OSU’s School IPM program helps schools reduce pesticide use

Tim Stock, OSU School Integrated Pest Management Program Coordinator, leading a pest training class for school based IPM coordinators.

By Heidi Happonen

T

he School IPM Program at Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences Extension works with schools and school districts across the state to ensure a safe environment for Oregon’s school children. Led by Tim Stock, Oregon is one of only a handful of states that has a legal responsibility to maintain integrated pest management solutions for school properties. Activities of the Program include annual IPM coordinator training for the management of pests, model IPM plans, the development of resource materials, and other special projects and initiatives.

According to a story written for Our Impact:

“As of summer 2021, Extension had provided IPM training to coordinators in 100 percent of Oregon’s 197 school districts – covering more than 1,200 individual schools and over 580,000 students—and all of the state’s 17 community colleges.”

According to Stock, we have one of the most robust school IPM programs in the country.

“We do an enormous amount of work, conducting hands-on training at public, private, Head Start and other schools around the state, creating materials, providing one-on-one pest management consultations — and we also get support from the turf management program, collaborating on training, journal articles and extension publications,” Stock added.

While the pandemic made some of their programming difficult to execute as they pivoted to online learning, 100% of those who attended said that they learned at least one new IPM strategy. Since implementing the program, 60% of school districts have reduced their pesticide use. And according to the chief operating officer of one Oregon district,

“We were using barrels of pesticides. Now we are using ounces.”

The training and content that the OSU School IPM Program provides school leaders is credited for most of that success. With resources available on its website as well as through expansive training programs, Stock leads a one-man-show in IPM that has impacted nearly every school in the state.

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