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Ozarks National is among Big Cedar's courses that have been awarded Audubon International Signature Sanctuary certification status.
SBJ file
Ozarks National is among Big Cedar's courses that have been awarded Audubon International Signature Sanctuary certification status.

Big Cedar golf courses earn rare certification

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All five of Big Cedar Lodge's golf courses now are certified as Audubon International Signature Sanctuary locations, a designation that is "an unprecedented achievement," according to the CEO of the conservation nonprofit.

Fifteen years after Top of the Rock earned the designation, Buffalo Ridge, Ozarks National, Mountain Top and Payne’s Valley have met the same conservation standards, according to a news release. The designation recognizes golf courses that have conservation-minded course design and sustainable operations.

“Audubon International Signature Sanctuary certification represents the highest standard of conservation-minded design in the world of golf,” said Christine Kane, CEO of Audubon International, in the release. “Attaining certification for every course is an unprecedented achievement that speaks to the strong commitment to conservation from Johnny Morris and the entire Big Cedar team.”

Audubon International staff conduct on-site assessments to evaluate existing natural resources, with courses that earn the designation adhering to wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring and management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, and green building products and procedures.

“We hold conservation close to our hearts and feel an obligation to protect the land and surrounding wildlife for future generations to enjoy,” said Morris, founder of Big Cedar and Bass Pro Shops, in the release. “All of us at Big Cedar are very grateful to the experts at Audubon International for their time and commitment to help lead us and others to the very highest standards.”

Morris in 2019 became the 58th recipient of the Audubon Medal, which recognizes individuals for their conservation work, according to past reporting. Other recipients include former President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, actor/director Robert Redford, British natural historian Sir David Attenborough and CNN founder Ted Turner.

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