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"One of our major program areas is the toxic-free schools project," said Billie Karel, program coordinator for the project. "We advocate for alternatives to pesticides in North Carolina."
The school district joins others in North Carolina including Durham, Wake County, Forsyth County and Elizabeth City in adopting the prevention-based approach. The Pesticide Education Project is also working with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Karel told the Herarld.
During a meeting this spring, ARC and others presented a petition to the Orange County school board with 50 signatures of community members wanting safer pesticide use. "There are parents who really want their schools to be less toxic," Karel said. "Our goal has been to empower those parents' groups and teachers' groups to build a campaign."
An ARC survey shows that IPM could save money while also reducing chemical exposure to children within the schools. According to the survey, North Carolinian school districts spend $1.77 per student per year on pest control, which can be reduced to $1.49 per student per year with the use of IPM methods.
In Orange County, advocates have worked with Frank Meadows, the district's safety coordinator. Advocates from the project generally hook up with interested parents during informational sessions at local schools, libraries and information fairs, Karel said.
For more details on the plan, contact Agricultural Resources Center.
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. For more information, see Beyond Pesticides' Children and Schools issue pages.