CORVALLIS, Ore. – Survey results show that the vast majority of Oregon’s school districts have implemented key integrated pest management practices, including reduced pesticide use, through training provided by Oregon State University.
An OSU Extension Service survey was conducted in 2016 at school integrated pest management training sessions hosted by the OSU Extension across the state. An analysis of the results was published recently in the Journal of Extension.
Tim Stock, coordinator of the OSU School IPM Program and lead author of the article, said the results indicate OSU’s approach could serve as a reference for Extension specialists in developing integrated pest management school programs in other states. Integrated pest management is a process to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment.
“We developed a training program that included on-site hands-on learning activities, continued assessment of stakeholder needs and providing trainees with resource materials,” Stock said. “We believe these combined elements encouraged increased adoption of key IPM practices.”
In 2009, with the protection of the health and safety of students in mind, the Oregon Legislature passed a law that required all Oregon schools – primarily public and private elementary through high schools – to begin implementing integrated pest management (IPM) strategies.
The law requires that schools develop and implement an IPM plan, designate an IPM coordinator, provide annual IPM training for the coordinator and periodic training for school employees, and use a state-accepted list of low-impact pesticides inside schools and on school grounds.
In 2011, the OSU School IPM Program team developed a training and began providing it annually to school IPM coordinators. Because the training is conducted at schools, trainers can employ experiential, hands-on learning activities and lead school-specific pest inspections. Topics for the annual training are based on survey results and include indoor and outdoor rodent and insect management as well as hardscape, landscape, and turfgrass weed management.
Through last summer, the program had provided IPM training to coordinators in all of Oregon’s 197 school districts, covering more than 1,200 individual schools.
The 2016 survey of 317 training attendees showed that 240 respondents who had attended previous training reported that their schools were implementing key IPM practices and/or using OSU materials as a result of the OSU training program.
The most common practice being implemented in their schools (82.5 percent) was sealing holes to keep pests out. The majority of school employees returning for training reported a reduction in pesticide use inside and outside schools. And 65.4 percent reported they consulted and used low-impact pesticides from a list prepared by OSU.
Among new attendees, 58 of the 77 respondents said they were implementing key IPM practices and/or using OSU materials as a result of the training program. The most common IPM practice being implemented in their schools was keeping records of pest complaints and pest management actions.
Stock is a senior instructor in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences. Co-authors of the article included Alec Kowalewski, an associate professor and turf specialist in the College of Agricultural Sciences; Micah Gould, a former graduate student; and Paul Jepson, former director of OSU’s Integrated Plant Protection Center.
Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
About the OSU Extension Service: The Oregon State University Extension Service shares research-based knowledge with people and communities in Oregon’s 36 counties. OSU Extension addresses issues that matter to urban and rural Oregonians. OSU Extension’s partnerships and programs contribute to a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future for Oregon.