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“Desire to Make a Difference” Earns Excellence in IPM Award for Pest Management Educator

by Mary Woodsen

Ron Gardner

GENEVA, NY, February 17, 2014: Protecting human health and the environment are Ron Gardner’s passions. For decades, through his work with Cornell University’s Pesticide Management Education Program, Gardner has been at the heart of scores of invisible webs — networks of people statewide and throughout the Northeast who deal with the nitty-gritty of coping with pests in demanding contexts.

Now for his clarity and patience, commitment and generosity — and for his dedication to the core principles of integrated pest management, or IPM — Gardner has received an Excellence in IPM award from the New York State IPM Program. IPM promotes thoughtful pest management practices that put prevention first and strive to reduce or eliminate pesticide use. Gardner received his award on February 4, 2014 at the daylong Food Processing Sanitation and Pest Management Recertification Workshop in Rochester, NY.

For professionals charged with keeping food processing plants safe, Gardner organizes an annual workshop that provides pest management personnel with the latest technical information they need to improve their IPM practices in food facilities. These training sessions, says RK Pest Management Services’s Richard Kammerling, have been immensely beneficial to the industry. “Ron’s passion for teaching, love of learning, and desire to make a difference are second to none,” says Kammerling.

When New York State IPM’s Abby Seaman wanted to deliver online IPM training materials for vegetable growers and producers, she turned to Gardner. Seaman had no idea how demanding it would be to create and maintain course interfaces that would satisfy the requirements for New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s pesticide applicator recertification.

“Ron did know, and I’m grateful he agreed to work with me anyway,” Seaman says. “Without the infrastructure he maintains, not to mention his passion for stewardship and education, it could never have happened.”

Others at Cornell have seen the potential in this educational approach and created additional courses. These courses are now available in New York and nine other Northeastern states.

“Ron Gardner has chosen to make IPM a fundamental component of his long and successful career in pesticide education,” says Jennifer Grant, director of the New York State IPM Program. “His integration of pesticide management and safety with the core principles of IPM are exemplary.”

Learn more about IPM at nysipm.cornell.edu and access the online courses at coursem.cce.cornell.edu. Learn more about pesticide stewardship at pesticidestewardship.org

Contact: Abby Seaman | 315 787 2422 | ajs32@cornell.edu

Photos available on request