Muhammad Ali, GCSAA Class A member at Bing Maloney Golf Complex in Sacramento led a virtual First Green Field Trip with students from New Joseph Bonnheim Elementary. Twenty-three 5th graders participated in the field trip via Zoom. The virtual field trip was a first for the First Green program and for Muhammad Ali.
Ali hosted an in-person First Green field trip in March of 2020. It was the last field trip to take place prior to the pandemic restrictions that became the norm throughout the rest of the year. The March 2020 field trip was a collaborative success held at Bing Maloney. The Sacramento County Agriculture commissioner came out with their K9 unit, a bird club shared information on Bluebird boxes and the field trip was covered by a local television station. It was a community outreach success and the students had fun and learned a little along the way.
When Muhammad Ali learned from his son’s teacher, Dem Hang Le, that all field trips had been canceled for the 2020/2021 school year, he offered to conduct the First Green field trip virtually. Ali reached out to First Green staff for ideas on how to best conduct the remote field trip.
Ali started the field trip with career exploration information on the work of a golf course superintendent. The students then participated in stations covering area math, grass and soil nutrients by way of videos created by the Central Ohio GCSA. The students enjoyed being able to “travel” to the golf course and work through the STEM lessons contained in these two videos.
After the Math and Science covered in the first stations, the students then went on a virtual Wildlife Habitat tour of Mr. Ali’s golf course.
Mrs. Dem Hang Le, 5th and 6th grade teacher at New Joseph Bonnheim, was happy to share the opportunity to have Muhammad Ali present to her students.
“This is my first experience with First Green and I think it is such an amazing program! I think that Mr. Ali was extremely prepared and knowledgeable; he had slides and videos that were educational and engaging. I especially appreciated the ones that showed us how to calculate the square inches of an area and how to test our soil. We were able to use the information on calculation of square inches and applied that to measuring our own areas at home. We are still using that formula in our math.”
While the format limited the students participating physically in the learning stations, they still were able to ask questions, learn more about golf courses and golf course careers and spent a fun hour with Mr. Ali reinforcing skills they are learning in the classroom.
Muhammad Ali encourages golf course superintendents to participate in the First Green program. “I would ask superintendents to please try it at least once – you will love it! It is a good learning and networking opportunity for you and there are plenty of people to help. You don’t have to go it alone.”