Tag Archives: Child Safe Playing Fields Act

Got Geese? – The Capital District Edition

Although beautiful in flight and valued as a symbol of the wild, Canada Geese frequenting school grounds, including athletic fields, are a growing concern.

Photo credit: Natalie Litz
Photo credit: Natalie Litz

Come and learn about goose biology and behavior, the legal framework for dealing with goose problems, alleviation techniques available to schools, and the long-term management of geese and goose problems.

Seminar fee of $15 to cover refreshments and lunch. To register, please contact by July 28, Patti Ogden (pogden@questar.org). For more information, contact Craig Hansen (Craig Hansen (CHansen@questar.org) or Lynn Braband (LAB45@cornell.edu).


August 4, 2015, 11:00 – 4:00


Questar III BOCES, 10 Empire State Blvd., Castleton-On-Hudson, NY  12033 – Directions


11:00 – 11:30    Registration

11:30 – 11:45    Introduction to the seminar – Lynn Braband, NYS IPM Program

11:45 – 12:00    Break for working lunch

12:00 – 1:15      Basic biology of Canada Geese (including human health concerns) & goose problem management (short-term & long-term) – Paul Curtis, Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources

1:15 – 2:00        Regulations associated with managing goose problems – Ken Preusser, USDA Wildlife Services

2:00 – 2:15        Break

2:15 – 3:00        Turf management and geese – Joellen Lampman, NYS IPM Program of Cornell University, and David Chinery, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer Co.

3:00 – 3:30        Sharing your experiences & concerns – Including goose dog demonstration

3:30 – 4:00        Wrap-up & Evaluation

What now? Using the Sports Field Management website for planning

“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” – Henry Rollins

And for those responsible for maintaining athletic fields, we move a lot! And, of course, we want that movement to be effective, efficient, and within budget. The Sports Field Management website has field management schedules to help determine which turf management practices are most important now.

The first step in using these schedules is to determine what resources are available. This handy chart can help determine whether you have high, medium, or minimal management fields.

Field Management Type ChartOnce you have determined what type of field you are managing, and what seasons sports are being played on it, you can download a Seasonal Field Management  Schedule. For example:Sports Field Management Schedule-Spring Medium

Schedules are available for Spring only, Fall only, Spring and Fall, and Year-Round sports. Use them to help in communicating needs, establishing budgets, and planning activities.


Survey Provides Insights into IPM within NYS Schools

A 2013 survey of the pest management policies and practices of New York State public schools was recently published on-line http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/school_survey/school_survey2013.pdf A partnership of the NYS IPM Program, the NYS Department of Health, the NYS Education Department, and the NYS School Facilities Association, the goals of the survey were to evaluate the status of IPM in public elementary and secondary schools, provide guidance on assisting schools in improving pest management, gauge changes since a 2001 survey, and ascertain the impacts of the state’s Neighbor Notification Law and the Child Safe Playing Field Act.

Highlights include a large increase in the number of school districts with written pest management policies, a low rate of issues associated with pesticide applications, and reductions in pesticide use. Prominent needs that exist concerning pest management in schools include the pervasive issue of food in classrooms and other non-cafeteria locations and the challenges associated with maintaining quality athletic fields in light of the Child Safe Playing Fields Act. The implications of the drop in certified pesticide applicators employed by schools needs to be assessed. Also, geese are increasing as a troublesome pest on school grounds

geeseCanada goose
Branta canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Photo by Paul Bolstad, University of Minnesota

Approximately 73% of the districts responding to the 2013 survey indicated that they had a written pest management policy, up from 45% in 2001. Official written policies provide a consistent framework for implementing safe and effective pest management. However, most school districts did not have a policy concerning food outside of cafeterias. This is a frequent attractant for pests as ants and mice.

The percentage of school districts that employed staff certified as pesticide applicators dropped from 50% in 2001 to 34% in 2013. Most districts did not have regularly scheduled pesticide applications. However, the rate of those that did, around 23%, changed little from 2001 to 2013.

The most frequent and troublesome pests in NYS schools in both surveys were ants, stinging insects, mice, and weeds. The only pest situation that significantly increased was geese, from 14% of the districts in 2001 to 25% in 2013.

In 2013, we asked schools about their use of minimum risk pesticides, as products with boric acid or plant essential oils. Fourteen percent of the districts indicated that they used these products routinely, while 62% stated that minimum risk pesticides are used infrequently. Future trends in the use of such products by schools would be informative.

Most NYS school districts received complaints about pests within three years prior to 2013. Not over two per cent had received complaints about pesticide applications during the same period.

10067900006_74026205a5_k Carpenter Ants foraging

Almost 90% of the survey respondents indicated that they had not experienced any problems implementing the Neighbor Notification Law, and almost 50% stated that the law resulted in a significant reduction in pesticide use by their school districts. Almost 60% indicated little impact of the Child Safe Playing Field Act since they had already implemented pesticide alternatives. About 22% stated a major impact and anticipated difficulty in maintaining quality of the grounds. Another 20% indicated moderate changes to their practices and that they were looking into pesticide alternatives. Over 60% of the survey respondents indicated that the Child Safe Playing Field Act had caused a reduction in pesticide use by their school districts.

IPM for School Grounds Workshop – April 21, 2015

Join the NYS IPM Program of Cornell University and Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES for a seminar on implementing integrated pest management on school grounds. Emphases will include managing quality athletic fields in light of the Child Safe Playing Field Act, developing school IPM policies, and pest situations such as weeds, grubs, stinging insects, and geese.

Lynn Braband talking geese at a school grounds workshop.
Lynn Braband talking geese at a school grounds workshop.

There is no fee for the workshop, but pre-registration is requested. Contact Kelly Wasson of Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES at kwasson@wflboces.org or 315-597-3469.


Canandaigua CSD Operations Center, 5500 Airport Rd., Canandaigua, NY 14424


7:30 – 8:00            Registration

8:00 – 8:45            Developing School IPM Policies – Lynn Braband, NYS IPM Program

8:45 – 9:30            Regulatory Update – Kelly Wasson, Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES

9:30 -9:45             Break

9:45 -11:15          Managing Your Athletic Fields & School Grounds in Light of the Child Safe Playing Field – Jennifer Grant, NYS IPM Program

11:15 – 12:00       Managing Stinging Insects & Geese on School Grounds – Lynn Braband, NYS IPM Program

Snow, Frost a Big Help for Head Start on Quality Turf

Want a two or three week head start on getting your athletic fields ready for spring? Consider a proven IPM practice: dormant overseeding.

Yes, right now those artic blasts might still be leaving us chilled. But winter weather has its advantages: snowmelt and freeze-thaw cycles can aid in both pushing and pulling seeds into the ground, maximizing seed-to-soil contact.

Freeze-thaw cycles can affect soil dramatically, opening crevices and ridges that seed can slip into and will later collapse, maximizing seed-to-soil contact. Photo Credit: Joellen Lampman

Freeze-thaw cycles can affect soil dramatically, opening crevices and ridges that seed can slip into and will later collapse, maximizing seed-to-soil contact. Photo Credit: Joellen Lampman

Meanwhile, spring is just around the corner — meaning it’s time to be on the lookout for weather conditions that allow you to apply grass seed.  So secure your seed and calibrate your spreaders.

What conditions are you looking for? Choose a time when:

  • there’s no snow cover
  • nighttime temperatures are predicted to dip below freezing and …
  • days warm to above freezing.

Ideally the forecast will also call for snow — snow that will push the seed into the ground while also protecting the seed from marauding birds. When that snow melts and is absorbed into the soil, it also helps pull your seed down through the crowns of existing plants, further increasing seed-to-soil contact.

Frost heaving is more extreme on bare soil. Note that the effect of frost heaving is reduced on the area covered by grass. Photo Credit: Michal Maňas

Frost heaving is more extreme on bare soil. Note that the effect of frost heaving is reduced on the area covered by grass. Photo Credit: Michal Maňas

Choose which seed to apply by your expectations for each field. Will your athletes be on the field in early spring? Then apply the quickly germinating perennial rye at a rate of 6 lbs./1000 ft2. If you have fields that won’t be used until June or July, apply Kentucky bluegrass at a rate of 3 to 4 lbs./1000 ft2. There will be some loss due to seed mortality, so these rates are 50% above conventional rates. If your budget is low, you can reduce costs by only overseeding on bare soil.

Your IPM benefits? Dormant seeding allows you to avoid cultivating the turf when the soil is too soft and wet to work. It saves fuel and equipment costs, too. And getting this turf management practice out of the way early means you’re better set up for the busy field season. Best of all, the seeds you apply in winter can germinate two to three week earlier than those applied during a conventional spring seeding — and your grass will be better able to face the onslaught of spring weeds and athletic cleats.

Want more info on maintaining athletic fields? Seek no further: Sports Field Management.