HOUSTON – Feb. 5, 2016 – Spring ISD has re-earned IPM STAR certification after passing a rigorous, 37-point inspection of its sustainable pest control practices. Created and administered by the nonprofit IPM Institute of North America, the IPM Star program evaluates school systems and childcare centers for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – a common-sense approach to solving pest problems with a minimum amount of pesticide use.
“Following a thorough inspection and on-site evaluation of the district’s pest control practices by experienced IPM professionals, we were notified that the district had met or exceeded the high standards necessary to retain our certification,” said Dr. Fred Walker, Spring ISD operations director.
IPM aims to proactively cut off pest problems at the source. Non-chemical methods such as sealing, sanitation and monitoring are the primary strategies. Spring’s achievement of Star certification proves their commitment to finding low-risk solutions to protect the district’s staff, students and visitors.
Spring ISD began its IPM program in 1995, replacing a reactive response to pest control with a proactive approach that uses sanitation, exclusion and monitoring as the first line of defense. As part of Spring’s innovations for this re-evaluation, the district created annual meetings with teachers and staff to educate everyone on the district’s IPM policy, and has updated its Green policy list. In line with the State of Texas product classification system for pesticide products, Spring ISD places the products they use into three categories labeled Red, Yellow and Green with Green being the lowest risk. Since the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, the district has used only Green products.
The evaluation was conducted by Dr. Thomas Green, entomologist who directs the IPM Institute, and Janet Hurley, Texas A&M extension program specialist.
“Spring is a great example of how trained individuals, focusing on eliminating pests’ access to food and shelter, can achieve excellent pest control,” said Green. “Everyone at Spring understands their role in keeping pests out – from the custodians to the maintenance and food service professionals who all work hard to eliminate pest-friendly conditions with proper cleaning and maintenance.”
Walker agrees that achieving certification is a team effort and cites cooperation from faculty and staff members as the most important part of Spring’s IPM program with special recognition for the work and leadership of Hoa Phan, IPM coordinator.
IPM Star Certification is presented by the IPM Institute of North America in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program. The program has been introduced to Texas schools with the support and assistance of the Southwest Technical Resource Center and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.