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Community Strategies for Toxics Use Reduction, Pittsfield

Project Details

Year: 2003
Location: Berkshire county
Project Manager: Laura Dubester
Partners: Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, SPROUT - Berkshire Initiative for Children's Environmental Health, Pittsfield Department of Public Works, Berkshire Health Systems, Massachusetts Pesticide Awareness Collaborative.


The Center for Ecological Technology (CET), Pittsfield,  adapted successful strategies developed by Wellesley, Marblehead and Newton TURN projects to educate Pittsfield residents, municipal employees, schools, daycare centers, landscapers and retailers about adverse health and environmental impacts of pesticide use and alternative methods for plant and lawn care. CET developed specific training programs for retail staff of hardware stores and large retail chains in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Over 50 landscapers, facility managers and groundskeepers learned about IPM and how to market IPM services to clients. CET trained city employees in IPM and worked with the Pittsfield DPW to develop an insert on pesticide reduction that was distributed to residents in their utility bills. CET also conducted a series of presentations at local public gardens on Healthy Lawns and Landscapes.


  • Reduce the amount of toxic chemicals applied to lawns, gardens, public lands and institutional properties.
  • Protect the health and welfare of children and seniors by encouraging the use of less or non-toxic products or practices.
  • Build an educated citizenry who care about the adverse impacts of pesticides on public health and the environment.
  • Increase commitment to Toxics Use Reduction among municipal officials.

Project Accomplishments

  • 25 new parents and single mothers learned about IPM and less toxic products.
  • 7 hardware store retail staff learned about pesticides and safer alternatives and promoted HHW collections.
  • 53 landscapers, facility managers, school groundskeepers received a 3 hour introduction to IPM.
  • 12 City of Pittsfield employees were trained in IPM and had specific landscaping questions addressed.
  • 40 Members of Boards of Health (representing 20 Berkshire communities) learned about the health and environmental issues associated with pesticides.
  • 15 Facility Engineers learned about health and environmental impacts as well as basics of IPM.
  • 5 Master Gardeners developed a training program on IPM, which can now be used as one of their organization's presentations.
  • 6 presentations introduced 210 people to IPM and healthier lawns and gardens. These presentations were given at the senior center, garden club, community garden, arboretum and the community college.
  • 16,000 Pittsfield residents received basic information about pesticides and alternatives in their utility bill.
  • Over 250 people received information about pesticides from CET information tables at various community events.

The following activities will build on the TURN project:

  1. Members of the Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association will continue to offer classes and demonstrations on Integrated Pest Management as part of their public education. They are eager to have other Master Gardeners trained to give this presentation and are already planning for future presentations (late Winter - Spring 2004).
  2. CET will continue to work with the Pittsfield DPW to conduct outreach and education on pesticide reduction as part of the Notice of Intent, Permit Application for EPA’s Phase Two Stormwater Regulations. This will include radio and television programs with the Mayor and future environmental messages inserted into utility bills. Other possible outcomes may include introducing Best Management Practices for the DPW.
  3. Sprout is in the process of developing a videotape/DVD for families on "Healthy Beginnings" that may distributed by the United Way "Success by Six" program. CET will assist with the practical, affordable alternative practices, including presenting information on pesticides and alternatives.
  4. Pittsfield Health Department will co-sponsor CET's public education efforts on pesticide reduction.
  5. CET will offer another 3-4 hour session that will introduce IPM to landscapers, facility managers, and groundskeepers in Winter 2003-2004.
  6. Three statistics students from Berkshire Community College studied CET's survey data and the pesticide issue and presented their findings to an environmental class.
  7. The Housatonic Valley Association will promote CET's "Earth Friendly Yard" flags and will distribute CET's information on Healthy Lawns and Gardens as part of its efforts to encourage waterfront property owners to plant vegetative buffers along stream, river and lakes.
  8. Materials developed, including a traveling display board, brochure, lawn flag, utility bill insert, posters and press releases, have been shared with other communities and will continued to be utilized in our efforts.

This page updated Monday July 23 2018