2012-08-24 / In the Know

In the Know

Scarborough transitions to organic program

The Scarborough Town Council incorporated a new pest management policy into the town ordinances at a meeting last September. The policy calls for the town to transition to an organic approach to pest management on all town owned fields.

The purpose of the policy is to create a safer environment for those who use the fields while also reducing the environmental threat that pesticides pose. The pest management policy can be found online under Town Council Adopted Policies at http://www.scarborough. me.us/common/ordinances/index.html.

As called for in the policy, a Pest Management Advisory Committee has been established to advise the town manager on the adoption of the policy. Members of the Pest Management Advisory Committee were recruited during spring and confirmed in a May vote by the Town Council. Members include Todd Jepson, Terri Eddy, Tim Lindsay, Marla Zando, Mark Follansbee and Iver Carlson. Sarah Wiley is chairman. In meetings this spring, the committee, along with Town Manager Tom Hall, Director of Community Services Bruce Gullifer and the staff liaison, Steve Quirk, met to go over bids for the coming year. The group agreed the town will work continuously with one contractor for the duration of the transition process, estimated to be from one to three years, depending on the specific fields.

After review of the three bids received in May, the group awarded the contract to Go Green Landscaping of Scarborough to begin work immediately transitioning the town properties to organic care. The contract is for one year. David Malevsky, owner of Go Green Landscaping, is excited about the direction the town is taking.

“As a Scarborough-based business, we are very excited to be providing the town with safe and healthy fields for our kids,” Malevsky said. “We look forward to servicing the fields with organic products for years to come.” The process began by weaning town properties off chemical pesticides. Go Green Landscaping began work immediately by scouting the town’s playing fields to be treated. Due to the timing of the award, work was started later than normal this year and later than desirable for the best immediate results to be achieved.

Go Green Landscaping is working with Hall, the Scarborough Pest Management Advisory Committee and the town’s facilities management staff to transition all town-owned properties to organic-growing practices.

After meeting with the committee and town officials, Go Green Landscaping outlined a plan of action based on field conditions and soils tests. In mid-June an organic fertilizer was applied to all fields. Aided by warm rains, the effects were relatively quick and expected to be longer lasting than those typically achieved with chemical fertilizers.

“Various fields will require various treatments,” Malevsky said. “For instance, on Memorial Park there is a substantial issue with weeds. We expect re-seeding and longer grass height will help move that field into better condition. It’s going to take time.”

Melevsky estimated the transition time for Memorial Field to be two to three years. For a concise report on each of the fields, see the town website for minutes of the June 25 advisory committee meeting. Also in the June 25 meeting of advisory committee, it was decided the focus during the next few months would be community education. Pest Management Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public and usually held 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays at town hall. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 27. It is expected that the meetings will eventually be televised to provide more information to the public about the town’s transition to organic practices. Text provided by Pest Management Advisory Committee.

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