Perspectives Online

EPA recognizes School IPM program

The Department of Crop Science's Dr. Mike Linker (left) and Dr. Godfrey Nalyanya lead the university's School IPM program.
Photo by Becky Kirkland

N.C. State University's School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program recently received the Environmental Protection Agency's Recognition Award for efforts in making the environment in North Carolina public schools safer and healthier for children. Dr. Mike Linker, program director, and Dr. Godfrey Nalyanya, coordinator, are based in the Department of Crop Science.

Linker and Nalyanya promote the adoption of IPM, a proactive and common-sense approach to controlling pests that discourages routine application of pesticides in public schools. IPM incorporates facility inspections, education, sanitation, structural maintenance and repair, proper recycling and waste management in a comprehensive plan. Limited and targeted applications of reduced-risk pesticides can be done when needed.

Research indicates that children are especially at risk to pests and pesticides. Their bodies, behaviors and size make them both different from and more vulnerable than adults to pesticides. From conception through adolescence, they are in a dynamic, often-sensitive state of growth as their immature nervous, respiratory, reproductive and immune systems develop. For this reason they should be protected from exposure to pests and the pesticides that are commonly used to control pests.

The IPM approach reduces the amount and frequency of pesticide use and eliminates the exposure of children to pesticide residues. IPM produces long-lasting pest control results and ultimately reduces property damage by pests. Over time, school districts spend less on pest control using IPM. The NCSU School IPM program is funded by a grant from the Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund (PETF) of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

- Natalie Hampton