News and Events

Albion College, Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center Earn State Environmental Certification

Bobby Lee
Albion College Communication Office

Albion College made history on October 29, 2009 as the first college in the State of Michigan to become certified in the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP). Additionally, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is recognizing the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center at the college as a verified farm in the Livestock, Farmstead and Cropping Systems for implementing appropriate pollution prevention practices.

Never before has a property been recognized in both programs, which is a remarkable accomplishment.

"MAEAP and MTESP are designed to be one of the most effective and feasible ways for producers to position their farms long term for safeguarding both the environment and their economic viability," said Don Koivisto, Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director. "By sharing technological information and monitoring and recording changes in the way producers manage problems, MAEAP helps farmers find solutions for potential pollution problems."

Interest in Michigan's voluntary, proactive programs for certifying and assuring effective land stewardship practices is growing. The programs help turfgrass managers and farmers comply with state and federal environmental regulations and implement best management practices.

"I personally want to thank the Michigan golf course superintendents for leading the way with the development of the MTESP. Educational institutions, park systems, and government operations need to adopt the MTESP for the common good. It will enhance all operations and protect our valuable Michigan fresh water," said Albion College President Donna Randall.

The MAEAP and MTESP are collaborative efforts with producers, MDA, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, Michigan State University, conservation groups, and other state and federal agencies. MTESP was launched with the golf industry and has expanded to include schools, parks, lawn care companies and golf courses, all of which can become certified environmental stewards.

MAEAP encompasses three systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system – Livestock, Farmstead, and Cropping – examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all three systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.

Both the MTESP and the MAEAP follow a comprehensive three step process which includes attending educational seminars, conducting a thorough on-site risk assessment with a trained professional, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. An MDA inspection verifies practice implementation.

Albion College Director of Grounds, Mark Frever, believes this is a highly valuable process, "There is no discussion of sustainability, if we don't protect our natural resources first". To remain active in the programs, inspections must be conducted every three years and action steps must be followed. The beauty of these multi-year programs is that they allow properties to meet personal objectives, while best managing both time and resources.

Western Qualifies Four More for Regionals

On Sunday, Jan. 17, the western team came back strong after winter break in a double-header at Michigan State University.

Four more team members—Christine Johnson '10 (Grosse Pointe Farms/Grosse Point South), Chelsea Utt '13 (Harbor Springs/Petoskey) (pictured right), Amanda Douglas '13 (Cheboygan/Cheboygan), and Tim Cameron'10 (Wood Haven/Gabriel Richard)—qualified for IHSA Regionals, bringing the team's total number of qualifiers to eight.

Last season, the team's regional qualifiers numbered six.

Tim Cameron rode to victory in walk/trot in the first show of the day, continuing his success in the second show with a win in his first walk/jog/lope class in Intermediate I.

Fellow walk/trot rider Christine Johnson placed third in her first class, which moved her out of the division, and improved her placing to second in her first-ever Intermediate I class.

Team captain Kiva Auten '11 Houghton/Houghton won both classes of the day in the Advanced division while Alyssa Ford '11 Clayton/Hudson won her class in Advanced in the first show of the day.

Olivia Choate '12 Fenwick/Gratton Academy took two seconds in the Novice division to put points on the board. Kelsey Lauer '11 Traverse City/Traverse City Central (pictured left) and Sarah Spencer '11 Jonesville/Jonesville each took second in Novice in the first show of the day to add to the team totals.

The team's next and final show of the regular season will be on Jan. 30 at Western Michigan University.

Grahl and Smith Lead Hunt Seat at University of Michigan

Being on semester break didn't slow the momentum of the Briton hunt seat team when they competed in a double-header at the University of Michigan on January 9 and 10.

Leading the team off was Christine Grahl (Coldwater/Coldwater), whose second place in open over fences on Saturday and victory in the same class on Sunday set the bar high for the rest of the team. Team captain Lannis Smith (Northville/Northville) answered the call when she took first in her novice flat class on Saturday and second in the Sunday round. Also helping to put points on the scoreboard on Saturday was Alexandra Hamlin's (Mattawan/Mattawan) second place finish in intermediate flat and Emily Adams' (Kalamazoo/Mattawan) consistent thirds in intermediate flat and fences.

The Britons finished in third place as a team at the conclusion of Saturday's meet. On Sunday, they placed fourth.

Sunday's score was also helped by a third place finish in beginner walk/trot/canter by first-year team member, sophomore Jane Fillmore (Hope/St. John's International School) and by Sarah Behrendt's (Walled Lake/Lutheran Westland) second place finish in intermediate over fences.

Spring Break Success for Albion Riders

While many college students seized the opportunity presented by spring break to lie on the beach or participate in service projects, two Albion equestrians took a different approach and spent the weekend of March 12-14 competing in a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) rated show hosted by Majestic Farm in Batavia, Ohio.

Dressage team member Allison Robbins '10 (Chardon, OH / Plainfield Central) (pictured at right) and full-time British Horse Society (BHS) candidate Emily Jackson rode Albion school horses Troy and Bronson to solid scores, with Robbins scoring in the 60s in her debut at First Level. Robbins will next compete with the Briton dressage team in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association national championship, where she finished as reserve national champion at Lower Training Level in 2009.

Jackson made her USDF competition debut at the Majestic Farm show and came away with three wins in the Training Level division. Aboard Bronson, she earned a 66.522% from judge Sue Kolstad in Training Level test one to kick off her solid weekend of performances.

Not to be outdone, Albion College dressage team coach Danielle Menteer (pictured below left) accompanied her riders and competed at First Level on Teddy, as well as piloting Albion College Lenox to victory in the Prix St. George on Sunday with a score of 64.737%.

Of the students' rides, Menteer said, "Allison's highlights were her high scores for straightness and her canter work. For Emily, this being her first dressage show ever - let alone her first USDF show - she showed great poise and concentration."

"All in all, it was a good weekend and a great start to the regular competition season," she added.