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Monroe County Community School Corporation Sucess Story

Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Integrated Pest Mangement Program

Pesticides are powerful tools for controlling pests. However, pesticides must be used carefully and judiciously—especially when used in sensitive areas where children are present. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides and can have greater exposure to pesticides through crawling, exploring, and other hand-to-mouth activities. Since children spend so much of their day at school, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools Program, a partnership program to reduce pesticide risk and exposure to children.

A school IPM program uses common-sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water, and shelter for pests in school buildings and on schools grounds. A successful IPM program takes advantage of all pest management strategies, including:

  • Prevention,
  • Inspection,
  • Communication,
  • Biological pesticide use (biopesticides), and
  • Judicious and careful use of pesticides – when necessary.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation’s IPM Program The Monroe County Community School Corporation’s (MCCSC) IPM program was developed in the mid-1990s when MCCSC, like most school districts, used scheduled, monthly pesticide sprayings to control the outbreak of pests. Even though the pesticides were applied well within the safety limits established by EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), there was a growing concern, because the immune systems and bodies of children are still developing. In 1994, Dr. Marc Lame of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (IU/SPEA), along with his Lilly Fellowship students, began a year-long study of the pest management practices in the MCCSC. Based on the results of this study, a year-long pilot IPM program was developed by the MCCSC, IU/SPEA, and Purdue University’s Cooperative Extension Entomology Department and implemented at three MCCSC elementary schools during the 1996-1997 school year. The pilot program required the cooperation of MCCSC, school administrators, custodial staff, faculty, and students, in conjunction with education and implementation through school assemblies, newsletters, and in-service training. The pilot program aimed to:

Effectively control pest populations,

  • Reduce the amount of pesticides used in schools or eliminate pesticide use,
  • Educate staff and students about pests and their behavior in schools, and
  • Demonstrate the IPM concept.

MCCSC’s pilot IPM program was based on four fundamentals to allow for the effective use and integration
of pest management:

  • Education,
  • Insect identification,
  • Population monitoring, and
  • Knowledge of the biology of both pests and beneficial insects.

MCCSC’s IPM program used a 22-step process, relying heavily on communication, partnership, and sound pest management as practiced by national experts. Some of the key factors of the IPM program included:

  • Scout well-managed school districts where the model can have the most success.
  • “Sweeten the pot” by offering custodial staff overtime and public recognition, allowing the word to get out to parents about IPM.
  • Monitor the situation frequently—at least on a monthly basis.
  • Help school administrators, parents, and staff through the implementation process.
  • Evaluate the IPM program, assessing the percentage of compliance, pesticides used, money spent, etc.
  • Reward school districts when they commit to and incorporate real IPM practices into their districts.

It’s A Success!

Based on the success of their pilot program, the MCCSC— using a $30,000 grant from EPA through the National Foundation of IPM Education in 1996, and a similar $30,000 grant in 1997—expanded its pilot program to the remaining schools within the district. The results were amazing! The MCCSC eliminated monthly applications of pesticides at all 18 facilities and reduced the amount of pesticides in the buildings by over 85 percent. Additionally, money saved from reduced pesticide use enabled MCCSC to hire a district-wide coordinator to oversee pest management in the schools. In addition to safeguarding their students’ health, MCCSC’s reduced pesticide use helps protect the environment by decreasing the likelihood that pesticides might inadvertently run-off into nearby rivers and streams.

The Monroe Model

Indiana’s MCCSC school district has successfully implemented a full IPM program in each of its 18 schools based on what is now known as the “Monroe Model”. With the IPM program in place, the MCCSC has seen a:

  • 90 percent reduction in the use of pesticides— including organophosphates (OPs) and
    synthetic pyrethroids,
  • 90 percent reduction in pests problems, and
  • 90 percent reduction in pest control costs.

The Monroe Model is Recognized

  • Indiana Governor’s Award for Excellence in Pollution Prevention (1997)
  • EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program’s (PESP) Excellence Award (1999)
  • Joint award from the Indiana Department of Environmental of Environmental Management, Indiana University’s School of Public Health and Environmental Affairs, and the Purdue School IPM Technical Resource Center (2001, 2002)
  • PESP Champion (2002, 2003, and 2004)
  • University of Arizona presented Monroe Model creators with a Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding IPM training, in recognition of their efforts to expand the Monroe Model to Arizona School systems (2004)
  • IPM STAR Certification by the IPM Institute of North America (2004)

MCCSC’s work has become a model not only for school districts in Indiana, but also for the Nation’s many schools and school districts that are adopting IPM programs. Since 2007, the success of the Monroe Model has positively impacted over 1 million children nationwide. The Monroe Model has helped promote education about IPM, pesticide application, and alternative pest control practices, and has promoted synergy among communities and various school districts throughout the Nation. School districts across the United States have successfully adopted the Monroe Model. For example, the Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School in Arizona adopted the Monroe Model to eradicate scorpions at their school.

For more information on IPM in Schools Program or the Monroe Model, please contact:

Sherry Glick
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Stewardship Branch
4220 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: (702) 784-8276
glick.sherry@epa.gov
or please visit:
www.epa.gov/pestwise/ipminschools
or
www.mccsc.edu/~mccscipm/

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