Still Time to Register for School Grounds Best Management Practices Workshop

Posted: June 29, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – There is still time to register for a workshop on school grounds best management practices using cost-effective and environmentally friendly methods being held by Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania IPM Program in Pittsburgh July 7.

According to Lyn Garling, PA IPM manager of programs, children are more sensitive to potential negative effects of chemicals in their environment. “Several states have passed laws mandating pest management techniques that reduce or eliminate the need for insecticides and herbicides in schools,” Garling explains. “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.”

The workshop, “Lean & Green: Best Practices for School Grounds”, is being held at the O’Hara Elementary School, 115 Cabin Lane in Pittsburgh on July 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will focus on keeping school grounds both safe and attractive in the lean years by using an IPM approach with few or no pesticides. “Grounds managers are being challenged to control pests while keeping students safe and costs contained. The workshop will give them a practical perspective on cost-effective and environmentally friendly methods to manage pests,” says Dr. Jennifer Grant, assistant director of the New York State IPM Program and a workshop presenter.

The workshop will also 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. Participants should include those with responsibility for grounds maintenance including public and private schools staff, commercial landscape contractors, cooperative extension educators, and parks & recreation staff.

Speakers include Grant, who will discuss prioritizing and selecting best management practices for turf maintenance. She will also lead a discussion on how grounds managers can communicate their program to administrators, school boards, parents and staff. Another presenter, Jeff Fowler, cooperative extension agent in Venango County, will lead a field walk to show demonstrations of side-by-side comparisons of practices and discussions of challenges and opportunities. Sandy Feather, cooperative extension agent in Allegheny County, will speak on and demonstrate IPM techniques for ornamentals on school grounds.

Registration for the workshop is $20 and includes lunch and a number of valuable informational resources. Pesticide credits will be provided in Categories 6,7,18, 23 and “private”. Attendance is limited to 50 participants on a first come basis. To register, go to For more information on the workshop, contact Sandy Feather at (412) 473-2540.
The workshop is sponsored by the IPM Institute of North America and USEPA, USDA Northeastern IPM in Schools Work Group, New York IPM Program at Cornell University, Pennsylvania IPM Program at Penn State, and Penn State Cooperative Extension.

The Pennsylvania IPM Program is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture aimed at promoting integrated pest management in both agricultural and urban settings. For more information, contact the program at (814) 865-2839, or Web site