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Idaho Activists Seek Pesticide-free Places

by Josh Vincent — last modified Feb 15, 2011 12:59 PM

Citizens in Blaine County, Idaho meet with local government to discuss pesticide use in parks, schools and other public places.

In January, activist allies in Idaho ramped up their campaign to eliminate pesticides in public spaces like parks and schools, and along their beloved county-wide bicycle path. Kathryn Goldman, a resident of Bellevue, ID who NCAP interviewed last fall, went before the Ketchum, ID city council and the Blaine County Commissioners to deliver the first in a series of presentations on pesticides. See the local media coverage here.

Goldman is spearheading the campaign for Pesticide Action Network of Blaine County (PAN BC), a community group who’s long term goals are two-fold:

  1. to reduce or eliminate pesticide use on public lands in the Wood River Valley by establishing strong Integrated Pest Management policies;
  2. to improve notification requirements for pesticide use if or when it does occur.

“We can do better by our kids,” says Goldman. “Our campaign is focused on implementing changes this spring.”

Pointing to the environmental and health risks, especially with regard to children, Goldman’s talk explained the dangers of pesticide use in parks, schools and other highly trafficked places. She then went on to suggest alternative practices that could reduce pesticide use on public lands, urging local land managers to use a safer, more integrated approach to weed control. Her presentation is succinct, roughly 12 minutes with a slideshow, followed by Q&A. But it packs a wallop. The City of Ketchum received the presentation favorably and Goldman is working with city staff to craft a draft IPM policy. “We will use this policy to build momentum for a valley-wide IPM policy.”

Her plan is to engage as many actors from local government, recreational organizations, landscaping companies and schools as possible in the next two months while also building channeling community support in the form of letters, calls and editorials. “The response from the community has been astounding,” says Goldman. “In just one short month over 200 individuals, organizations and businesses have stepped forward to support an end to pesticide use in places kids play in Blaine County.” Goldman will next be speaking with city councils in Bellevue and Sun Valley, the Blaine Recreation District Board, and the school district.  

Look for campaign updates on PAN BC’s website, and here at pesticide.org.