Denver Public Schools Wins Environmental Achievement Award
On Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the first Colorado Environmental Achievement Award to Denver Public Schools for their outstanding efforts in keeping DPS schools and students healthy! DPS Facility Management and Nursing Services departments were honored for increasing environmental health through the implementation of the School Integrated Pest Management (SIPM) program throughout their district and their participation in an asthma intervention program, Step Up Asthma, which is run in partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado and funded by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
By expanding their SIPM program, DPS facilities reduced their use of rodenticides by 75% by primarily relying on trapping for management of mice and rats. Additionally, they are using only bait and gel formulations of pesticides in all of their schools.
Special kudos go out to Trena Deane, Executive Director for Facilities (in photo), Steve Wells, SR Supervisor for Preventative Maintenance and Pest Management, and Donna Shocks, Director of Nursing, for their leadership, vision, and hard work!
For more information about School IPM programs please visit:
Other Strategies For Pest Management
If you have tried exclusion and sanitation, and still have pest problems, consider trapping or baiting for pest management.
Trapping for mammals (mouse traps, live traps) and for insects (pheromone traps, sticky traps) can be used to determine what kind of problem you have, to determine how many pests you have, and to help reduce populations. Live-trapping for release can help get rid of the problem if you have practiced exclusion first (by blocking the pest’s point of entry). This is especially good for larger mammals that may have found their way into your building.
Baits are another pest management method and are considered a safe chemical option. Qualities of a good bait include: an odor that smells attractive to the pest, a pesticide that is selective and effective against the pest, a holder or “bait station” that children or pets cannot access, and a design that is suited to the pest’s behavior.
Checklists and Other Tools For Pest Management
Recently I have received several requests for checklists and other tools to help folks as they work to expand their School IPM programs.
Some of the more frequently requested checklists include:
Other quick references are:
School IPM Facilities
School IPM Educational Materials
Schools and Greenery
A recent Cnet article highlights a new study that suggests that the kids at schools surrounded by greenery tend to do better in language arts and math. Nature has been widely noted to play a key role in our mental health, so it probably comes as no surprise that it also affects the way we, and our kids, learn.
The study used satellite imagery to look at the “greenness” level (officially the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) of 905 public schools in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2012, and compared them to the percentage of third-graders who scored “above Proficient” in English and Math on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) standardized test. Greenness levels were calculated using a 250-meter to 2000-meter radius around the schools.
What they found was a significant correlation between a school’s greenery level and their student’s performance on the MCAS. the correlation was particularly strong when looking at greenness levels in March, which is around the time that student’s take the MCAS.
IPM Curriculum for Elementary Students Creates InPESTigators
From the Western Region IPM Newsletter, November 2014
Ask a third grader what a pest is, and chances are the answer will be “My little brother.”
But actually teaching them how to identify and decide if something is a pest – and then how to manage it safely – might just be one key to wider adoption of integrated pest management throughout Western schools, according to Deborah Young, professor and extension specialist at Colorado State University.
“In school IPM, we’ve had a lot of success working with custodians and facilities managers,” she said. “And when we as them how we can help them do IPM at their schools, they say, ‘Get the teachers on board.'”
How do you get teachers interested in Integrated Pest Management (IPM)? Turn IPM into a science curriculum they can use in their classrooms.
So, with a grant from the Western IPM Center, Young and Carrie Foss, the urban IPM director at Washington State University, did just that. The result is “A Classroom InPESTigation: Life Science Curriculum for Grades 3-5.”
To make sure the curriculum was something teachers could readily use, the IPM specialists hired an education specialist, Ian Renga, a doctoral candidate in education at the University of Colorado, Boulder, to write the actual curriculum and make sure it met Colorado, Washington, and the new federal Next Generation Science Standards.
Then they piloted the curriculum in two third-grade classrooms in Colorado taught by the student’s regular teacher while Renga and Young observed and assisted, then two fourth-grade classrooms in Washington with Renga teaching. That was the fun part.
“If I could just teach third grade all the time, life would be wonderful,” Young said. “The kids were so enthusiastic and came up with great questions.”
Like all good curricula, the IPM lessons are designed to be both complete and adaptable.
“Some pests are different in Washington and Colorado, for instance,” Foss said. “There are opportunities for teachers to adapt it to their settings and even add to it.”
After both pilot sessions, the authors tweaked the lessons, and Renga explained that even though the curriculum in now published and available for use, it will evolve as more teachers use it and refine it over time.
“Any curriculum starts as a draft and grows over time,” he said. “It’s a living document.”
The next step is getting teachers to use the IPM curriculum n their classroom in states throughout the West – and beyond. To do that, Young is working with the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education to promote the curriculum, and Foss will demonstrate it to 60 primary school teachers at the Entomological Foundation Teacher’s Workshop November 15 in Portland. The workshop is being held in conjunction with the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting.
“The goal now is to try to create interest among teachers and urban IPM specialists in other states,” Foss said. “It should work in any state.”
Healthy Kids Survey
The 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) collected self-reported health information from Colorado middle and high school students. The HKCS was administered in the fall of 2013 to approximately 40,000 randomly-selected students from over 200 middle and high schools. The survey is adminstered to students in odd-numbered years with the next full administration in fall 2015. The primary use of the data is to identify health priorities in order to better implement school-and community-based strategies to improve and maintain the health of youth. For more information about the study, click here for the HCKS data and Executive Summary.
Fall Colorado Coalition Meeting Highlights
The Fall Colorado Coalition Meeting was primarily educational. Highlight’s included; current information about Tularemia in Colorado, answers to ‘why you had so many flies this summer’, and an update from EPA about various programs and awards taking place in Region 8. Take a moment and review some of the presentations:
Precautions To Take When Handling Dead Rodents
From the Arizona School and Home IPM Newsletter, November 2014
1. Do not assume a trapped mouse is dead! Approach with caution, they will bite.
2. Wear rubber or disposable plastic gloves such as those purchased in boxes of 100 by pest management professionals and building custodians, if you are certain you will not sustain a bite. Wear heavy-duty protective gloves if you have to deal with a live trapped mouse.
3. Before handling a trap that contains a rodent, spray the dead mouse and trap with disinfectant (e.g. 10% bleach solution) until wet. We recommend not reusing a wooden mousetrap that has caught a mouse.
4. Dispose of a dead mouse by turning a sealable plastic bag inside out. Then with a hand inside the bag, pick up the rodent and the trap. Invert the bag over you hand and seal the bag, with the rodent and trap inside it. Wrap the bag in newspaper and dispose in a dumpster or trash can.
5. Spray the area where the trap or dead mouse was lying with a light spray of disinfectant or 10% bleach solution and let the area dry.
6. Dispose of the gloves in the trash, or for reusable gloves, spray the outside of the gloves with disinfectant, then remove the gloves and wash hand with soap and water.
7. A 10% bleach solution is sufficient to destroy pathogens likely to be present. Using stronger bleach solutions will not be any more helpful and may damage surfaces.
This year’s theme is 21st Century Schools. The Green Schools Summit is an annual education and networking event hosted by USGBC Colorado. The summit will be held at Sturm Hall, University of Denver, 2000 E. Asbury Avenue, 80208. The keynotes feature Karl Fisch, Colorado teacher and author of the YouTube hit “Shift Happens,” and Dr. John Medina, author of the New York Times Bestseller “Brain Rules”. Special pricing is available for school district employees.
Controlling Bed Bugs in Schools — Tuesday, December 16.
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST.
Reserve your Webinar Seat Now at:
Bed bugs continue to show up in schools. Their arrival can cause headaches for everyone from the administration to the nurse and facility manager. This presentation discusses the challenges bed bugs present and your important role in protecting the students and staff. Join Dini Miller (Virginia Tech’s Urban Pest Management Laboratory), along with the EPA Office of Pesticide Program’s Marcia Anderson (Center of Expertise for School IPM) and Susan Jennings (Public Health Liaison) in exploring your role in a district-wide bed bug action plan.