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April 13, 2006

Educator to spread message about urban integrated pest management

Although public attention is often focused on agricultural pests and chemicals used to control them, nearly half of all pesticide use in California is in urban environments. That’s why the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program has selected Karey Windbiel-Rojas as the new Urban IPM Educator.

   Karey Windbiel-Rojas, the new Urban IPM Educator.
  

Karey Windbiel-Rojas, the new Urban IPM Educator.
Photo by Erica Johnson

Windbiel-Rojas has a bachelor’s degree in biology from CalPoly in San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in integrated pest management from UC Davis. She brings several years experience in teaching and working with community groups, including a two-year stint in Ghana with the Peace Corps. In addition, she monitored water quality in the Morro Bay Estuary and has been involved in a research project to see what the impacts of insecticides are on nontarget species in rice fields.

“We are delighted to have Karey on board. She will bring new insights, skills, and enthusiasm to our great team at the UC IPM Program and give a needed punch to our urban IPM outreach effort,” says supervisor and UC IPM Education and Publications Director Mary Louise Flint.

In this new position, Windbiel-Rojas will coordinate urban outreach activities with UCCE master gardener programs, public agencies, non-government organizations, and others involved in urban pest management throughout California. A big part of the job is to organize and implement train-the-trainer programs, work with experts to develop outreach and educational materials, and find innovative ways to inform people about integrated pest management.

Windbiel-Rojas says her first priority is to familiarize herself with existing materials and to establish personal contacts in urban pest management, specifically with UCCE master gardeners and advisors, public agencies, and water quality experts.

“I’m a very motivated person with a passion for the environment and individual health,” she says. “I enjoy teaching and collaborating with others toward a common goal. I hope to get ‘up to speed’ with my knowledge of available resources, including training modules, manuals, and other UC IPM publications.”

As a native Californian, Windbiel-Rojas says she’d like to see change occur in “our behavior regarding pests and pest management, both urban and agricultural, to reduce pesticide use in California for a healthier environment, healthier food, and healthier living.”

The UC Statewide IPM Program serves urban audiences through the creation of educational materials, training workshops and programs, cooperative educational and outreach programs with UC county offices across the state, and research. Its extensive web site, which includes Pest Notes on more than 125 home, garden and landscape pests, an interactive module on healthy lawn care, and a special section on urban water quality issues, is accessed by more than 28,000 visitors a day.

Resources

High-resolution image (228KB) "Karey Windbiel-Rojas, the new Urban IPM Educator." Photo credit: Courtesy of UC Statewide IPM Program, Erica Johnson. Photos are for use with this release only. All other uses see Legal Notices.

Contact

Stephanie Klunk, Communications Specialist
UC Statewide IPM Program
(530) 754-6724

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