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Daily News Archive
From April 3, 2002

Vancouver Schools Adopt IPM and Prior Notification Policy

After a year of negotiations, the Vancouver school board approved a policy to limit the use of toxic pesticides on school grounds, reports The Columbian. The districts new policy requires schools adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) for the schools that only allows pesticides to be used after mechanical and other non-toxic methods have been exhausted. If toxic pesticides are used, the school will send home letters notifying parents of the proposed application. Under an existing state law, signs are required to be posted at least 48 hours in advance of the application.

Elizabeth Koch, mother of two and a landscape architect, spearheaded the discussions with the Vancouver School District after arming herself with piles of research on toxic pesticides and their alternatives.

George Bryant, maintenance manager with the Vancouver School District, told The Columbian, "We recognize that we have to protect the environment, but there are certain aesthetic standards that the general population expects. And we had to meet both of those expectations without using toxic chemicals."

Other school districts that have similar policies include Camas, Evergreen and Ridgefield. Evergreen's facility director stated that they have successfully minimized the use of toxic pesticides due to environmental and safety reasons as well.

IPM is a pest management program of prevention, monitoring and control which offers the opportunity to eliminate or drastically reduce pesticides in schools. Beyond Pesticides produced the Building Blocks for School IPM: A Least-toxic Structural Pest Management Manual which provides comprehensive information on implementing school IPM, including a practical guide to identifying, preventing and controlling common school pest problems. For a copy or for more information about IPM for school grounds contact Kagan Owens, Beyond Pesticides' program director at kowens@beyondpesticides.org or see www.beyondpesticides.org.