January 2017

Sea Pines CSA: Receives Prestigious National Honor for Grounds Maintenance Program

Author: Kingston Rhoads

Sea Pines residents and visitors alike often whisper about the elation they experience during a brisk morning walk or bike ride along the community’s pathways. The beauty can be overwhelming, and in the pale early light of such mornings, some of the first faces glimpsed are groundskeepers already busy with their tasks. A young woman, trowel in hand and wearing a baseball cap, will smile “hello” as she tends to a freshly groomed bed of flowers, while a nearby co-worker carefully spreads a bale of pine straw. Memorable moments like this are part of the inspiring Sea Pines setting that so many residents cherish.

The day-in, day-out care and keeping of this singularly remarkable, park-like community is a momentous task, and now that effort has been recognized by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) with its 2017 Honor Award in its annual Green Star Awards.

The Green Star Award is considered the “Oscar” of the grounds management profession. Community Services Associates, Inc. (CSA), which serves the 5,400-acre, nationally renowned Sea Pines community, received the award for “exceptional grounds maintenance” in the Public Works category. It was only the third such award given in this category over the past decade—the others going to Miami/Dade County in 2009 and the City of Milwaukee in 2007.

“Our beautiful grounds have long been a matter of pride to our property owners and those who work here, as well as a source of admiration by people who visit,” said Bret Martin, Sea Pines CSA president. “We have a creative and very diligent grounds maintenance team to thank for this wonderful award, and on their behalf, we are proud to receive this national recognition.”

In Sea Pines, a 39-person team headed by Beau Barnett, director of maintenance, and Jerred Mayse, maintenance manager, attended to the more than 5,000 acres this past year. “It’s an enormous job,” Martin explained. “Not only are they responsible for maintaining the natural beauty of Sea Pines, but they also provide residents, property owners, guests and staff with safe trails, roadways, efficient drainage systems, clean lagoons and attractive open spaces as well as beach and trail boardwalks.” Enforcing and protecting the 600-acre Sea Pines Forest Preserve is additionally part of the maintenance team’s responsibilities.

Mayse explained that a specific groundskeeping plan is set monthly to deal with the ever-changing landscaping needs of the most comprehensive community on Hilton Head Island. The acreage is divided into several geographic zones, with individual teams assigned to each. Sustainability practices, which were a key component of PGMS awards criteria, are handled on a more long-term basis.

One specific Sea Pines CSA sustainability program that caught the attention of the judges is the debris mulching program, where debris from resident yards is picked up weekly, transported to a tub grinder that converts it into mulch, and then, as a free service, recycled back to the residents.

The PGMS Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence and sustainability best practices. Unlike other complementing landscape award programs that recognize outstanding design and construction components, the PGMS Green Star program salutes colleges, municipalities, private communities, golf facilities and other organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to maintenance excellence and sustainability.

Founded in 1911 PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals dedicated to advancing the grounds management profession.

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