The Newark Country Club recently revamped its grounds to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program.
The work was done over the last three months by members of the country club’s new Garden Club, who volunteered their time and donated the necessary plants.
“We realize we are a great asset to the community and we want to preserve it,” said Laura DelPercio, the Newark Country Club’s general manager. “We really wanted to be good stewards to our property.”
According to DelPercio, the Newark Country Club’s 120 acres at 300 W. Main St. hosts a bevy of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, deer, blue heron, fox and several species of birds, both native and migrant.
The NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program promotes responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive by encouraging planting native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use. The certification checklist states that every Certified Wildlife Habitat must provide food, water, cover and places to raise young, as well as demonstrate a number of sustainable practices.
DelPercio said the Garden Club worked with Joe Gulotti, who serves as the country club’s grounds superintendent, and Lori Athey, Habitat Outreach Coordinator for the Delaware Nature Society, to identify areas for improvement and run through the checklist. She said there were several invasive species Athey suggested they swap out for native plants.
After a few months of planning and labor, the club met all the criteria and recently received its certification. Still, DelPercio said the club is far from finished with beautifying the grounds. Garden Club members are continuing to add plants and flowers around the tee boxes and in areas where certain species are lacking and hope to attract more pollinators to the course.
“We want to be able to improve and enhance those areas,” DelPercio said.
In addition to the certification, the country club’s Certified Wildlife Habitat garden is now also part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to create a million gardens that provide habitat for declining pollinator insects, like butterflies and bees.
DelPercio said she’s excited for the club to be part of the effort.
“It’s nice to be able to give back to the community,” she said.