Commissioner Lori F. Kaplan will visited the Monroe County United Ministries childcare on November 14 to thank workers there for helping encourage Hoosier childcare facilities to keep harmful pests at bay and get rid – in the safest way possible for children – of those that manage to take up residence.
Parents may not think about pest management when they choose a child care facility for their children, but it is very important both for humans and the environment to focus on ways to keep harmful pests as well as harmful pesticides away from children, Kaplan said. By taking this plan off the drawing board and putting it into place in the real world, United Ministries have really helped us prove that this plan will work for everyone.
United Ministries was one of four child care facilities and two public schools to host the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) pilot program. The public school participants included the Benton Community School Corporation and the Vigo County School Corporation. The child care pilot program participants included the Bloomington Developmental Learning Center, Elka Child Educational Center (Gary), and Auntie Mame's Child Development Center (Indianapolis).
We were eager to take part in this pilot because we knew each of the partners involved IDEM, Purdue and IU had the children in mind, said Meri Reinhold, Executive Director of MCUM. They really helped us think it through and put together a process that made sense and worked for us.
The pilot program, funded by a $100,000 IDEM grant, originally focused on developing an IPM policy for elementary schools. Nearly all of Indiana's elementary schools volunteered to adopt the policy, which was written by the Indiana Pesticide Review Board and approved by the state School Board Association last year. That same policy, adapted for child care facilities, will now be offered throughout the state. Because Indiana does not require an IPM for schools or child care facilities, the plan is offered on a voluntary basis.
This plan provides a clear and simple way to improve children's health throughout Indiana, said Al Fournier, Purdue's IPM in School Coordinator.
Dr. Marc Lame, an Entomologist and Communication Specialist at Indiana University's School of Public Affairs and Environmental Sciences, said: This grant was a great investment in Indiana's children, and I hope everyone who is entrusted with our children's care will put it into practice.
Kaplan credited cooperation among the Purdue University Department of Entomology, Indiana University and the State Chemist's Office as key to developing and demonstrating the effectiveness of the IPM plan. In addition to IDEM's promotion of the plan, Purdue will encourage Hoosiers to adopt the plan through its Consumer and Family Sciences Department and its statewide County Extension Service.
IPM is designed to achieve long-term, environmentally sound pest suppression in a number of ways including reducing accessible food, water and living space, and sealing up entry routes into buildings. Pesticides are used only when a confirmed pest problem is present and preventative treatment will not work. Before treatment is applied, staff and parents are notified, and the least-hazardous but effective pesticide is used.
For more information about starting an IPM program in your facility, call the IPM Technical Resource Center hotline, toll-free, at 877-668-8476, or reach us on the web at http://www.in.gov/idem/kids/integratedpest.html.