Logan Horne, a professional turf manager with the Louisa County School District in Virginia, didn’t think he had a chance of winning when he entered the “Our Winning Green Space” contest. But he was wrong. Sponsored by Project EverGreen in partnership with Exmark Manufacturing, the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE), the contest awarded Horne’s school district an Exmark Lazer Z X-Series mower package earlier this month and will receive an athletic field renovation. The award will help maintain the school district’s athletic fields and grounds, and create safer playing fields.
“Louisa residents and the neighborhood are the real winners,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project Evergreen, a non-profit whose GreenCare for Communities renovation projects have revitalized more than 1 million sq. ft. of athletic and recreational greens spaces in numerous U.S. cities. “Healthy and safe sports fields breathe new life into the environment and functions as the lungs of the community. Project EverGreen and our partners at STMA and Exmark were impressed with the quality of the application and the passion of Horne.”
The school district is located in central Virginia at the crossroads between Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville. Horne returned to his hometown of Mineral, VA, to teach turf management at Louisa County H.S. and oversee the care and maintenance of the district’s athletic fields and grounds. The school district includes a high school, middle school and five elementary schools, and the grounds and fields are used by both students and residents for athletic competitions and recreation.
In total, Horne manages four athletic fields, about 15 acres of landscape, 2.4 miles of walking trails, and a bee-keeping area. The students actively participate in the grounds maintenance and have come up with new ideas to enhance the property including: building and installing benches, clearing trails, and helping to build an outdoor classroom.
Horne’s own love of turf and managing sports fields drives him to recruit at least one high school student a year to go into a sports turf management career. “Turf management is a unique program. Some kids would rather work outside and it’s a great career opportunity,” says Horne. “The kids love it. We have a very proud school and a lot of passion.”
“We thank Project EverGreen and its partners for making this project possible,” adds Horne. “It will leave a lasting footprint on our community for a lifetime.”