The Country Club of Darien has retained its designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.

Participation is designed to help course personnel plan, organize, implement and document a comprehensive environmental management program and receive recognition for their efforts. To reach certification, a high degree of environmental quality must be demonstrated in a number of areas, including environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management.

"Country Club of Darien has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property," Doug Bechtel, executive director of Audubon International, said in a news release provided by the club.

Country Club of Darien is one of 13 courses in Connecticut and 906 courses in the world to hold the honor. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Central America, Europe, South America and Southeast Asia have also achieved certification in the program.

The golf course was designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in 2011. After designation, courses go through a recertification process every two years.

This year ,the recertification process, coordinated by Superintendent Tim O'Neill, required a visit by a local representative. Joanna Nadeau, associate director of environmental programs at Audubon International, was given a tour of the course.

"The staff of the Country Club of Darien have incorporated the principles of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program into their daily maintenance practices. Because of the course's current beauty and their future plans for reaching even greater heights of environmental stewardship, we expect Darien to be a leader in great, sustainable golf well into the future," Nadeau said.

"We see the site visit as an important component of a course's recertification," Bechtel added. "It provides an objective verification of some of the more visible aspects of the course's environmental management activities. In addition, it offers an opportunity for golf course representatives to share publicly some of the voluntary actions they have taken to protect and sustain the land, water, wildlife, and natural resources around them."