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NYS IPM 2003
Excellence-in-IPM Award Winners:
Karen Dean Hall

Hall, an educator in commercial horticulture with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County, works with greenhouse growers all over western New York. One day she may consult with a commercial grower who’s having trouble with thrips -- tiny bugs that transmit plant diseases -- on several greenhouses full of impatiens. Another day, she might be looking at the root rot that threatens thousands of poinsettia plants.

With each consultation, Hall is teaching methods that stress integrated, least-toxic ways of managing pests. But at the same time she’s learning -- observing how a method that works well in one situation may not in another, and what might account for the difference. And sometimes her clients are her research partners, helping test different ways of dealing with pests in a real-world, profit-driven setting.

Hall has been a driving force behind developing “best management practices.” These “BMPs” guide growers in adopting the latest techniques for keeping pesticides out of soil and ground water.

“She’s bold with her growers,” says Jana Lamboy, ornamentals coordinator for the New York State IPM Program. “She’s a strong leader, a tough cookie, and they love her.”

Lately, Hall has researched products and techniques ranging from organically certified herbicides (to see how they perform for cut flower growers) to using microbials (microscopic organisms) to combat poinsettia root rot and leaf diseases on zinnia leaves. She has also begun demonstration projects that get nursery growers on board with IPM.

Hall grew up on a fresh-market vegetable farm that, by the time she was in high school, had morphed into an ornamentals greenhouse. While a horticulture student in college, she worked summers as an IPM scout, searching for pests in vineyards and golf courses in western New York.

The “Excellence in IPM Award” recognizes outstanding efforts of people who encourage the practice of IPM -- dealing with insects, weeds, and diseases in ways that pose minimal economic, environmental, and human health risks. Hall received her award on January 7 at a meeting of the Bedding Plant School in Amherst, New York.

written by by Mary Woodsen