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Shaw Middle School Students on Pest Patrol - Learning the best ways to prevent pests at home and school

Release Date: 12/14/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543 or Joan Schafer, 215-814-5143

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543 or Joan Schafer, 215-814-5143

PHILADELPHIA - Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region, presented a $60,000 check today to the Pennsylvania State University for a project that teaches students how to reduce risks associated with pests and pesticides in an urban school environment and in their community.

“Childhood exposure to pesticides is an environmental health risk facing children today,” Donald S. Welsh, said. “We are very focused on helping communities address this problem. This program not only teaches students how to deal with pests in the school environment, but also how to deal with pest problems at home.”

This grant project teaches students in grades 5-8 how to recognize, manage, and prevent pests and pesticide-related health risks by using integrated pest management (IPM) practices at the Shaw Middle School located in West Philadelphia. This program relies on problem-based learning, which is learning by doing, and includes hands-on activities.

After being properly trained, students participating in the “Pest Patrol” program will work with teachers, IPM program specialists, other students, and custodial staff to assess and make recommendations for pest management. In addition, it is expected that through student service programs, lessons learned by the students will extend into the neighborhood, raising awareness of pesticide issues and IPM solutions among the community.

IPM is a safer, usually less costly option for effective pest management in the school community because it uses common-sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water, and shelter for pests in school buildings and grounds. IPM programs take advantage of all pest management strategies, including careful use of pesticides when necessary.

This Shaw Middle School program is part of the Pennsylvania IPM program’s Philadelphia community IPM partnership. Shaw students will create projects that will serve as a model for implementation of integrated pest management practices in schools throughout the School District of Philadelphia and statewide.

“The discussion of pests, pesticides, and health in the urban environment forces us to examine various approaches to address these issues,” Welsh said. “We are pleased to be working with Penn State, Penn State’s Cooperative Extension, the Philadelphia School District, and all the other partners on a project that has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of Philadelphia’s children.”

For more information on IPM, go to