February 26, 2004
Kyrene School District today was certified under the IPM STAR™ program by the IPM Institute of North America. This certificate is in recognition of Kyrene’s industry-leading school pest management program. Kyrene is the third district in the country, after New York City and Newton, Massachusetts, to achieve this recognition.
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a system for managing pests using effective least-risk measures, including improved sanitation and “pest proofing” school buildings to keep rodents, cockroaches, ants and other pests out.
In accepting this award, Stan Peterson, Director of Facilities for Kyrene, stated, “By implementing IPM, our pest problems and our pesticide use have gone way down. Now we can say not only are we an IPM school, but we’re one of the first in the country to be recognized by this certification program,” says Peterson. “Kyrene is proud and honored to have received such a prestigious designation from by the IPM Institute of North America.”
Roy Morris, Facilities Supervisor, is charged with day-to-day management of the program. “My job includes showing our staff what to do, putting food and other edible items in containers with tight fitting lids, showing custodians how they can vacuum up ants and spiders that wander in where they don’t belong,” reports Morris. "Kyrene is committed to providing an optimal learning environment for its students and teachers, and IPM has made our schools and childcare facilities a safer place to be."
IPM STAR certification is a rigorous process that includes an on-site evaluation by a trained independent professional. The evaluator examines the history of pest problems, the condition of buildings and grounds as well as any pesticides used in the past three years. The school must have an IPM policy and plan in place to guide administrators and staff as they respond to pest issues, and including preventing problems before they occur. The certification was developed in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program
The certification process was conducted by Dr. Dawn Gouge, urban entomologist at the University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center and Dr. Thomas Green, president of the IPM Institute of North America, an IPM research and education non-profit based in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We’re very pleased that the Kyrene School District has undertaken this certification process, both to improve their IPM program and to increase the visibility of IPM as a great alternative for anyone who has to deal with pest problems,” states Green. “We also thank the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Foundation for IPM Education, which were instrumental in funding the development of both Kyrene’s IPM program and our first-of-its-kind IPM certification program for schools and childcare facilities.”
“Integrated Pest Management is simply common sense,” reports Green. “Problems are prevented by learning about pest biology and behavior and using that information to correct conditions that encourage diseases, insects, weeds or wildlife where they don’t belong.”
An initial pilot IPM program implemented in 2000 at three of Kyrene’s schools was a tremendous success, resulting in an 85% reduction in pest problems and a 90% reduction in pesticide use. The pilot was conducted in three schools under the direction of a multi-disciplinary team including Kyrene maintenance and administrative staff; John Carter and Jerry Jochim of Monroe County Community Schools Corporation, Monroe County, Indiana; consultants Mike Lindsey and Bobby Corrigan; Marc Lame of Indiana University; Dawn Gouge and Kirk Smith of the University of Arizona; Mary Grisier of US EPA Region 9; and Carl Martin of the Arizona Structural Pest Control Board. An economic analysis of the pilot, detailing all costs related to pest management and prepared by Peterson and Carter, continues to be cited as solid evidence that IPM need not cost more than programs that use regular pesticide treatments on a calendar schedule.”
“This program has been a learning process for all of us,” says Gouge. “Kyrene’s staff came on board with very open minds. We learned an awful lot from them about how to transfer our IPM technology to the school environment. Some of the things we were asking for initially were not realistic, and our partnership allowed us to find a better way. I think we were able to alter their perceptions about pests in the process. After all, most insects are very beneficial – there are only a very few that have potential to cause problems.”
Green stresses that IPM is a perfect fit for any well-run school system. “IPM meshes well with other important goals that school maintenance and administration professionals are already focused on, such as energy conservation, food safety and security. Repairing window screens and vent filters, keeping food serving and storage areas clean, and closing doors and dumpster lids can go a long way to reducing the need for pesticides. When pesticide applications are called for, least-risk options, such as low toxicity baits, can be applied in small amounts to areas out of reach of children. There is absolutely no need to apply pesticides to exposed surfaces in schools with the techniques we have available to us today.”
According to Green, “The IPM STAR certification process is an opportunity to ensure the ongoing success of Kyrene’s IPM program, with the schools submitting their performance to an independent review every three years to keep the program state of the art. We hope that Kyrene’s experience will encourage other school systems to explore certification as an avenue to ensure ongoing IPM excellence.”
For additional information:
Dawn H. Gouge, Urban Entomologist, University of Arizona, Maricopa Agricultural Center, 37860 W. Smith-Enke Road, Maricopa AZ 85239. 520 568-2273 x223, Fax 520 568-2556,
Thomas Green, President, IPM Institute of North America, 1914 Rowley Ave., Madison WI 53726, 608 232-1528, Fax 608 232-1530,
Johnny Cruz, Communications Supervisor, Kyrene School District, 8700 S. Kyrene Rd.,
Tempe, AZ 85284, 480-783-4174, Email.