Sports Athletic Field Education (SAFE) – El Paso County

Extension in the City Success Stories

(14 mb) RealMedia audio/video safe.rmvb
(34 mb) Windows Media audio/video safe.wmv
(13 mb) QuickTime audio/video safe.mp4
(824 kb) RealMedia audio only safe.mp3

Text Transcription: Sports Athletic Field Education (SAFE)

We’ve had problems with actually getting the grass to grow; we’ve had problems with compaction, really hard surfaces. We’ve had a lot of weed problems and so forth. We’ve had problems with over watering in some areas, not enough watering in other areas.
We just never could get a grip on how it should be taken care of and then the SAFE program came in and really changed everything.
And getting the Extension Service involved really gave us a big boost.
The SAFE is an educational program that assists in establishing quality playing fields, quality turf grass, and at the same time using resources reasonably based on sound evaluation.
We did a test on all the fields for hardness, for water auditing to make sure we’ve got the same amount of water at all stages of the field.
It becomes very site specific.
We are saving at least 30% of the water of what we were doing before and that does not involve what the coaches were adding to what we had it programmed for.
You know we are in the desert, we have a water shortage. Everybody talks about it, but now we’re doing something instead of just talking about it. So we’re contributing, making, doing our part for water conservation here in the city of El Paso.
What we do is bring in the educational side and the technical expertise A&M offers.
It educates not only the people who work in the fields, but it’s also educated the coaches and the public about field maintenance.
They have programs where we can go listen to the things that they’re bringing, but they also come out to our schools and talk to us and come out to our maintenance department. We’ve had things out here on this field where we’ve got all the coaches together. It’s really nice that they’re here, they’re in town. We’re not spending a lot of money sending people to Austin and places like that. We’re saving all that money in being able to have someone here with the knowledge and base that they have.
If you want to sell anybody on the SAFE program, then just have them cone walk on our field because it’s as good as it gets. It’s a great football field.
It used to be that half way through the football season, we would have a little grass left on the sidelines and nothing else. And now we’ve got grass from sideline to sideline, and it’s just beautiful.
We’ve even gotten comments from coaches from out of town coming here and saying that these fields are as nice as any field they’ve every played on and nicer than some college fields they’ve played on.
El Paso, traditionally, did not have that. Teams from outside the city did not want to come play us here because of the condition of our fields. They were afraid for the safety of the players, it was hard as a rock.
I used to average probably three injuries a year on my practice field four years ago, five years ago. I mean, it was a typical thing. We would dislocate an elbow, we would do something to a knee, you know kids were always getting hurt. In the last three years, I don’t think we’ve had anybody, maybe one elbow, that’s been hurt, or you know, somebody from what I would think is field injuries.