Local officials, citizens honored for work to reduce pesticide use

The Wellesley Townsman - July 5, 2021

Local officials, citizens honored for work to reduce pesticide use

A coalition of Wellesley officials, community organizations and local businesses was recognized in a State House ceremony June 19 for its work over the past year developing the first town-wide strategic plan to reduce pesticide use as part of a broad campaign to reduce the use of pesticides on town and private property.

Pesticide Awareness Coordinator Sarah Little, of the town’s Health Department, gave a brief presentation during the ceremony in the Great Hall and was presented with a certificate from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute for outstanding work in toxics use reduction. The Wellesley project was one of six programs recognized for efforts to reduce toxins in communities.

All of these programs are exemplary programs that should be replicated time and again across the state,” said Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, the Senate co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture, who addressed the crowd during the noontime ceremony. Pacheco praised all six groups for “dealing with real problems and doing the hard work in communities to get things done.”

The Wellesley Coalition drafted the pesticide-reduction strategy for town-owned properties, featuring an Organic Pest Management Policy. In addition, the group conducted a public education campaign 9the Wellesley Pesticide Awareness Campaign) that included distribution of printed information, creation of a web site with information and links to other resources about the dangers of pesticide use and the alternatives, and presentations on organic landscaping techniques for both homeowners and professional landscapers.

In addition to the town’s Health Department, other participants in the coalition w3ho were recognized at Tuesday’s ceremony included the National Resources Commission, the Department of Public Works, the School Department, the Board of Selectmen, the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project, Bread and Circus Whole Foods Company, the Charles River Watershed Association, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, the Needham Garden Center, Russell’s Garden Center, Strata, and Boston Tree Preservation.

The coalition’s work was funded in part by a Toxics Use Reduction Networking grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell.

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute established the TURN grants program in 1995 to encourage involvement by community organizations and municipalities in the state’s Toxics Use Reduction Program, known as TURA, Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989. TURA promotes safer and cleaner industrial processes that enhance the economic vitality of Massachusetts firms, while protecting the environment, workers and public health.

For more information, call Eileen Gunn at TURI at 978-934-4343 or Sarah Little at the Wellesley Health Department at 781-235-0135.