Natural Grass Playing Field Case Study: Martha’s Vineyard, MA

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Communities on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts have partnered with a non-profit group called The Field Fund to manage their natural grass playing fields with organic maintenance. The playing fields support the full demands of local youth and adult recreational activities, and increase community access to pesticide-free play spaces. This case study provides information on maintenance practices, costs, use, successes, and challenges for three natural grass field complexes on Martha’s Vineyard: Oak Bluffs School Fields, West Tisbury School Fields, and West Tisbury Town Field.

The maintenance practices highlighted here were created to meet Martha’s Vineyard’s specific conditions and needs, these methods can be adapted to any town, school, or community looking for a cost effective way to maintain their playing fields.

This is the third in a series of case studies created by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), intended to share the experiences of communities that have chosen to invest in organically managed natural grass athletic fields. The first two case studies described the experiences of the City of Springfield and the Town of Marblehead, which show what can be accomplished with use of core organic management techniques. This case study presents how precision technologies can be used alongside core organic management techniques, for those communities that have resources for additional investment.

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