Waverly School Puts The Lid On Herbicides

March 22, 1992|By Donna Boller | Donna Boller,Staff writer

Waverly Elementary School grounds will go herbicide-free this springto test whether teachers and students can find an alternative for killing weeds and grass where mowers cannot reach.

The school is thesecond in Howard County to request a halt to herbicide sprays. The Thunder Hill Elementary School PTA is working with the school system'sgrounds staff on plans to maintain the grounds without herbicides this spring and during the 1992-1993 school year.

Grounds workers routinely spray areas outside the reach of mowerseach spring and summer. The first application is to kill grasses andweeds before the seeds germinate, Paul D. O'Meara, assistant managerof grounds, explained earlier. The summer application is to kill weeds that have already germinated.

Staff members at Waverly asked that the spring application be stopped, said Assistant Principal JoanneC. Welling. "We had several staff members interested in exploring with students alternatives to the spraying program," she said.

Teachers have worked out grounds patrols. During recess, students will pull up any weeds they spot around backstops or close to school walls.

The Waverly staff didn't ask for a ban on the summer herbicide application because trying to get volunteers to maintain the grounds during summer "gets very complicated," Welling said.

"I think all of us are grappling right now with awareness of ecological problems and we don't know how to develop alternatives. This is experimental for us," she said.

The ban on spraying at Thunder Hill was sparked by parent Nancy Lefenfeld, who became concerned when she saw children running across recently sprayed school grounds. Her research led the county PTA council to ask the school board March 12 to investigate alternatives to spraying herbicides.

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