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Daily News Archive

California Safe Schools Educational Posters Fight West Nile
(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2004)
Imagination can make kids laugh, but it can also save their lives. That's why the California Safe Schools Coalition partnered with internationally celebrated artist Michael Bruza with a launch of an innovative children's safety poster campaign, aimed at reducing pests without the use of pesticides.

The enormous initial success of Mr. Bruza's poster projects for California Safe Schools focuses on preventing pests through school cleanliness, and actions children can take to protect themselves from West Nile Virus. To date CSS has distributed over 120,000 posters to schools and communities throughout California.

"I've always had an interest in creatively delivering kids' content, programming and educational materials. Partnering with CSS gives me the opportunity to directly impact and improve the well-being of thousands of kids. That means a great deal to me."

California Safe Schools is a parent driven nonprofit environmental coalition of more than fifty organizations located in Southern California committed to the health and safety of children, teachers, staff and community members who reside near school sites. California Safe Schools is nationally recognized for creating the most stringent pesticide policy for schools in the United States. This Integrated Pest Management Policy (IPM) was the first in the USA to embrace the "precautionary principle," and includes a Parents Right to Know about pesticides used in their children's schools. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses least-toxic methods to eradicate pests. This IPM policy has become the model for school districts and communities throughout the country. (To read more about this and other successful school IPM policies, check out Safer Schools: Achieving a Healthy Learning Environment Through Integrated Pest Management.)

"California Safe Schools is fortunate to have such a seasoned, multi-faceted artist as an ally. Michael's understanding of children's health, and overall environmental issues enables him to create strong messages with exceptionally brilliant illustrations. As a result our organization has been able to effectively increase outreach, and prevent illness resulting from chemical exposure linked to pesticides," said Robina Suwol, Executive Director of California Safe Schools.

Brandon Baker, Van Nuys Magnet High School student added, "Mr. Bruza's art speaks a language that appeals to kids and adults equally. He is a true original!"

"We are proud of our record of cooperative activism," stated Ashley D. Posner, Esq., California Safe Schools' Chairman and parent of two children in the Los Angeles Unified School District. "We have worked hard to bring diverse parties together in our mutual interest of caring for our children and their school environment. We appreciate the efforts of all of the school administrators, teachers, parents, kids and professionals who have put aside traditional politics and positions. Our success is shared with our entire community. We especially are grateful to Mr. Bruza for his creativity and generosity. His work is a spectacular assistant in promoting our message across our community."

To view posters and further information, see http://www.calisafe.org or contact California Safe Schools at 818-785-5515 or schoolipm@earthlink.net.

TAKE ACTION: If your school already has an IPM program in place or other laws regarding pesticide use or right-to-know, find out if they are complying. Work with your school to see what is being done and what still needs to get done. Or, if your school does not already have a program in place, contact Beyond Pesticides to learn how to get your school to adopt an IPM program by:

(1) Identifying the school's pest management policy;
(2) Educating yourself and evaluating the program;
(3) Organizing the school community;
(4) Working with school decision-makers; and,
(5) Becoming a watchdog and establishing an IPM Committee