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Pesticide Safety Education Program: 1997


PEP staff 1996
Clockwise from top: Pat O'Connor-Marer, Pesticide Training Coordinator; Melanie Zavala, Farmworker Pesticide Training Coordinator; Jennifer Weber, Pesticide Educator; Diane Clarke, Administrative Assistant; and Gale Pérez, Program Assistant.

The UC IPM Pesticide Education Program's mission is to develop, test, evaluate, and disseminate pesticide safety education models and materials in order to reduce the harmful impacts of pesticides on people and the environment.

Accomplishing this mission requires a team of professionals willing to collaborate with growers, pesticide handlers, UC farm advisors, regulatory agencies, and others to ensure that programs and materials accurately reflect current farming situations and address needs specific to California agriculture.

These activities complement the efforts by other UC IPM programs to lower risks to people and the environment by reducing pesticide use in California.

See our Web pages for information on the Pesticide Education Program's workshops and events (including training schedule), newsletter, publications, and more.

The Pesticide Education Program team serves a clientele of approximately 23,000 certified commercial pesticide applicators, 40,000 certified private applicators, and more than 70,000 noncertified mixer-loader-applicators. Their programs also reach more than 800,000 fieldworkers who perform cultural activities in California fields that have been treated with pesticides. Other parts of the agricultural industry reached by Pesticide Education Program endeavors include rural health clinic staff, worker's compensation insurance carriers, children living on or visiting farms, and community service agencies.

Programs and materials developed by the Pesticide Education Program are routinely adapted to meet specific needs. For example, many activities involve developing and testing innovative materials and training programs that bridge the cultural, language, and educational barriers found in California's diverse agricultural workforce.

Pesticide Education Program Staff. Pesticide Training Coordinator Patrick O'Connor-Marer manages the UC IPM Pesticide Education Program, develops training materials, and conducts training programs. He also serves as Associate Director for Outreach for the UC Agricultural Health and Safety Center at Davis, a NIOSH-supported center for agricultural health and safety research and outreach serving the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii. Program Representative Melanie Zavala develops written and video educational materials in both English and Spanish. She participates in numerous training programs for pesticide handlers and agricultural fieldworkers and also conducts Spanish-language pesticide safety training with local Cooperative Extension offices.

Program Representative Jennifer Weber participates in training programs, edits the Pesticide Education Program newsletter, develops English and Spanish language materials, and works with rural health clinics and social service agencies to provide pesticide safety information to farmworkers and rural families. Administrative Assistant Diane Clarke coordinates meeting registrations, designs and formats training manuals, brochures, and other Pesticide Education Program media, assists with the design and layout of the Pesticide Education Program newsletter, and coordinates staff travel schedules. Program Assistant Gale Pérez organizes meetings, makes logistical arrangements, maintains records, tabulates evaluations, and supervises registrations. She also coordinates the Pesticide Education Program section of the UC IPM home page on the World Wide Web. Post Graduate Researcher Rose Krebill-Prather designs evaluation tools and conducts surveys and evaluations of program impact on target clientele.

Training materials for commercial and private pesticide applicators

People in California who work with restricted-use pesticides must be certified by the Department of Pesticide Regulation through an examination process. The Pesticide Education Program staff develops and updates study materials for the various certification examinations. The central resource for California's Qualified Applicator certification and licensing program is the UC IPM Pesticide Application Compendium series. Pesticide Education Program staff are currently working on Volumes 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the series. These include Aquatic Pest Management, Fumigation Practices, Antimicrobial Pesticides, and Landscape Pest Management.

A special publication for growers who use restricted-use pesticides was completed by the Pesticide Education Program this year and is now available through DANR Communication Services. This book, Pesticide Safety--A Reference Manual for Growers (DANR Publication #3383, $7), helps growers identify specific conditions and hazards on their farms that will influence how they use restricted-use pesticides.

Train-the-trainer workshop The UC IPM Pesticide Education Program maintained an active schedule of train-the-trainer courses during 1997 to qualify instructors to train pesticide handlers and agricultural fieldworkers under the provisions of the Federal Worker Protection Standard. Thirteen day-long workshops were conducted in 1997, and an additional six are planned for early 1998. These workshops are offered in both English and Spanish and are targeted to growers, farm supervisors, labor contractors, worker's compensation insurance representatives, rural health clinic staff, and professional safety trainers. Participants learn information about pesticides and safe handling techniques, and they also become involved in learning and practicing training techniques that are effective with agricultural workers.

Participants at a train-the-trainer course in a class on "Learning to select personal protective clothing for applying pesticides." Pat O'Conner-Marer conducts the session.

This train-the-trainer format demonstrates how the efforts of a few people--such as the Pesticide Education Program staff--can be greatly leveraged to have a significant impact on the agricultural community. To date, approximately 3,500 individuals have completed one of the 148 workshops conducted by the Pesticide Education Program. These trainers are responsible for providing pesticide safety training to more than 800,000 agricultural workers in California.

During 1997, two UC area agricultural personnel management farm advisors continued to assist staff of the UC IPM Pesticide Education Program in conducting train-the-trainer programs for trainers of fieldworkers under the auspices of the UC IPM Project. Gregory Billikopf, Stanislaus County, conducted Spanish-language workshops, while Steve Sutter, Fresno County, provided English-language workshops.

Programs for UC Staff. The Pesticide Education Program staff, in cooperation with the UC Davis Department of Environmental Health and Safety, offered two continuing education programs during 1997 for UC personnel who handle pesticides or supervise pesticide applications. These programs provided them with the total continuing education hours needed to renew their DPR pesticide applicator licenses or certificates.

Hands-On Workshops. Hands-on workshops for pesticide handlers, developed by the Pesticide Education Program, are now being continued by local Cooperative Extension and agricultural commissioners' offices in several counties, including Napa, Sonoma, and San Diego. The Pesticide Education Program assists the organizers of these large-scale programs by training their volunteer instructors, providing resource materials, and loaning educational props.

Dana Edson, from the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, organized and coordinated an all-day program in March 1997. The workshop, held at the Ukiah Fairgrounds, involved local Cooperative Extension farm advisors and staff from agricultural commissioners' offices as resources and as instructors. The Pesticide Education Program provided training materials and props, participated in a training session for workshop instructors, and assisted the day of the workshop.

The Napa County agricultural commissioner's office is now planning a hands-on workshop in Napa in early 1998. Pesticide Education Program staff will train the instructors and supply resource materials and props.

Newsletter. The newsletter, Targeting Pesticide Safety, is prepared for people with an interest in pesticide safety education. This newsletter currently has a subscription list of more than3,500 people. Trainers who have attended one of the Pesticide Education Program's workshops receive these newsletters to keep up-to-date on changes in the regulations and to learn new ideas for more effective pesticide safety training. The current issue of the newsletter is available on the UC IPM World Wide Web site (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu). Feature articles from past issues are also archived at this Web site.

Agricultural Health and Safety Center

The UC IPM Pesticide Education Program is an active participant in the NIOSH-sponsored Agricultural Health and Safety Center at Davis. This cooperative agreement supports many research and outreach projects on the UC Davis campus, including the Pesticide Education Program's efforts to bridge cultural and language barriers to providing safety information to agricultural workers. An example of the type of materials developed by the Pesticide Education Program through this project is the training tool La loteria de los pesticidas, which conveys pesticide safety information in the form of a familiar Hispanic board game. This concept is now being used in other areas of agricultural safety.

Funding for the Center has been renewed for another 5 years. The Pesticide Education Program will continue to investigate and evaluate cultural, language, and educational barriers to providing pesticide safety information to agricultural workers; provide outreach to rural health clinics for recognizing and managing pesticide poisoning; develop information programs for agricultural employers; promote child safety on farms; and target specific pesticide-related injuries for focused intervention activities. Patrick O'Connor-Marer is the Associate Director for Outreach for the Center and chairs the Evaluation and Biostatistics service core, the Farm Safety 4 Just Kids special project, and the Regional Interactions committee. A major effort during 1997 has been fostering interactions among individuals and organizations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

The Pesticide Education Program involvement in this regional Center provides valuable interaction between the UC IPM Project and the UC Davis School of Medicine, other UC Davis campus departments, and the agricultural industry throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Measuring program impacts

The Pesticide Education Program uses many methods to evaluate its programs and measure the impacts of these programs on targeted clientele. Cost-effectiveness of these activities also is being examined. Rose Krebill-Prather coordinates the Pesticide Education Program's evaluation activities. Following is a description of one of the projects completed during this year:

Prior to the printing of the Pesticide Education Program's latest publication, Pesticide Safety--A Reference Manual for Growers, a field test of the manual was conducted with a group of 11 growers in Solano and Madera counties. The results were presented to the agricultural commissioners' meeting at the Department of Pesticide Regulation in March 1997. The input and suggestions from the growers who evaluated this book proved very helpful, and the final publication reflected their recommendations both in format and content. Participants in this field test, most representing larger farm operations (those with over 1000 acres), grow a variety of crops including field and row crops and orchard and vineyard fruits, and on average they had 10 or more years of experience.

During an initial meeting with the growers, staff presented an overview of the applicator certification regulations and described the purpose of the manual. The growers were then asked to review the manual in terms of preparation for the private applicator certification exam and for training other workers with regard to pesticide safety. After perusing the manual, growers were instructed to "take an exam" by answering the review questions at the end of each of the book's chapters. The growers' responses were "graded" as a way of measuring their understanding of the material presented in the manual. A week after the initial meeting, staff conducted a follow-up telephone interview with each grower.


Staff of the Pesticide Education Program were recipients of two awards during 1997. Patrick O'Connor-Marer, Melanie Zavala, Jennifer Weber, and Gale Pérez were presented with the UC Davis Staff Affirmative Action and Diversity Departmental Award for special recognition of their "outstanding service and distinguished achievement in going beyond expectations in [their] commitment to affirmative action and diversity." In addition, Melanie Zavala, Jennifer Weber, Gale Pérez, and Diane Clarke were recognized for their teamwork efforts by being awarded the 1996-97 Davis Campus DANR Unit Team Recognition Award.

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