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2011 Highlights: UC IPM Annual Report

IPM Advocates program launched in stores
Future IPM advocates learn about IPM products. Photo by M. L. Flint.

IPM Advocates program launched in stores


  • Retail stores need help promoting environmentally friendly pest management.
  • Group is training IPM advocates to advise retail stores.

A new corps of IPM professionals will soon be helping retail nurseries and garden centers promote environmentally friendly alternatives for managing home and garden pests.

The new and innovative IPM Advocates program is currently preparing the first group of “advocates” to help retail stores give out better information about less toxic products and safe use of pesticides.

Participants become certified IPM Advocates after successfully completing a seven-week, hands-on training course and a nine-month mentoring period where they work directly with three stores. At the stores they assist with inventory selection, displays, marketing, customer outreach, and employee training.

Program leaders anticipate that IPM Advocates will continue this work as consultants to stores or public agencies after the mentoring period ends.

Mary Louise Flint, UC IPM associate director for urban and community IPM and one of the program leaders, noted that “consumer demand for information on less toxic alternative practices and products is growing. Although most stores carry safer, effective products, many store employees simply don’t have the training to respond to consumers’ questions about them.”

UC IPM has partnered with an association of San Francisco Bay Area stormwater management agencies (BASMAA) in a novel program funded through a Pest Management Alliance grant from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Over the last decade, BASMAA’s successful Our Water, Our World program demonstrated there is strong interest among retail nurseries and garden centers in Northern California to participate in programs that educate store employees and consumers about less toxic management methods. UC IPM brings its wealth of technical information and resources to enhance this collaborative outreach and training program.

> Next article: Getting information to Spanish-speaking audiences

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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