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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, September 9, 2003

EPA recognizes IU's SPEA program and Monroe County schools for pest management program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Marc Lame of Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and colleagues John Carter and Jerry Jochim of the Monroe County Community School Corp. for their work in developing a safe pest management program for local schools.

Lame, an entomologist in SPEA, was one of only four Hoosiers to receive individual recognition for outstanding state and national achievements from the EPA. MCCSC was the only school corporation of seven participating organizations recognized in the state.

In accepting the award, Lame credited his partners. "I know I'm echoing my colleagues' sentiments when I say we're all honored to be recognized by the EPA for establishing a program that protects our kids and our environment. This model has been successful nationwide because of a dedicated partnership," he said. The model developed by Lame and his colleagues is currently used by school districts throughout the country.

MCCSC superintendent John Maloy was equally pleased. "I am delighted that two of our employees, John Carter and Jerry Jochim, have been recognized by the EPA for their work in the School Pest Management Program. I am glad these gentlemen, along with Marc Lame of Indiana University, had the foresight to investigate a safer way to control pests in our facilities," he said. "Consequently, the MCCSC is leading the way in school pest management by creating a work and learning environment that reduces chemical exposure to staff and students while providing a healthier environment for all."

The integrated pest management program is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management in the school community that employs commonsense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests such as cockroaches, flies, yellow jacket wasps and mice in school buildings and on grounds.

Management of these pests and others in and around schools is important to providing a safe educational environment. However, the public and parents are concerned about health and environmental risks associated with chemical use in schools. Pesticides can help manage school pests, but they need to be used carefully and judiciously.

In the absence of federal legislation or laws requiring integrated pest management in schools, individuals and state agencies in Indiana have worked together since the mid 1990s to promote the program in schools. Don Baumgartner, coordinator of EPA Region 5 in Chicago, said that "the real credit of children's health protection from pesticides in school environments goes out to those in Indiana who are on the front lines, working with each other as partners and working in conjunction with state legislatures, committees, school districts and individual sanitarians, pest management professionals, educators and environmentalists with the common goal of making a difference in the protection of children from potential pesticide exposures."