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Texas School District Recognized for Excellence in Pest Control

The average parent may not give much thought to what dangerous insect,
rodent or poisonous plant might be lurking on their child's school grounds
this fall.  But at La Vega ISD, a small school district north of Waco,
Texas, school maintenance staff thinks about it a lot.

La Vega ISD is the first recipient of the new "IPM Pride Award" given by
the Southwest Technical Resource Center for IPM in Schools.  Integrated pest
management, or IPM, is widely recognized as the most effective and safest
way to control pest problems around schools, homes and businesses.

"Pest problems occur at schools, just like around homes," says Janet
Hurley, coordinator of the Center, which is located at the Texas A&M
University Research and Extension Center in Dallas.  "La Vega ISD did the
best job of anyone we know this year controlling pests safely and

"Schools who use IPM are committed not only to the best pest control
program, but also to reducing the amount and hazard associated with
pesticide applications," said Hurley.  "Pest control is a part of school
maintenance that doesn't receive much attention.  We want parents to know
how good a job their schools are doing in this important task."

"La Vega showed the most organized and efficient IPM system out of all the
nominees," she adds.  Becky Thomas, La Vega Safety & Environmental
Compliance Specialist, credits a team approach and an organized system for
their success. Her system includes a sophisticated record-keeping system for
monitoring pest activity, facility repair needs, inspection results and
pesticide applications for each campus. Thomas also has an email account set
up for each school, so problems can be addressed as soon as they are

The team work Thomas refers to comes, in large part, from her certified
applicator Glen Kroll. "It's great to have someone working with me who knows
IPM as well as, if not better than I do," says Thomas. "He sees things that
we can address before they ever become problems," she adds.

When the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District department came to
investigate a pest problem at one of the middle schools, the inspector
reported La Vega's IPM system to be the "best, most proactive program" she
had seen. In addition to the recognition, Thomas is now receiving calls from
other schools, asking for advice on their IPM programs.
The IPM Pride Award is more than just a pat on the back.  The winning
maintenance department receives a cash prize of $1,000.  According to
Thomas, her department will put the award to good use by purchasing more IPM

The second place winner, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, located in
Carrollton, Texas and consisting of 54 buildings, received a cash prize of
$500. Irving, Katy, Pilot Point and Rogers school districts received
honorable mentions for their IPM efforts.

Integrated pest management is pest control method of choice according to
literature published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  It
is also a key component in the EPA "Tools for Schools" indoor air quality
program.  The Center was established in 2001, with help from EPA, to promote
awareness of IPM and provide technical support to schools and childcare
facilities in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

According to Hurley, the IPM Pride Awards will be given by the Center
annually to Texas school districts with the best IPM programs.  To learn
more about the award program and School IPM, visit the Center's website at

For more information, contact:
Angela Bendorf Jamison, Communicopia, 919-719-2081


Janet A. Hurley
School IPM Program Coordinator (SWTRC)
Southwest Technical Resource Center for IPM in Schools & Child Care Facilities
Texas Cooperative Extension
Texas A & M University System
17360 Coit Road
Dallas, TX 75252
Toll Free 877-747-6872
Fax: 972-952-9632

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Related Pages:

IPM Standards for Schools:  A Program for Reducing Pest and Pesticide Risks in Schools and Other Sensitive Environments

Introduction and information to calculating a score on the IPM Institute's IPM Standards for Schools

Links and resources for school IPM including curricula ideas, pesticide risk information, IPM planning and other resources

Headlines on School IPM

Bibliography for school buildings including pest-specific links and resources

Bibliography for school landscapes and grounds

IPM for School Landscapes & Grounds

IPM Standards for School Buildings


"LAUSD Parents Gain Right to Know of Toxic Exposure"

"Questions About School IPM Now Answered Online" 

"What you can do about spraying pesticides near schools"

"State Program Helps Schools Tackle Pesticide Issues"

"DPR upgrades school IPM on the Web"


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Last modified: July 27, 2009
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