Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 30, 1998

Frisbee fields of 'green'

The popular sport of Ultimate Frisbee soon will be played on fields that meet rigid environmental standards and contain soil enriched with recycled biosolids, thanks in part to a University of Guelph researcher.

Peter Johnston-Berresford of the University's Kemptville College is conducting turf trials for the Ultimate Sports Park in Manotick Station near Ottawa. Recycled biosolids from pulp wood fibre will be used as a natural soil amendment on six of the park's 19 playing fields. The park is scheduled to open next year. The playing fields will be certified under a globally recognized "Committed to Green" program. Originally established to develop "green" golf courses, this program's environmental standards have never before been applied to another sport.

Recycled biosolids have proven effective in rehabilitating exhausted gravel pits and as a base for reforestation, Johnston-Berresford said. For this project, the biosolids will be used to restore the soils to a productive vegetative level. The control fields will allow Johnston-Berresford to better determine the biosolids' effectiveness. He will be looking at 24 different mixtures of grass seed to determine the most effective cultivar.

"The project will allow us to modify existing information on sports field management and incorporate what we learn to add to the knowledge base for future sports field development, particularly from an environmental standpoint," Johnston-Berresford said.

Compost will be used on eight of the remaining fields in varying quantities to determine the most effective rate of application. Top varieties of grass seed will be used on these fields. "The idea is to build fields with minimal disruption to the environment," Johnston-Berresford said. "The fields will be 100 per cent naturally fertilized."

The entire property comprises 110 acres, 40 of which will be rehabilitated and developed as an environmentally sustainable park. In addition, the headwaters of the Middle Castor River will be protected, and water and soil quality will be enhanced.

Extensive research into drainage, cultivars, irrigation and site management is also being conducted to ensure that the project poses no threat to the environment. "We want to follow a good environmental path," said Larry Pegg, owner of Ecoview, the consulting firm overseeing the project. "We feel it is a great opportunity to set an example and be a model for environmentally sound sports field development."

The sports fields are being constructed on a former sod farm now owned by the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association. Ecoview and a sports consulting firm, Green and Gold, were hired to develop the site as a model of environmental sustainability.

Research consultants and contributors to the project include: Domtar Specialty Fine Papers, which is donating the recycled biosolids; the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, which is donating the compost; Water and Earth Science Associates, Rainbird International Inc., Seprotech Systems Inc., Agrodrain Systems Limited, Ottawa Valley Turfgrass Association, Canadian Composting Council of Canada, South Nation Conservation Authority and Pickseed International.

For more information, contact Peter Johnston-Berresford at Kemptville College at 613-258-8336, Ext. 456, Larry Pegg at 613-821-1980, or Communications and Public Affairs at 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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