Tag Archives: EPA

Take Advantage of Training Webinars

WEBINARS have become a new, and favored, way of attending workshops and seminars–from your desk chair. For those of us who (unfortunately) spend a good part of our work day at a desk, it has been an easy transition.

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The EPA, many universities, and large funded research groups like the Northeast IPM Center offer excellent online free webinars ( workshops, presentations, seminars–call them what you’d like).  We watched an excellent presentation on bedbugs last fall that was ‘attended’ online by hundreds of people around the country.  Often, these presentations are archived as a research for new viewers.

While some employees in a school district or BOCES have the option to watch online, others do not. We’d like to see this valuable resource become a normal part of training for custodians and groundskeepers; many other presentations are suitable for all staff.  The investment of a half hour online training is invaluable. Imagine if that same employee had to take the day away to drive to a seminar and sit to learn the same information. Okay- so you’d all miss the coffee and donuts, but not the early morning drive. Especially at this time of year!

Bob P workshop

They may never replace the experience of direct interaction, but they can’t be beat for convenience.

We, at the NYSIPM program and especially those of us working on school and childcare seek to make you aware of online, free workshops. Follow us at https://twitter.com/NY_School_IPM @NY_School_IPM    IPM for Schools and Childcare, or subscribe to emailed notices. (look up in the top right corner. Yes. Right there.)

Webinars Coming up from the EPA:

  • Feb 23, 2016 — Pest Prevention by Design in Schools
  • March 15, 2016 — IPM for Turf on School Grounds
  • April 19, 2016 — Vertebrate Turf Pests
  • May 17, 2016 — Ants – The #1 Pest in Schools
  • June 7, 2016 — Termite Mitigation in Schools – A Holistic Approach

Also available: Pesticide Recertification credits (prices for credit hour set by DEC)  online at The Distance Learning Center, Cornell’s Pesticide Management Education Program  http://coursem.cce.cornell.edu/

This site is the home to on-line pesticide applicator courses produced by Cornell Cooperative Extension. These are accepted in New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia and most of New England. A partnership between PMEP and the NYS IPM program is an essential element in creating the courses. The creation of this site was made possible through grants from the US-EPA Pesticide Stewardship program and the USDA Smith Lever funds.

Summertime (AND SCHOOL CLOSURE) is Cleaning Time

(repost from June 2015)

We’re sharing this blog post again for its timeliness. With so many schools shut down, it’s a great time to target cleaning those hard to get to places (sanitation) and looking for entry points for pests (exclusion). If your school is still actively using its cafeteria, we want to confirm how valuable those efforts are to keep students fed during these trying times. We’ll be sharing more about reducing pest problems throughout the building as well.

 

“Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn’t even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.” – ― Erma Bombeck

Move equipment to make it easier to clean it as well as the floor and walls around it.

Move equipment to make it easier to clean the floor and walls around it as well as the equipment itself.

While cleanliness might not help you spiritually, we can promise that it will help you prevent pest problems in the school. There are certain tasks that should be done every day, some that can be done weekly, or even monthly, and some that should be done at least once a year. Schools vacated for the summer provide an excellent time to tackle the big jobs.

The primary idea is to remove pest habitat (food, water, shelter, and space) from buildings. This includes sealing off food, repairing water leaks, and removing shelter. Reach into the corners. Get under the sinks. Tackle molding, walls, and flooring behind and under appliances and cooking equipment. This is the time to pull out equipment and vending machines. Clean the wheels and wheel wells on carts and garbage cans. If resources allow, take the opportunity to put shelving on casters. This will make deep cleaning easier, and thus allow it to be conducted more often once school starts up again.

We can't always blame the teachers and students. This cluttered custodial closet provides pest harborage and makes inspection and cleaning difficult.

We can’t always blame the teachers and students. This cluttered custodial closet provides pest harborage and makes inspection and cleaning difficult.

What other pest projects are good for the summer? Ideally your regular inspections have helped you to produce a list of tasks to tackle. Many of these projects likely include projects that will help exclude pests from your building. They include:

  • Sealing gaps where utility lines (water pipes, electricity) enter the building and between rooms
  • Sealing all cracks and gaps in foundations, windows, door jambs and vents
  • Repairing holes or tears in window screens
  • Transplanting (or removing) plant material away from the building foundation
  • Replacing mulch next to buildings with gravel
  • Eliminating water sources such as leaking pipes, clogged drains, and missing tile grout
  • Insulating pipes that accumulate condensation (sweat)
  • Reducing clutter, cardboard, and paper that provides covers for pests

    Seal pipe chases entering buildings, between rooms, and under sinks with foam and copper mesh.

    Seal pipe chases entering buildings, between rooms, and under sinks with foam and copper mesh.

For more information, visit the School IPM Best Management Practices website. Inspection forms, pest fact sheets, IPM protocols, and links to the best and latest from IPM experts will support the novice and the seasoned IPM practitioner alike.

The EPA Clean Bill of Health: How Effective Cleaning and Maintenance Can Improve Health Outcomes in Your School webinar covers how to develop and implement a preventative maintenance plan to reduce costs and improve health by using effective cleaning practices in your school.

And don’t forget to look for burned-on cheese in the faculty lounge toaster oven.

Environmental Health in Schools

This week, we celebrated National Healthy Schools Day, making it a good time to share some of the EPA’s resources. Their common-sense, voluntary guidelines help schools create a “holistic, comprehensive, and actionable strategy that integrates preventative measures and addresses environmental health issues by fostering well-maintained school buildings and grounds.  Sustainable school environmental health programs promote environments that are conducive to learning and protect the health of building occupants.  Successful school environmental health programs are best implemented and maintained by promoting awareness and participation among teachers, staff, and students.”

Here’s the five major components:

Practice Effective Cleaning and Maintenance.  aka Green Cleaning… using products that have low volatility, neutral pH, no known carcinogens and are biodegradable.

Prevent Mold and Moisture, which not only affects building longevity, but can increase pests such as mites, roaches and rodents which also increase asthma and allergies.

Reduce Chemical and Environmental Contaminant Hazards. This is not just pesticides, but includes mercury, lead and PCB-containing products.  Here’s a guide to help you recognize risks.

Ensure Good Ventilation.  Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air and large populations of children might be more susceptible to indoor pollutants than the general population.  The EPA uses ASHRAE national standards.

Prevent Pests, and Reduce Pesticide Exposure.

This sounds just like IPM to us!

For more on  how each of these components fits in to an IPM policy in your school, visit the NYS IPM Program.

Updated EPA Website: Healthier Schools for Healthier Kids

OCTOBER IS CHILDREN’S HEALTH MONTH!

Children are not little adults – they are still growing and developing. We need to take special precautions to keep them safe

…a great reminder from the EPA’s newly updated Healthy Schools website.  They hope to provide a more user-friendly site and have added a “School Bulletin Board” where you’ll find all the news regarding healthy school environments.

Here’s the link:  http://www.epa.gov/schools/

new website epa

The EPA has ten regions, as you can see on the map, but the Healthy Schools website is intended for nationwide use.  To find out more about your regional office and those leading the efforts toward improving the learning environment for your children, here’s the contact information: http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa#pane-4

epa region map