Navigate Up
Integrated Pest Management Menu +
Home > IPM > Resources > Outreach Tools > Public Education & Outreach

Public Education and Outreach

Last modified: 11/18/2013 12:59 PM

Structural and Non-agricultural use of pesticides represents a significant non-point sourceEvent Booth of environmental pollution of surface waters, ambient air and an unknown risk to these pesticide users. We know that the public, once reached, is interested in IPM and reducing pesticide risk. Universities and agencies rely heavily on the written word, and increasingly, the Web. While this information may be excellent, it never reaches the vast majority of the public. Also, written information on pesticides or IPM has traditionally not been geared to attract or hold the attention of the general public. Until very recently, educational materials for general public and children on pesticides or pests have been lacking. Reducing the pesticide load in the environment in urban areas will require a multi-faceted, long-term effort of public education and outreach.

"The public" represents a vast, diverse and diffuse audience. To reach these audiences with effective educational messages about reducing risk to the environment and to the self is the only mechanism for simultaneously reducing non-point source pollution and health risks. Planning education and outreach to such a diverse group requires identifying the under-served audiences through collaboration, networking and developing different types of partnerships. Successful Extension education outreach programs are based on a solid understanding of the needs of the targeted audience and the use of appropriate techniques to disseminate the needed information.  One effective way is to partner with community groups, schools, businesses, agencies, and non-profit organizations to overcome obstacles and promote IPM education and implementation in schools and urban communities.Residents posing

These audiences include:

  • Inner-city residents- the approach to this group of audience might include churches, community organizations, and other NGOs.
  • Health care professionals- Awareness training to this group has a role to play in spreading the reduced risk message.
  • Garden center clientele at point of purchase- The Kids checking out the displayspublic purchasing pesticides often ask store workers about choice of products for pest control, even through these workers may have no education. Educating this group will help to disseminate the message to hundreds of people (user group) every year.
  • Children- Kindergarten to K-12 IPM education, working with school districts to include this curriculum will help at the grass root to capitalize on their interest and get the message across at "kid level".

A few examples are as follows:

  • An example of a successful Community IPM Outreach is The BugMobile!™, organized & hosted by Pennsylvania IPM Program. An Innovative Educational Experience! The BugMobile!™ VW talking ladybeetle is a traveling educational attraction promoting the message of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in a fun and exciting way. Ask The BugMobile!™ your questions and check out the IPM display with live insects, free educational materials, pest management information (weeds, diseases, wildlife, and insects), fun giveaways, and activities and games. For more info success of this outreach tool visit PA IPM website.

  • An example of a Radio Show organized by King County's aired SaturRadio show organized by King Countyday, March 26 on 710 KIRO AM Radio, discussed alternatives to weed and feed and the presence of pesticides in our waterways, while emphasized gardening with native plants to reduce pesticide use, reduce water use and restore habitat. The show was done live on location at Lowe's in Issaquah as part of Lowe's Going Organic promotion. King County supported the show as part of its Natural Yard Care program.
  • Display: The Pest House: The people who live in this handcrafted wooden dollhouse have their troubles: ten Display of a pest housetroubles, in fact. Flies, mold, ants, and raccoons are only some of them. Problems such as branches too close to the house and holes in walls can be rectified by moving a part that resets itself when the visitor is done. The display combines two over-arching concepts-pest problems and IPM solutions-into one exhibit. Visitors can interact with the house on three sides, one of which allows them inside the rooms. To borrow, contact Claudia Coen, NYS IPM Program, 315-787-2608,
  • Display: Mosquito Pinball: Combine the thrill of Game displaypinball with learning ways to "fight the bite." This Mosquito Pinball game encourages visitors to earn points every time the ball comes in contact with a mosquito-thwarting practice, such as emptying sources of water, wearing repellent, encouraging natural predators, or cleaning gutters. To borrow, contact Claudia Coen, NYS IPM Program, 315-787-2608,
  • Another example of an interactive Community IPM Outreach is the US EPA-Environmental Kids Club, and Pollution Prevention Colouring Book, where environmental awareness is brought to the grass root level.
  • IPM for Kids - Cool Websites


In an effort to reach target audiences with Extension IPM education publications, greater consideration should be given to the participant's background, perceptions of pest problems, current use of IPM practices, and preferences for educational formats. It varies with age group, day to day involvement of the participant in specific pest management or related activity or general public who has diverse interest to know more about pests.

A few examples of the IPM related literature, brochures for general public:


Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are short, "non-commercial" announcements prepared to provide information to the public. A non-commercial announcement contains information that benefits its intended audience, rather than the company that created it. For example, a PSA that provides IPM information differs from an ad that promotes the sale of a pest management product or service. Consequently, nonprofit associations produce most PSAs, but commercial, for-profit organizations may also use them to promote their nonprofit activities and events.

Free air time (usually 10- to 60-second spots) on television and radio is available to groups such as community associations, advocate groups, nonprofit organizations and for-profit organizations that are promoting their community, nonprofit events with PSAs. TV and radio stations donate this air time to meet the Federal Communications Commission's public service requirements.

PSAs are used by organizations to: 

  • Publicize community events. 
  • Provide health and safety tips. 
  • Assist in fund raising efforts. 
  • Inform and influence public opinion.

PSA messages: 

  • Must contain information that is beneficial to the community. 
  • Should not include controversial or self-serving material.

Many radio and TV stations have guidelines for acceptance and production of PSAs. Always send your news in their requested format.

Example of IPM PSA: "Heard us on the radio? We're running a series of public service announcements throughout New York that describe simple IPM techniques you can use in your home and yard to manage common pests." NY State IPM Program has developed series of PSA's to create community awareness towards IPM. You can hear the PSA or download the associated brochures for more information at NY State IPM Website.

SCC IPM Program is also working on the IPM PSA project. The PSA will be packaged with cover letter, storyboard and background information and pitched to the top 20 radio stations across the Bay Area. Periodic promotions will follow an initial mailing in pursuit of continued usage. These PSA will run throughout Santa Clara County that describe simple IPM techniques public can use in their home and yard to manage common pests.