News Source: 
The Daily
October 29, 2012

The UW is a leader in sustainability practices. The university recently received a Salmon-Safe certification from the Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability and is being used as an example of eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Despite this, groundskeepers re-signing contracts this year may be required to be certified for pesticide use. The UW is currently looking at adding this license requirement to the contract.

Jerry Harstad, gardener lead for UW Grounds Management said the new requirements are counter-intuitive to the core values of the UW’s sustainability efforts. Harstad said he’s concerned the contract requirement will increase pesticide use throughout campus.

Currently, only a few grounds employees are certified in pesticide use. Harstad believes making this a universal requirement could increase its usage. This, he said, could be harmful for the general public.

In recent years, pesticides have been sprayed on campus as little as possible. According to Grounds Management, the use of pesticides on campus has decreased dramatically since the 1990s. Harstad and other grounds workers use a combination of organic solutions, such as mulches and barks, as alternatives to pesticides.

However, Hillary Burgess, IPM and sustainability coordinator for grounds management, said the licensing won’t necessarily increase pesticides on campus. She said that much of the training is about how not to use pesticides and how to use them properly if the need arises. She also doesn’t think that the licenses would increase the use of pesticides on campus.