The Maryland SoccerPlex and Grass Roots, a cooperative arrangement between the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Turfgrass Federation, began an ambitious partnership in 2015 to create an interactive sport field and lawn exhibit at the Maryland SoccerPlex. It will be just the second joint venture of this type by Grass Roots. The first opened one at the U.S. National Arboretum in the fall of 2014.
The exhibit’s home is situated in front of the ticket booth on the south lawn of Maureen Hendricks Field, the SoccerPlex’s stadium field. There will be a formal grand opening on Wednesday, May 3 at 10:00 am followed by a public grand opening that following Saturday, May 6. At the public opening visitors will be able to walk through the exhibit and also ask any lawn-care related questions to our panel of experts from the Maryland SoccerPlex, the National Turfgrass Federation and the U.S. National Arboretum.
“We are honored to be able to partner in the Grass Roots Initiative said Maryland SoccerPlex Executive Director Trish Heffelfinger. “We look forward to helping educate the public on turfgrass and to offering all of our visitors the opportunity to visit a live interactive exhibit.”
The first part of construction completed was the sports fields – four large beds that showcase Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda, a new type of Zoysia grass, Zeon, and Synthetic Turf. The four turf grasses can be used in various projects depending on factors such as climate and type of usage. Based on results of the exhibit, Zeon could potentially be used for more sports fields in the Mid-Atlantic region. The second stage of construction included an additional 12 cool and warm season turf types from around the country added at the bottom of the exhibit area.
The interactive outdoor exhibit will include a kiosk featuring information on common turf diseases and pests, an irrigation systems exhibit, a history walkway and a rain garden.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating this exhibit with Trish, SoccerPlex Director of Grounds Ryan Bjorn and his crew," said Kevin Morris, president of the National Turfgrass Federation.
"When it opens, we believe we will have an exhibit that will show the future of turf in interesting and educational ways to everyone from kids, to homeowners and others who work in the turf industry.”
The Maryland SoccerPlex features a combination of 24 professionally maintained, regulation-sized soccer fields, an award-winning stadium field, Maureen Hendricks Field, and overall some of the highest quality facilities in the country. The SoccerPlex hosts youth leagues, adult leagues, youth tournaments, NCAA Division I college matches and conference championships (ACC), U.S. Open Cup matches (D.C. United), professional women's matches (Washington Spirit) and a variety of international teams and competitions.
Photos courtesy Maryland SoccerPlex.