Tuesday, October 13, 2015

STAR-certified schools practice sustainable pest management

Juliann Barta
EPA Region 10*

What do control methods for discouraging pests (i.e. bugs and such) have to do with schools? Four school districts were recently recognized at a Seattle event for their sustainable pest management practices.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common sense approach to managing pests that focuses on preventing the conditions that encourage them. On Oct. 1, Washington State University Extension convened a school IPM event that was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through a partnership with WSDA. 
Speakers and school district representatives at the
IPM school event on Oct. 1, 2015

Carrie Foss, WSU’s Urban IPM director, along with Dr. Thomas Green, president of the IPM Institute of North America, evaluated and recognized the school districts of Kelso, Mukilteo, Lake Washington and Federal Way Public Schools for receiving IPM Institute of North America STAR certification. 

Other districts in Washington noted for their IPM certification include Bellevue, Marysville, Colville, Pasco, Walla Walla, South Kitsap, North Thurston, and Vancouver Public Schools.

Dr. Green spoke at the event and talked about the benefits of IPM for schools. These include reducing the risk of pests and pesticide exposure, creating a healthier school environment for our children, and saving schools money in treatment and energy costs.   

Another speaker, Jim Jones, EPA's chief of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said everyone has a role, from the federal government to school district staff, to make IPM a widespread practice. 

WSDA is on the Urban Pesticide Education Strategy Team, a group of state organizations that address urban pesticide issues in Washington. Visit www.schoolipm.wsu.edu to learn more about the team and school IPM resources

*Editor's note: EPA Region 10 submitted this post as a partner collaborating with WSDA to support IPM practices.