IPM Institute for North America’s Alina Freund takes a dive into school pest management strategies and introduces a new tool that will better our children’s lives.
Students spend a major part of each day in school– at least 25%
of the time they’re awake! An unhealthy school environment can have a profound effect on their health and well-being in the short- and long-term. To avoid unhealthy environments, the IPM Institute for North America helped create a free, self-guided Stop School Pests training package for K-12 staff involved in the environmental health of schools.
Developed by a team of IPM experts, this training will benefit any K-12 school district that wants to improve their school’s environmental health by reducing hazards from pests and pesticides in and outside the school building.
“Ensuring the health of students involves finding a balance in pest management efforts. This training packet will give staff the tools to effectively find that balance,” said Tom Green, President of the IPM Institute of North America and part of the team that developed the project over the last years.
Schools regularly face pest problems that affect their day-to-day operations, and emerging challenges such as Zika always require new approaches. Pests and chemical exposure threaten the health of our children the most, because of their developing bodies and habits. School districts respond to these threats and pressures on their students by improving the environmental health of their buildings and grounds that in turn achieves increases in scholastic achievement.
The nine modules of the training titled Stop School Pests offer individualized training for Facility Managers, Maintenance Staff, Administrative Staff, Teachers, Food Service Staff, Custodial Staff, Landscape and Grounds Staff, School Nurses, and Technicians/Pest Management Providers.
“I have been a school nurse for 25 years and I cannot believe
I learned so much helpful information in just one hour,” said Mary Griffin, School Nurse for the Apache Junction Unified School District after taking the training during its pilot testing.
Funding for the project came from the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Agriculture (NIFA) and University of Arizona – Arizona Pest Management Center.
To assure a wide swath of input to inform this one-of-a-kind project, parties included 20 academic institutions, 11 state agencies, three federal agencies, nine child health advocacy agencies, eight school districts, two tribes, and four industry partners.
“More than 50 subject matter experts were involved in creating the training. Their collective wisdom was vast and generously given,” said Dawn Gouge, a member of the core project team and trained school staff in the pilot testing phase.
Why IPM in schools?
IPM is a science-based approach to reducing risk and improving effectiveness in pest management. Because pests need food, water and shelter to thrive, the IPM approach employs common sense improvements to sanitation and building maintenance standards, all geared towards keeping pests from resources they need to survive and breed. IPM relies on a good understanding of pest biology and ecology in the school environment. IPM aims to prevent pests in the long-term, and utilizes the least-hazardous, most effective, sustainable and cost-effective methods to control infestations when they do occur.
To earn a certificate for taking the Stop School Pests training please contact Alina Freund