at these culturally historic landscapes. The Grass Roots Initiative is funded by pri - vate donations from groups, including GCSAA, that represent the golf, sports turf, turfgrass seed production, and lawn and landscape in - dustries. To date, the National Turfgrass Fed- eration has raised $265,000, but estimates that $400,000 will be needed over the four-year life of the exhibit to cover construction costs and ongoing maintenance. The exhibit gives golf and other turfgrass-related industries an op - portunity to communicate to the general pub- lic and public policy decision-makers the bene- fts of turfgrass in modern society. For more information on the Grass Roots Initiative and the exhibit, see the fea - ture on GCSAA TV ( www.gcsaa.tv/view. php?id=2443 ) or visit the initiative's Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/NTFGrassRoots Initiative ). Geoffrey Rinehart is the coordinator for the Grass Roots Initiative.