2012 Highlights: UC IPM Annual Report

IPM Advocate Teresa Lavell shows a customer how to identify beneficial insects.IPM Advocate Teresa Lavell shows a customer how to identify beneficial insects. Photo by A. Joseph.

Retail stores embrace IPM advocates


  • IPM advocates are ready to educate retail store employees about IPM after a year-long training program.
  • Retail stores working with an IPM advocate increased shelf space for less-toxic products.

Thanks to a collaborative effort among UC IPM, the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association, and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Northern California now has a cadre of certified IPM advocates ready to meet the need for educating retail store employees about less-toxic pesticides and IPM practices.

In June, 10 IPM advocate interns completed a year-long training and mentoring program where they gained experience on relevant issues for retail nurseries and garden centers including pest management, less-toxic pesticides, customer service, product displays, and marketing.

During the mentoring phase, IPM advocates worked with store employees to increase awareness about less-toxic products, creating seasonal displays of IPM products and tools to draw customer attention. Ninety percent of participating stores increased shelf space allocated to less-toxic products as a result of this program.

Each advocate was partnered with three stores affiliated with the Our Water, Our World outreach program. Stores were located in Monterey, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, San Francisco, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. During the 11 months of their internships, the advocates conducted 31 educational programs to train 318 store employees and held more than 60 in-store public outreach events. The advocates equipped these stores with UC IPM educational materials including the popular Meet the Beneficials poster, lady beetle bookmarks, a collection of Quick Tips information cards, the touch-screen IPM kiosk, and other useful tools.

All of the IPM advocates are now working with retail stores through stormwater agency contracts or projects. To see the list of certified IPM advocates and the areas served or to read more about the program, visit http://www.ipmadvocates.com. Karey Windbiel-Rojas, urban IPM educator, and Mary Louise Flint, associate director for urban and community IPM, led UC IPM’s efforts for this program.

> Next article: New IPM course prepares practitioners

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