Reading, Writing, and IPM

With IPM fundamentals under their belts, children will understand how growers help to protect the environment, and they will be more likely to apply IPM principles in their own homes and daily lives.

Connecticut's new classroom environment

Today, IPM outreach is extending beyond the agricultural community to all citizens. Teaching IPM concepts to school children has emerged as a strategy that prepares all citizens to make decisions that safeguard the environment and human health.

In 2006, Connecticut Extension Educator Donna Ellis received Northeast IPM funding to expand an IPM Environmental Education Curriculum that engages students and their families in learning about insects, invasive plants, and other pests that occur in and around homes, buildings, farmland, and natural areas.

The University of Connecticut curriculum teaches students what pests are (insects, weeds, pathogens), how to control them (mechanical, biological, chemical, cultural controls), and how to protect the environment by keeping our food and water safe and preserving biological diversity. The curriculum is especially relevant to science programs but also links to social studies, language arts, math, and art.

The IPM curriculum is developed as modules, presented to educators through workshops and training sessions. “Our trainees have been very enthusiastic,” Ellis reports, “because the modules promote critical thinking and scientific inquiry.”

For more information or to order modules, contact Donna Ellis at 860-486-6448.

Moving toward IPM in all northeastern schools

A new School IPM Implementation Working Group is forming in the Northeast, building on the groundwork that has been laid by state IPM programs in the region. This group, led by Lynn Braband (NYS IPM Program at Cornell Univ.) and Kathy Murray (Maine Dept. of Agriculture), will connect with key school IPM stakeholders in the region and will link these groups with broader efforts nationwide to share successful strategies in school IPM.

The working group’s members will represent school professional organizations, land grant universities, state regulatory agencies, pest control professionals, and environmental advocates from at least six states in the region. These representatives will work with stakeholders to identify needs and opportunities for research, extension, education, and implementation for school IPM so that funding organizations will have a grounded sense of priorities and projects needed to promote school IPM in the region.

The new working group will multiply K–12 IPM teaching and learning tools, like the modules that Donna Ellis has created in Connecticut. The group aims to network and coordinate across states lines and among different organizations to infuse IPM into science, math, social studies, language arts, and other core curricula.

An overall aim of the group is to help northeastern states meet the national goal of implementing IPM in all U.S. schools by 2015. Regional school IPM leaders laid good groundwork at the New England School IPM meeting, held May 19 in Concord, NH, where they identified issues, needs, and priorities for regional action.