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Monroe-Woodbury Public Schools Awarded IPM STAR Certification

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2006
Contact: Lynn Braband; 585 461 1000, ext. 241; lab45@cornell.edu

by Mary Woodsen

Monroe-Woodbury Public Schools Awarded IPM STAR Certification

The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, with 7,500 students, is the 20th school district in the nation to receive the IPM STAR award. “The district has put a good deal of effort into meeting and documenting the standards that this award represents,” says Lynn Braband, an educator with Cornell University’s New York State IPM Program, who helped the school work through the audit process. Braband notes that prevention, a core tenet of IPM, helps schools avoid most pest problems, even in crowded, intensively used buildings and grounds.

Monroe-Woodbury’s head groundskeeper, Gina Gatto, avoids herbicide use along fence lines by naturalizing those areas—letting them grow up in meadow plants or vines. Playfields pose a tougher problem.

“We have thousands of people using the fields week in and out, all year long,” says Gatto, noting that the soil compaction that results from heavy foot traffic favors weeds. To minimize herbicide use, Gatto relocates goalposts and bleachers on 20-plus athletic fields each year to move play away from previously pounded center areas. Aerating, topdressing, and setting mower blades high also help turf recover and resist weeds.

Monroe-Woodbury, Braband says, “already had an IPM mindset” when it began the certification process. “Even so, the school building maintenance and grounds units worked hard as a team to earn the IPM STAR award, achieving very high scores in the process,” Braband says.

The award will be presented on September 13, 2006 before a full meeting of the Monroe-Woodbury school board. The nonprofit IPM Institute of North America, based in Madison, Wisconsin, works to increase IPM adoption in agriculture and communities. The Institute awards the IPM STAR designation in partnership with the US EPA Pesticide Environmenal Stewardship Program.