Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy reminder and survey request

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 3
POLICY CODE: ECC

This is a joint letter from Stephen Bowen, Commissioner, Maine Department of Education and Walter Whitcomb, Commissioner, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Maine schools are committed to keeping buildings and grounds clean and well-maintained to foster learning and safeguard the health and safety of our students and staff. Managing pests including insects, rodents, birds, weeds and plant diseases is an essential part of operating a successful school unit. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a proven approach that can reduce leading causes of childhood asthma and asthma triggers associated with cockroaches, rodents and dust mites. It can also reduce overall pest complaints by 78 to 90 percent, with no long-term increase in costs. IPM practices include sound preventive maintenance, high sanitation standards, staff education, pest monitoring and identification, and record keeping. All public and private K-12 schools in Maine are required by law to adopt and implement an IPM policy, notify parents, guardians and staff about pesticide use and appoint an IPM coordinator.

We are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the IPM Institute of North America, and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to assess the current status and school district needs across Maine. To help us be most effective in meeting your needs, please participate in the online survey, which will take about 15 minutes for your district IPM coordinator or facilities director to complete. The survey is online at:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/701633/IPM-District-Survey and administered by by the national school IPM steering committee and the IPM Institute of North America.

Your time and effort are greatly appreciated. To help schools learn about IPM, each school district completing the survey will receive a copy of the 70-page Pocket Guide for Pest Identification. For more Maine school IPM resources and information, visit www.thinkfirstspraylast.org/schoolipm.

Funding for this survey is provided by an EPA grant awarded to the IPM Institute of North America, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting IPM in schools, communities and farms. Results of this survey are confidential.  Names of individual school districts and employees will not be disclosed in any publications, presentations or press releases associated with survey findings.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Kathy Murray at kathy.murray@maine.gov or 207-287-7616, Zach Bruns at zbruns@ipminstitute.org or 608- 232-1410, or Pat Hinckley at pat.hinckley@maine.gov or 207-624-6886.

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