“The green industry is a terrific place to make a living and have a positive impact on the environment and people’s lives, and Project EverGreen has given me the opportunity to give back to communities in need of professional volunteerism.”
Turfs Up Radio
Darren Gruner, founder and CEO of Turf’s Up Radio is the recipient of the 2022 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, recognizes individuals for outstanding communications efforts regarding publicly managed green space and environmental issues, was presented during this year’s TOCA Annual Conference in Kansas City. Gruner is the 23rd recipient of the award.
Gruner, who is also the principal at Totalscape Design in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has been involved in the landscape industry since high school when he launched a lawn mowing service. The experience taught him how the business world works and made him appreciate both the aesthetic and environmental benefits of well-maintained green spaces.
In 2010, the New Jersey native started doing podcasts and guest hosting on local stations and satellite radio to fill a void he felt existed in the landscape and lawn care industry. The goal was to help elevate and educate the green industry, sharing many years of experience with those who were eager to listen.
In 2019, Gruner combined podcasting with live 24/7 radio and broad internet exposure to launch TurfsUp Radio, a platform that is accessible to green industry professionals and consumers across the country and globally. Turf’s Up Radio offers a variety of live programming and podcasts covering everything from tips on financial management and sales to industry news and plant health. The network currently has 50,000 monthly listeners.
“We wanted to create a forum where the industry can come together and exchange information, share ideas and connect through their love for the outdoors and all the benefits it provides,” said Gruner. “The green industry is a terrific place to make a living and have a positive impact on the environment and people’s lives, and Project EverGreen has given me the opportunity to give back to communities in need of professional volunteerism.”
Gruner is an active volunteer with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative. He has put his talents to work on urban green space renovations projects in New York City, New Jersey, Florida and Michigan that have transformed underused and struggling green spaces into vibrant community hubs that provide numerous social, economic and environmental benefits to residents.
“Darren is a gifted communicator whose natural curiosity and demeanor brings out the best in his guests and listeners on Turf’s Up radio. With regular radio shows on running a business profitably, to in-the-field tips to industry trends and innovations, the impact of the information presented day in, and day out is priceless,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Through his volunteer community work, he’s been instrumental in sharing with gardeners and consumers the know-how needed to maintain a healthy green space.”
Past recipients of the Environmental Communicator Award include:
- 1999 – Mark Welterlen, former publisher Grounds Maintenance magazine
- 2000 – Bill Love, W.R. Love Golf Architecture
- 2001 – Tim Doppel, Atwood Lawn Care
- 2002 – Doug Fender, former executive director, Turfgrass Producers International
- 2003 – Allen James, former CEO, RISE
- 2004 – Rod Dodson, Audubon International
- 2005 – Jeff Gullickson, Spokane Country Club
- 2006 – Kevin Trotta, grounds manager/IPM specialist, Cornwall, NY
- 2007 – Helen Stone, Southwest Trees & Turf magazine
- 2008 – Allied Golf Associations of Colorado
- 2009 – Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, PACE Turf
- 2010 – Christopher Gray, formerly Marvel Golf Club
- 2011 – Anthony Williams, formerly Marriott Golf and golf course consultant
- 2012 – Dr. Frank Rossi, Cornell University
- 2013 – Phil Fogarty, Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management
- 2014 – Brandon Horvath, University of Tennessee
- 2015 – Dr. Brian Horgan, University of Minnesota
- 2016 – Dr. Dave Shetlar, The Ohio State University
- 2017 – Dr. Frank Wong, Bayer Environmental Science
- 2018 – Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit, Michigan
- 2019 – Norman Goldenberg, Namron Business Associates
- 2020 – Karen Reardon, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)