Tim Stock, Director, OSU School IPM Program
Kelly Ensor, Program Support Specialist
The mission of the OSU School IPM Program is to work with schools and other stakeholders to improve pest management while reducing costs, workload, pests and pesticides.
The ultimate goal of the Program is to protect the health and safety of students and school staff via sustainable and continual improvement of pest management in Oregon’s schools.
The need for effective pest management is clear: Asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism in schools, which directly affects academic achievement. Pests such as mice and cockroaches can be asthma triggers. These and other pests can also be vectors of serious diseases such as typhus, plague and West Nile virus. Turf pests can lead to increased accidents and injuries. Pesticides can pose special risks for children.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common-sense strategy that focuses on long-term solutions to pest problems based on better understanding of pest biology, and with minimum impact on human health and the environment. Preventing pests by removing their access to food, water and shelter is a key part of an IPM program. Pest prevention reduces costs while protecting the health and safety of students and staff.
OSU School IPM Program Activities
All Program activities are based on needs identified through site visits, training and regular contact with hundreds of IPM Coordinators from all over the state.
Annual IPM Coordinator Training. Meets the training requirements for all designated School IPM Coordinators. This is the best time/place to learn new IPM techniques and share with peers. Training events take place at a school, and include indoor and outdoor hands-on site inspections. The OSU Turf Management Program co-trains at every annual IPM coordinator training event.
Model IPM Plans. The governing body of each school district or school (as defined by ORS 634.700 (8)) is required to have and implement an IPM plan. The Program developed three different model IPM plan templates which were used by schools to create plans that fit their own unique situations. Through ongoing training, one-on-one consults and supportive resource materials, the Program works with schools to update and improve their plans.
Other Training and Resource Materials. The OSU School IPM Program website houses a number of materials created by the Program, as well as others created by or with school districts, the OSU Turf Management Program, Washington State University, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and others. Additional materials are provided to participants at Annual School IPM Coordinator Training events.
Special Projects and Initiatives. The OSU School IPM Program has led or contributed to a number of special projects and initiatives:
- Insect ID Classes
- Pesticide Storage site assessments and training
- Training of Environmental Health Specialists (County Health Inspectors)
- “Rodent Academy”
- ODA school-specific pesticide license category
- Site assessments, training and educational materials for Head Start programs
- Low-maintenance ground covers (demonstration plots, training)
- Demonstration plots, training and educational materials on mowing, fertilization, and irrigation
Low-Impact Pesticide List. The Program assembled and maintains the list at the request of school IPM coordinators.
A note about in-person versus online IPM coordinator training: The great majority of participants prefer in-person to online training for a variety of reasons including networking, more time to share and discuss problems and solutions, group activities, and the in-person/hands-on IPM inspections and assessments which take up most of the afternoon. We know from research and experience that these methods are more effective at building and retention of knowledge and skills.
IPM for Sensitive Sites in the Built Environment
“Sensitive Sites” include places such as adult and child care facilities, multifamily housing, shelters, correctional facilities, city parks, and other public buildings and spaces where people live, work and play.
The OSU School IPM Program plans to expand its efforts to improve IPM implementation in these sites as well.
“Everybody knows something. Nobody knows everything. Although the individual may know little, the group as a whole knows a lot.” Anon