Daily News Archive

Growing Movement for Pesticide-Free Parks
(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2003) On May 7, 2003, officials of Wichita, Kansas announced plans to ban the use of pesticides in 10 of the city's 105 parks, according to the Wichita Eagle. Instead of synthetic chemicals, the city will focus on less toxic methods of pest control and the use of native plant species, such as redbud trees and buckbrush instead of flowering crabapples and spirea.

Vice Mayor Sharon Fearey said the community would be invited to give its opinion of how the plan was working. It is hoped that the pesticide-free zones will extend to other parks in the city. This reduction in pesticides provides a lead for homeowners by educating them on the potential dangers of chemical use and the possibilities for a healthy, chemical-free lawn. Trix Niernberger, a member of the volunteer Wichita Board of Park Commissioners, commented, "We want to raise the public's awareness with the hope that it will be a community wide effort. We want to start slow so people get used to the idea."

Wichita is following the lead of Lawrence, KS, where three parks, totaling 12 acres, were designated as pesticide-free last spring. This story was covered by Beyond Pesticides in the May 27, 2002 edition of Daily News. In addition, Seattle designated six parks as pesticide-free in 2001. In all of these cases, local advocates for health and the environment initiated positive change. Such successful results provide an example and motivation for further change, which ultimately amounts to positive change on a global scale.

For information and resources to help reduce pesticide use in your community, contact Beyond Pesticides.