The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) awarded its 2009 Environmental Communicator of the Year award to Drs. Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter, the founders of PACE Turf. Stowell and Gelernter received the award for their efforts to promote environmental stewardship on turf in industry meetings, trade journals and via their turf management information service. Through PACE Turf, Stowell and Gelernter provide extensive free public services, including the PACE Turf Super Journal (an online turf research publication) and turf management guidelines.

The green industry consumer-education organization Project EverGreen sponsored the communications award that was presented at the 20th annual TOCA meeting held in May in Puerto Rico.

Newly elected TOCA Board President Jared Bodnar said Stowell and Gelernter have pioneered a vast amount of the environmental and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) information on turf that is available today. “They received this award because they excel at translating science into practical recommendations that can be easily implemented by turf managers,” said Bodnar, who is vice president of Canyon Communications of Mesa, AZ.

F. Dan Dinelli nominated Stowell and Gelernter for the award. The Certified Golf Course Superintendent for North Shore Country Club in Glenview, IL, wrote: “Larry and Wendy make a wonderful team assisting practitioners like myself in my plant health care program. Too often I get distracted with other responsibilities during the growing season. The weekly communications I receive from PACE assures I’m not forgetting any important elements timely to my plant health care efforts. Cultural practices, plant and soil nutrient inputs, scouting for pests, all require a timely approach to ensure an environmentally sound program.”

Stowell holds a B.S. in Agriculture and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Arizona. Gelernter has a B.S. degree in Agricultural Science from Cornell University. Her Ph.D. in Insect Pathology is from the University of California-Riverside. Stowell and Gelernter serve as co-directors of PACE Turf (, which was established in 1993. 

Bodnar said this is the 11th year TOCA has granted the award to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry.

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is composed of editors, writers, publishers, photographers, public relations/advertising practitioners, industry association leaders and others involved in green industry communications.