Communication Sports Fields Turf Playability
Josh Glover, Town Wake Forest installing Spiio sensors

Communication and Sports Turf Safety: How Spiio Data Helps School Fields

Josh Glover, park maintenance manager for Wake Forest, North Carolina, shares some of the unique privileges and challenges of working for public parks and recreation. He also elaborates on the ways that data from a Spiio soil moisture sensor can help facilitate communication about sports turf safety for high school athletes.

After graduating with a degree in turfgrass management from North Carolina State University and spending some time on grounds crews for the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Orioles, Josh Glover went to work for the town of Cary, North Carolina. He worked on the USA Baseball Complex there for seven years until he came to the town of Wake Forest in 2015 as the park maintenance manager. 

Parks and Rec: Parks Don’t Take Days Off

Leaving popular sitcoms aside, what’s it really like to work with public parks and recreation? Glover shares one perk:

“We get to do lots of different things. One minute we’re preparing to support an event, the next minute we’re working on a sports field somewhere, and next we’re working on a greenway.”

Wake Forest manages “561 acres of parks, open space, natural land and trails.” Glover enjoys the variety and having a wide range of responsibilities.

Unlike most places, March and April last year were a particularly busy time for public parks and recreation. There was a significant increase in people wanting to use park space—some of the only space left available. Meanwhile, some athletic leagues closed down, giving maintenance teams a chance to work on needed projects. Of course, Glover points out, whether it was a particularly empty field or a particularly full park, “on a maintenance end, everything still had to happen.”

Communication and sport turf safety: Josh Glover and Spiio's Greg Goudeau installing Spiios at the Heritage High School, NC to improve communication with Spiio data.
Communication and sports turf safety: Josh Glover and Spiio’s Greg Goudeau installing Spiios at the Heritage High School, NC to improve communication with Spiio data.

The pandemic exacerbated a unique challenge that is always present for the industry—parks are open dawn to dusk, and they are never locked. That means there’s always something going on (and there’s always the potential for issues to arise). Glover has to have staff on site every day to ensure playability safety.

Spiio as a Communication Tool

With such a demand for people on site, Glover has recognized the value of a technology that can relieve the need for physical eyes as far as sports turf is concerned. In December of last year, he installed four Spiio soil moisture sensors on the field at Heritage High School. Understandably, a high school field has many stakeholders—in addition to those responsible for maintaining the field, there are coaches, school administrators, athletes, and parents. In addition, Wake Forest partners with a soccer organization that also uses those fields.

“One of the main reasons we wanted to give this a shot,” he says, “was so we could know—and they could know—how wet the field is at any given time. We’re still trying to establish the baseline for what’s okay and what’s too wet to play. That’s what we’re working toward.”

Josh Glover, Park Maintenance manager for Wake Forest, NC.

A wet field is a critical concern for player safety. Spiio data provides a useful communication tool so that all parties can know field conditions at any given time. Anyone interested can download the app and see those conditions for themselves, rather than having to send someone out to check.

So far, Glover’s team at Wake Forest has had a good experience. “We anticipate using the Spiio in other facets in the summer,” Glover reports. “For now, we’re in the evaluation phase. I think it will be what we’re hoping it will be. I feel like it’s pulling the data I’m hoping to see.”

Contact Spiio to learn more about how to get started.