Michael Goatley, a Virginia Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist and professor in the  School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, was awarded the 2023 Professional Grounds Management Society Gold Medal Award. This award recognizes individuals for their outstanding and long-term achievements within the green industry. 

The Professional Grounds Management Society acknowledged Goatley’s commitment to the green industry and his mentorship of future leaders at its annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The conference is designed to provide opportunities to professionals to gain knowledge, ask questions, and connect with their peers. The conference hosted hundreds of individuals and featured interactive programs and educational seminars.

Goatley dedicated a substantial portion of his career to outreach efforts, particularly in the area of urban nutrient management. He played an instrumental role in developing the first-ever urban nutrient management planning certification and testing program. Goatley is an active advisor and participant in programs such as the Extension Master Gardener Program and Healthy Virginia Lawns, which support urban water quality protection.

Beyond his outreach initiatives, Goatley leads the turfgrass cultivar evaluation program in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. Collaborating with fellow faculty, staff, and graduate students, he has been involved in innovative projects, including turfgrass establishment techniques and the development of a commercial pollinator sod product. 

His expertise extends to teaching as well. He has taught undergraduate classes such as Turfgrass Management and Golf and Sports Turf Management for over a decade.

Written by Tyler Bauguess

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