Lewiston Public Schools
IPM STAR Certified 2005-2007 and 2010-2012
How do you spell Integrated Pest Management at Lewiston School Department? T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K! Maine ‘s second largest school district, Lewiston, serves over 4900 students at one high school, one middle school and seven elementary schools.
The team has earned IPM STAR certification for its efforts. In 2005, Lewiston was the first district in Maine to receive certification. In 2010, Lewiston’s certification was renewed with an outstanding score of over 90%. The certification is administered by the IPM Institute of North America , in partnership with the US EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is an approach to dealing with pests – including insects, weeds, plant diseases and rodents – with common sense, long-term solutions. Pesticides, if needed at all, are a last resort.
The Lewiston team is made up of committed administrators, custodians and food service staff, Recreation and Parks Department personnel, responsible contractors and experts from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources (DAFR), Maine Board of Pesticide Control (BPC) and University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service (CES).
The project began in 2003 with an initial assessment conducted by Kathy Murray, IPM Entomologist with DAFR, and Gary Fish of Maine BPC. Drs. Murray and Fish came to Lewiston looking for opportunities to make the schools less attractive to pests. Their evaluation produced a number of recommendations. This initial work was funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region I office in Boston .
Don Barry, of University of Maine CES , followed up with a series of regular visits over a year’s time to support the school system as they implemented the recommendations, including adding window screens in kitchen areas, controlling clutter in food and supply storage areas, and installing energy-saving and pest-preventing weather stripping on doors and windows.
Lewiston staff and students picked up where the experts left off, including solving a persistent fly and ant problem around recyclables. These pests attracted by the sweet remains of soft drinks found in leaky cardboard recycling containers. To address the sanitation problem, the high school shop fabricated attractive, lightweight, high-capacity sheet metal containers. These containers are lined with plastic bags provided by the soft drink distributor, and are washed out regularly. The pest problem was permanently solved –without pesticides.
Another successful ongoing effort involves removing sand that accumulates against buildings near parking areas after the winter season. Eliminating this convenient nesting material has meant fewer ant nests and fewer calls to Rick Charest, the Modern Pest Control technician who services the schools.
Stinging insects are an ongoing problem during the non-winter seasons. Custodians knock any nests down while they are still small – and must get approval from Andre Baillargeon, head custodian and IPM Coordinator, before resorting to using an insecticide, a rare occasion.
– Prepared as part of the IPM STAR Certification Process by the IPM Institute of North America for posting on its website with permission from Lewiston School Department.