Johnny Morris and Big Cedar Golf received recognition for their conservation efforts around their golf facilities.
In a press release from Big Cedar Lodge, they announce that it has become the only resort in the world to have all five of its premier golf courses designated as Audubon International Signature Sanctuary locations. The independent certification from Audubon International, a
global not-for-profit conservation leader, ensures that all Big Cedar courses meet the highest standard of conservation-minded course design and sustainable operation.
Receiving this designation is no easy feat for one golf course, let alone five, with a rigorous certification process that takes years and includes several onsite visits from Audubon International staff. The achievement aligns with the vision of noted conservationist and Bass Pro
Shops founder Johnny Morris, who created Big Cedar Lodge to connect more people to nature and each other and has gone on to become one of America’s conservation leaders. In 2019, another well-known environmental organization, The National Audubon Society, awarded
Johnny with its prestigious Audubon Medal for his lifelong efforts to protect wildlife habitats and connect more people to the great outdoors.
Morris and Big Cedar Lodge first received Signature Sanctuary status for its Jack Nicklausdesigned Top of the Rock course 15 years ago, making it one of fewer than 100 courses in the world to earn the distinction at the time. With the addition of the Buffalo Ridge, Ozarks National,
Mountain Top and Payne’s Valley courses – Big Cedar Lodge has gone on to earn a global reputation as a world-class golf destination with a steadfast commitment to conservation by showcasing the rugged natural beauty of the Ozarks.
“We hold conservation close to our hearts and feel an obligation to protect the land and surrounding wildlife for future generations to enjoy,” said Johnny Morris. “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.”
The certification process involves a rigorous and highly technical comprehensive evaluation to ensure sound land management practices and appropriate land use based on scientific management. The process began with an on-site assessment conducted by Audubon
International staff to evaluate existing natural resources. To achieve certification, the Big Cedar team implemented and follows a site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) that addresses 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. Once those conditions are met and an environmental audit is passed, Audubon International conduct multiple site visits and provide supplemental training and education to operational personnel.
“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. “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.”
From soil creation to implementing a linen reuse program, the environment is top of mind in everything Big Cedar Lodge does. Between 75 - 80 percent of fertilization is done using organic fertilizer, a nature-friendly method that grows exceptional turf grass while utilizing natural
carbons. Big Cedar also uses a special water recirculation system to help reduce unwanted chemical run-off during cleaning. The courses also use moisture meters on the industrial spray and irrigation rigs to control how much water is used.