Source: Synthetic Turf Council

The Synthetic Turf Council is now accepting submissions for its fourth annual Search for the Real Field of Dreams, which recognizes the power that synthetic turf has to transform communities and schools, and keep youth active, healthy and fit. The unique national contest is open to schools (K-12 and college), parks, businesses and public spaces in the United States and Canada that have compelling stories about the impact of their synthetic turf field or installation.

"Winning this national competition in 2011 for our Taylor's Dream Boundless Playground was a great honor," said Alvin R. Moll, Jr., Director, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department. "The playground is extremely popular with families and children of all abilities. We are proud of the beautiful groundcover that makes it stand out like an emerald field."

More than 7,000 synthetic turf athletic fields are in use across North America, along with numerous playgrounds and recreation spaces. Interested students, coaches, faculty, parents, parks and recreation managers, business owners and local supporters can easily nominate an installation. Submissions are due by September 1, 2012 and will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges. The Grand Prize is $1,000, and all winners receive publicity and a modest cash award. Visit www.syntheticturfcouncil.org to learn more.

Established in 2009, STC's Search for the Real Field of Dreams is open to any school, park, business, municipality or organization that currently has a synthetic turf field, park, playground or surface in use. The size of the space doesn't matter; it is judged on the impact made on individuals and the community. Fields must be installed by an STC member company. Previously submitted entries can be resubmitted with the exception of the Grand Prize or Top Category Winners. Past winners have included a community park that serves over 17,000 children with physical and cognitive challenges, a once-failing high school whose playing field helped bolster the student graduation rate and a Navajo Nation elementary school that increased student fitness levels.

About the Synthetic Turf CouncilBased in Atlanta, the Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications. The STC is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf. Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.