Wednesday, June 8, 2011

School Grounds Best Management Practices Workshop set for July 7

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Children are more sensitive to potential negative effects of chemicals in their environment. Thus, reducing the use of pesticides in and around schools is attracting attention of parents, school facilities managers, administrators and lawmakers. Several states have passed laws mandating pest management techniques that reduce or eliminate the need for insecticides and herbicides in schools. In Pennsylvania, public schools are legally bound to practice “Integrated Pest Management” or IPM. IPM is an approach to pest management that uses knowledge of pests’ biology and multiple control tactics to improve success while reducing reliance on pesticides.

So, how can school grounds managers reduce the need for chemicals while maintaining excellent “greenscapes” around their schools? Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania IPM Program are offering a special full-day workshop on this topic July 7 at O’Hara Elementary School, 115 Cabin Lane, in Pittsburgh from 8:30-3PM.

The workshop entitled “Lean & Green: Best Practices for School Grounds” will focus on keeping school grounds both safe and attractive in the lean years—using an IPM approach and few or no pesticides. It will give attendees a practical perspective on cost-effective and environmentally friendly methods in these challenging times. The workshop will include outdoor demonstrations of practices, walking discussions and presentations by experienced educators. Participants will see comparison plots showing the effects of different practices on lawn health and weed suppression.

Who should attend: Those with responsibility for grounds maintenance including public and private schools staff, commercial landscape contractors, cooperative extension educators, and parks & recreation staff.

Speakers: Cornell University turf IPM expert, Jennifer Grant will discuss prioritizing and selecting best management practices for turf maintenance. Dr. Grant has many years of experience working with turf and grounds managers. Some golf course managers working with Grant were able to reduce their fertilizer and pesticide inputs by 90 percent. Dr. Grant will also lead a discussion on how grounds managers can communicate their program to administrators, school boards, parents and staff. Jeff Fowler, Venango Co, Cooperative Extension agent, will lead a field walk to show demonstrations of side-by-side comparisons of practices and discussions of challenges and opportunities. Sandy Feather, Allegheny Co. Cooperative Extension agent will speak and demonstrate IPM techniques for ornamentals on school grounds.

Lunch is provided during the workshop. In addition, participants will receive a number of valuable informational resources. Pesticide credits will be provided in Categories 6,7,18, 23 and “private”. Registration is $20 and is required for attendance. Attendance is limited to 50 participants, first come, first-served. To register on-line, go to

For more information contact Sandy Feather, (412) 473-2540 .
The workshop is sponsored by the IPM Institute of North America and USEPA; USDA Northeastern IPM in Schools Work Group, Cornell University IPM Program, Penn State PA IPM Program and Cooperative Extension.

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