2014 School IPM Milestones
Sixteen school districts are implementing IPM, representing 58% of students in Colorado public schools.
The School IPM policy template was approved by the Colorado Coalition for School IPM for use in all school districts in Colorado. Click here to see a copy of the template.
Bed bug policy recommendations were approved by Denver Public Schools.
Green Ribbon Awards:
Larkspur Elementary School (Douglas School District) – Sustainable Change in the Community at Large
Lesher Middle School (Poudre School District) – A Brown and Gold Seven-time Energy Star
Boulder Valley School District – Board of Education Mandated Sustainability Management Policy
We held three statewide meetings of the Colorado Coalition for School IPM.
The second annual IPM for School Grounds workshop was hosted by St. Vrain Valley School District.
The IPM Curriculum for 3rd to 5th graders was pilot-tested in Colorado and Washington schools and approved in Adams 12 5 Star Schools.
Denver Public Schools was honored by the EPA with the Environmental Achievement Award.
The National Environmental Health Association hosted an IPM Conference for public health professionals in Denver.
Matt Throop was hired as Facilities Director, Thompson Valley School District.
All of our Colorado Pest Press fact sheets are now available in Spanish.
The Healthy Communities blog had 6,811 views, as of 1/5/2015.
The Colorado Center for Sustainable IPM website was updated and had 1,760 views in 2014.While most of the visitors were from the U.S., we also had visitors from many other countries, including Brazil, Italy and Germany.
The Colorado IPM YouTube channel added new videos (36 total), with 4,620 views.
What’s the Future for Colorado School IPM?
The Colorado Coalition for School IPM represents the leaders among Colorado school districts who are involved in the implementation of IPM. Your achievements represent great local examples of the benefits of school IPM. We encourage you to share your stories and experiences with other school districts that are considering the program.
Our partners, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the U. S Environmental Protection Agency (Region 8) will be participating in the upcoming Winter Conference of the Colorado Association of School Executives next month. We hope that many of the school executives from your districts will visit the exhibit during the three day conference this February. Help us create a healthier school environment that promotes educational achievement while minimizing exposure to environmental toxins in your facilities for both students and staff.
Here’s What is Happening in Other States
In Utah, the Department of Health now requires the use of Integrated Pest Management in all K-12 public, private, and charter schools, including attached preschools. The rule carries the weight of law, is effective immediately, and is enforced by local health departments. See the full rule here: R392-200. http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r392/r392-200.htm
The State of California made changes to the Healthy Schools Act that expand IPM requirements in the state’s schools and childcare centers. The law went into effect January 1. Beginning this year, pesticide use at school sites and childcare centers must be reported to the state, and schools must adopt IPM plans and identify an IPM coordinator. Beginning next year, school staff will also be required to complete IPM training. More information http://apps.cdpr.ca.gov/schoolipm/childcare/main.cfm#Background
Think Like A Mouse
Several schools have contacted us recently about mouse infestations. Snap traps are an effective way of controlling mice. If you are squeamish, snap traps can be placed in specially designed cardboard or plastic boxes. The most well-known snap traps consist of a wooden board, a platform and a spring. When you apply pressure on the platform, the bar shuts down with a lot of force. Be careful with these traps – your fingers might be snapped if you don’t set them properly. There are plastic versions of the snap trap — some with a bar and some with a row of teeth. One advantage of the plastic traps is that you can easily disinfect them and use them over and over again.
Mice usually travel along walls, so place traps up against walls with the snap end facing the wall. Set six traps per mouse on the first night. Place each trap three feet apart. Clear the traps in the morning, and remove them altogether. Mice are naturally curious and often will be trapped the first night, but then they may be trap-shy. Set the traps again a week later in slightly different locations. This technique will help overcome trap-shyness.
Choose a bait that will lure the mice towards the trap. Start with a food that the mice are already eating. Peanut butter and chocolate syrup are good choices but remember that mice are opportunists and will try most foods. They may also forage for nesting materials, so cotton balls can also be used as bait.
How Could IPM Have Helped?
This article is from the IPM Institute of North America.
San Ysidro School District, San Diego, California is battling an unresolved lawsuit over alleged pesticide use, incurring $35,000 in legal costs as of last month. According to media reports, in 2011, teacher Josie Hamada took her students to a cherry tree grove on school property to draw and write about trees. After clearing some weeds, Hamada found herself contaminated with a blue substance which she suspected was a pesticide. Students were quickly moved inside to wash up. Health complaints followed, including at least one student’s trip to a hospital the next day.
School officials report that no pesticide had been applied by district staff or contractors, and claimed that notices are posted for every scheduled application. The district had also sent out 5,000 notices to parents asking if they wanted to receive individual notification when the school applied pesticides; only three parents responded.
Media reports indicate the cherry trees were planted as a memorial to September 11, 2001 victims. It’s unclear from the news stories if the blue substance was confirmed to be a pesticide, however an informed IPM coordinator might have suggested a lower maintenance alternative before the trees were planted. Cherry trees, much like apple, crabapple, dogwood and birches, are “key plants”, prone to insect and disease problems. In most environments, cherry trees and other key plants require interventions, including pesticide applications, to keep them healthy and attractive. Fruit trees also typically shed some of the crop throughout the growing season, which can provide a food and moisture source for rodents, flies, yellow jackets and other potential pests. Weeds can also be a challenge to manage. Barrier fabric and mulch can be a solution, but can also provide harborage for rodents, and requires ongoing maintenance to be effective. To real the full story, click here.
In Texas, a student died at Has Middle School in Corpus Christi following an allergic reaction to fire ant stings he received on a football field. While the district has some IPM tactics in place, their IPM practices for fire ant management were not complete. The coaching staff was not trained to recognize the signs of anaphylactic shock. Knowing when and how to inspect a field for fire ants and how to apply baits effectively are key to fire ant management.
According to Janet Hurley, Extension Program Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, “Your objective should be to find the method or methods that are most cost-effective, environmentally sound and fit your tolerance level for fire ants.” AgriLife Extension worked with the school IPM staff to develop a district-wide fire ant baiting program. One year later the district has reported fewer fire ant complaints and reduced cost with a broadcast bait program rather than treating individual mounds, which is time intensive, can require more pesticide use, and does nothing to manage fire ants foraging from mounds on adjoining property. Properly timed bait applications can be entirely consumed by foraging ants within hours, limiting potential for exposure to the bait. The district also adopted a policy to train all staff on how to recognize anaphylaxis and how to properly respond to an allergic reaction to both pests and food-borne allergies. Read the full story here.
The Colorado Coalition for School IPM is a collaborative effort by Colorado State University, U.S. Environmental Protection, USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Education, school districts, National Environmental Health Association and private pest control professionals, committed to implementing IPM principles in schools throughout Colorado.