American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators, Copyright 2018.
AAPSE is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Incorporated in the State of Washington.

AAPSE President's Blog - Autumn 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014 7:47 PM | Michael Weaver (Administrator)

Autumn 2014

Since our last blog article much has changed within AAPSE. Ours is an organization in transition. A majority has voted to seek a change in our membership policy. We held our first national workshop (exclusively as an organization and not in conjunction with another agency or organizational event). We are in the process of updating our strategic plan. Many of the activities I have cited have fostered an environment of engagement and networking not seen in this organization for many years. Here are some of the latest developments.


M. J. Weaver, AAPSE President

AAPSE National Workshop a Success!

Nearly 60 members met in Harrisburg last month to hold our first dedicated national workshop. High-quality speakers provided valuable and enlightening information. Those who came a few days early were able to attend a very well-organized and-presented Northeast PSEP regional workshop.

Thank you so much to Penn State University - Kerry Richards and her PSEP group  - for a perfect week! I attended Tuesday to give a brief AAPSE update. The next day I made the regional tour. The tour started at the home and business of a (very) distant cousin, Mr. Dwayne Weaver. The photo below portrays little family resemblance between us. But it made for some fun anyway. Dwayne and his family (Melvin R. Weaver & Sons, LLC) run a very well-managed spraying service and supply business in Lancaster.

dwayne & mike  

We then went on to Penn State's Southeast Agricultural Research and Experiment Station in Landisville. The highlight (at least for me) of that visit was the pollinator gardens. Penn State has established a series of pollinator gardens across the commonwealth to encourage the public to enhance pollinator health. With their lead in pollinator research and outreach, this is only natural. What a wonderful project! I brought home a number of great photos and ideas from this visit.


On Thursday morning, we kicked off the AAPSE workshop. Our keynote speaker was Mr. Dave Scott,Director of the Office of the Indiana State Chemist (Purdue University, West Lafayette). Dave was a perfect choice for our first keynote speaker. He delivered a valuable and enlightening message regarding our certification and training history and future programming. Dave's perspective of AAPSE provided some valuable insight into where we have come and where we should go as we move forward.


Then another Purdue guy, Dr. Fred Whitford (PSEP Coordinator, Purdue Pesticide Programs), hosted and presented a fantastic miniworkshop with his colleagues, Bob Wolf (AAPSE Fellow and owner of Wolf Consulting) and Norm Wagoner (Agrilead). The team presented an informative session on "Making Pesticides Work Better: Water Quality Issues, Adjuvant Use, and Deposition Aids." The session was followed by a tour of Bob's traveling sprayer technology education road show. Bob demonstrated his ingenious collection of unique teaching tools.

wolf consultingwolf consulting

wolf consultingwolf consulting

After lunch, Julia Storm (North Carolina State University) presented a seminar on "The Agricultural Health Study: Findings Relevant to Applicators." This ongoing study has provided some critical information about how pesticides impact the heatlh of pesticide applicators and their families in agriculture. This proved to be a valuable update.

We next entered into a session to evaluate and seek input into updating our ancient strategic plan. The plan was last visited in 2002 and, as you can imagine, it created an interesting discussion. After much back and forth the group concluded that we would be better served by putting the plan into the hands of an ad hoc committee to revise. The draft (new) plan will likely be put out for comment, and then revised and approved by the leadership. Considering the array of opinions expressed at the session, this may take awhile. The notes taken there should be of great help to the committee as they move forward.

WANTED - Members to serve on a committee to revise the AAPSE Strategic Plan. The committee will be under the direction of the AAPSE leadership. If you have an interest in serving on this committee, please contact me. This will involve a great deal of work. But the outcome is so important to the organization. Selections will be based on balancing representation throughout the membership and the regions.

Discussions continued the next morning with an open Board of Directors meeting. Opinions flew around the room creating a highly charged networking environment that we haven't seen since our inception. It was a healthy discussion. Some folks got a little testy, but overall it was good for the organization.

The lively networking sessions in Harrisburg proved that AAPSE is strong and people care about one another and the organization. The feedback I got after the meeting has proven this. I have heard the comment that we tend to band together in clicks. I don't think that is anything more than friends gathering with one another. No one can be forced to socialize in any different fashion than this. What I saw in Harrisburg was an effort by friends seeking old friends. I also saw old friends making an effort to meet new members and new members reciprocating. I was quite encouraged by the number of new members who attended and quite excited to meet them. New members who have joined just this year are listed below.

With possible changes forthcoming to our organization's by-laws regarding our membership structure, we can conclude that the majority of our organization feel that no one individual or group of members is more important than any another. We are one organization regardless of membership status.

 Gary Fish - THANK YOU!

gary fish

Many of us have had the privilege to be friends with Gary Fish(Maine Department of Agriculture) for some time now. It's always amazing when you learn something new about a good friend. In this case, I was quite pleased to discover that Gary and I share the love of photography. Gary is an accomplished photographer and at the NE-PSEP workshop he offered many of his photographs for sale. At the end of the NE workshop, Gary announced that he was going to put his photographs up for silent auction through the AAPSE workshop, offering to donate the proceeds to the AAPSE treasury. As a result, Gary gave $210 to AAPSE. Truly a very generous act! I am asking that the organization join me in thanking Gary for his kind and thoughtful donation!



New AAPSE Fellows - Joanne Kick-Raack and Fred Whitford

joanne fellowfred fellow

At the national workshop, two members were awarded the status of AAPSE Fellow based on their many contributions to pesticide safety education. The fellow award is the highest honor that AAPSE can bestow on a member.

In 2013, the governor and First Lady of Ohio presented Joanne Kick-Raack an Ohio Agriculture Women of the Year Award. This highlights a career that is filled with similar accolades. It is only fitting that AAPSE choose Joanne as a fellow. She has served at the national and state level in Cooperative Extension, including serving as the Ohio State University PSEP coordinator. One of AAPSE's first woman presidents, Joanne led the organization during a time of funding turmoil and EPA reassessment of Cooperative Extension's role as the lead agency in training pesticide applicators. Joanne brought a great deal of respect for and recognition of the role of her colleagues on this subject. She worked in Washington as the interim national program leader in pesticide safety education. She has also worked in private industry and the public arena. Joanne retired from Ohio State University in 2010 but has kept active. We were so happy that she was able to make the trip to Harrisburg to receive the award.

Fred Whitford has produced some classic works in pesticide safety education during his 23-year tenure as PSEP coordinator at Purdue University. Fred directs Purdue Pesticide Programs. He is a prolific writer, talented presenter, innovator, AAPSE member, and leader in his field. Fred is an outstanding person, admired by his colleagues.

Dr. Whitford has written or coauthored more than 200 Extension and regulatory publications and research papers on a range of topics, including transporting agricultural products, petroleum and chemical storage tanks, flood planning and mitigation, and farm retail customer service. He also has penned two volumes on the history of Purdue agriculture and Extension. His books and colorful pesticide safety bulletin series are unique and epic in nature. Fred has collaborated on publications with government and law enforcement agencies, pesticide manufacturers, agribusiness leaders, law firms, and fellow university specialists.

In addition to his writings, Fred is a sought-after speaker. He has addressed more than 4,000 audiences at agricultural conferences, workshops, field days, and other events. His talks often are punctuated with humor and visual aids.

Fred serves on the boards of the National Agronomic Environmental Health and Safety School and the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators. Most recently, he was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Pesticide Safety Education.

Among his many awards, Whitford has been named the Mid-America CropLife Association Educator of the Year and received the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation Award of Achievement and Indiana Arborist Association Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, Fred received the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to the Rural People of Indiana. That award was presented by the Indiana Farm Bureau.

As with Joanne, it was an easy choice to add Fred to the unique fraternity of AAPSE fellows. These individuals are role models for pesticide safety educators everywhere.

Special Recognition Awards - Barry Brennan & Andrew Thostenson


As AAPSE president, one of the truly enjoyable tasks is to have the privilege to seek our individuals to give special recognition outside of the formal awards process. Every few years our presidents have made these awards to special indiviudals for their unique accomplishments and support of AAPSE.  This year I awarded special recognition to two incredible colleagues and friends.

Barry Brennan is one of those people who has served AAPSE in practically every way possible. One of AAPSE's founders, early presidents, fellow, and leader of practically every aspect of the organization, Barry retired in 2009. At least we think he did. At the time, we were able to convince him to serve as associate editor of the Journal of Pesticide Safety Education. Barry has contributed to JPSE as an author, reviewer, editor, and founder. His other career involved his service as PSEP coordinator, and later, an Extension administrator at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. After years of distinguished service, Barry has passed the baton as associate editor to Fred Whitford. The role of associate editor is the most demanding job associated with JPSE. This editor must clock in all of the submissions; work with the authors, reviewers, and other editors; read each manuscript; and provide feedback at every stop in the review and editorial process. It is a very consuming job. Barry did it well and yet took a great deal of flak from authors and reviewers in trying to do his job. Being the patient and congenial person that he is, the process worked very well. The number of articles submitted to the journal during his tenure has risen significantly, in no small part because Barry has promoted the journal and made the editorial process flow. With Barry's retirement from the journal board, Fred is going to have to fill some mighty big shoes. It was actually Barry who convinced Fred to replace him. In doing so, Barry put JPSE in very good hands. With this recognition, AAPSE thanks Barry for his dedication to and hard work for the organization through his most recent support of JPSE, the AAPSE anniversary in 2011, and working with the AAPSE Board to organize this year's national workshop.

Andrew Thostenson is a remarkable person! Serving as AAPSE's immediate past president, Andrew is a wise and talented leader who has served the organization extremely well. During his tenure as AAPSE president, Andrew initiated the organization of a national stakeholders team to support PSEP funding. The success of that incredible group of people can't be attributed to the work of only one person. But if there were a person who brought this concept to a reality and help guide it to its current state, it was Andrew. The group has made great gains since its inception, all to the benefit of us all. It is with great pleasure that we recognize Andrew Thostenson for his contributions to the national stakeholder team, contributing to solutions to the funding crisis in PSEP, and leading AAPSE so capabably during his tenure as president, and currently as immediate past president. The AAPSE leadership continues to depend on Andrew as a mentor, a trusted friend, and advisor with our decisions.

Thank you Andrew, and thank you Barry for all that you have done for us!!!

Change Coming to the Membership Policy

Over the past several years our organization has discussed changing the membership categories and privileges in order to bring more equality among AAPSE members. During the 2012 North Central PSEP workshop a discussion ensued to look into this issue. At the 2013 AAPSE meeting in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the AAPSE Board, with Andrew Thostenson at the helm, charged the membership committee of Dean Herzfeld and Drew Martin to investigate the membership issues and to report back to the board with their findings by early 2014. They came up with several areas in which change could be made and detailed the potential impact of such changes. They also gauged the feelings of the members they interviewed to develop their report.

The word from this committee was to proceed with caution as changes could forever alter the organization. During the time leading up to the national workshop in September, the AAPSE Board met and decided to poll the organization through a series of conference calls and meetings. The information that was reported back to the board was mixed in opinion. The western region seemed to fully support change; other regions had mixed feelings. Soon after this process began a group of members signed a petition to change the membership policy. Although this group did not represent the entire organization, the information was enlightening.

During a meeting of the board in July, we decided to formally survey the membership, giving each member a vote to either move forward with membership change or not. The survey had one question - "Are you in favor of opening up the opportunity for full membership in AAPSE to a broader range of people who provide pesticide safety education?" The outcome of that survey (a referendum of sorts) was released before the national workshop. The majority of AAPSE (full) members voted (over 85%) and of those who voted, over 77% voted in favor of change. During the national workshop the board met again. The meeting was open to the members present and the ensuing discussion involved much back and forth about membership changes. It was a healthy discussion, and much was said on both sides of the issue. Several members representing the three groups that make up AAPSE (Extension, regulatory, and industry) explained how they felt they fit within the organization. It turned out to be very enlightening to all. Some expressed disappointment, others not. The opinions were not entirely polarized between one groups. But once the discussion was done, the board voted to support the findings of the survey by moving ahead with membership policy restructuring. The board approved that the AAPSE officers (EC) appoint a committee of voting members to open up the by-laws and review the status and requirements for membership.

Once that is done, we will be required by the charter to formally (2/3 in favor) vote for any changes and alter our organization's membership structure accordingly. We are all hoping that once this is said and done, all members will consider their history with this organization and avoid jumping to conclusions as to how this outcome might affect them personally. I think if we examine the reality of what we are intending to do, we will conclude that very little will change to harm our organization. We will all still be here after the change, and what we do and how we do it will not change. We will be a new organization. But not so new that we won't recognize ourselves. We all have something in common, regardless of where we find our income - being advocates for pesticide safety education. Those of us who have been doing this for awhile need to set an example for our younger colleagues to work together for a healthy and active AAPSE.

I think if we had it to do over again, we might have considered that our organization is made up of two groups. One is the not-for-profit/government group and the other is the for-profit/industry group. That is really the only difference among us. It is basically the .org/.edu/.gov group and the .com group. So that is what we have to work with. We all joined because we have a passion for pesticide safety education. Nothing more divides us. So let's support one another to protect the public and the environment as we always have done.

Call for Member Involvement in Committees

AAPSE has a number of committees. We also have a number of members seeking to get involved. Our committees include the following:

If you would like to serve on one of these committees and get involved in governance, this is your opportunity. Please check these out and contact the chairs to ask if you can serve or help in any way. As another reminder, please see my note, under the annual meeting description above, regarding a need for members to serve on an ad hoc committee to revise the AAPSE strategic plan.

Committee chairs, please look at your committee's description listed on the website. If your committee is lacking this information, please look at the example set by the other committees. This will help your committee draft a description and goals. Once these are revised or established, please contact the chair of the committee on committees. Share your changes, and that person will then make sure the changes are reviewed and incorporated into the AAPSE website.

Finally, we needs liaisons, or representatives, to the following:

  • SFIREG-Pesticide Operations Management committee
  • SFIREG-Water Quality committee

If you would like to serve in one of these roles, please contact me.

New AAPSE Members for 2014 -- We now have a total of 184 active members!

It was refreshing to meet several new members who attended the AAPSE National Workshop. The workshop was open to any active member and all members were encouraged to attend. We had 58 attendees. Several of whom were new. We know this because we asked those in attendance to introduce themselves. As a result, I know that several of us made an effort to meet these new members during our time in Harrisburg. But we could have overlooked someone in this hectic environment.

There has been much discussion about formally mentoring new members. A few members have taken the leadership to task about this subject. There are only a few people leading the organization. The true strength of this organization is in its members - all 184 of YOU. That number, by the way, is an increase over the 175 members we had on the books earlier this year. If you really feel strongly about AAPSE mentoring, please ask yourself, "what have I done to contribute to this need?" "What have I done to provide service to AAPSE?" Do you know all the new members in your region? Have you made an effort to introduce yourself or ask a new member what you can do to help them acclimate to their new job or membership in the organization? I know during my 35-year career as a PSEP coordinator, I have made an effort to mentor new people. Many are my close friends as a result. Mentoring starts with each AAPSE member doing their part to meet and socialize with one another. YOU are AAPSE - we need your assistance on behalf of all. Rather than pass this need to someone else by protesting, make an effort to serve your organization by helping out.

Based on current membership roles, here are individuals who have joined AAPSE for the first time in 2014. Please make an effort to welcome them. If you don't know these individuals, especially if they are in your region, please make an effort to contact them. Welcome - new members - to our organization!

Steve Alm
University of Rhode Island
9 E. Alumni Ave.
212 Woodward Hall
Kingston, Rhode Island 02881-0816

Amanda Bachmann
Pesticide Education & Urban Entomology Field Specialist
South Dakota State University
412 W. Missouri Ave.
Pierre,South Dakota 57501

Damisi M. Bailey
Graduate Student
Virginia Tech
216A Price Hall MC (0319)
Blacksburg,Virginia 24061

Gerald Blase
National Railroad Contractors Association
708 Blair Mill Rd.
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania 19090

Michelle Frank
Pesticide and Invasive Plant Coordinator
USDA Forest Service-Southern Region
1720 Peachtree Rd.
NW Rm 816 N
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Jan Hygnstrom
Extension Project Manager
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68583-0971

Susan Kelner
Program Coordinator
University of Guelph<
120 Main St. East
Ridgetown,Ontario N0P 2C0

Gwendolyn Lohbrunner
IPM License Officer
BC Ministry of Environment
PO Box 9341
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria,British Columbia V8W 9M1 Canada

Dana McGinty
Assistant Director- Pesticides, Certification and Training
Arkansas State Plant Board
PO Box 1069
Little Rock,AR 72203

John Nabors
Green Industry Training Coordinator
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
PO Box 383031
Birmingham,AL 35238-3031

Hector Nunez-Contreras
Extension Program Associate
Penn State University
0114 Buckhout Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802

Lynn Van Maanen
Project Coordinator
University of Guelph
120 Main St. East
Ridgetown, Ontario N0P 2C0<

Robin Tutor-Marcom
Director, NC Agromedicine Institute
East Carolina University
1157 VOA Site C Rd.
Greenville, North Carolina 27834

Michelle Starke
Weed Management Stewardship Lead
53 Pensacola Ct.
O'Fallon, Missouri 63368

Brian Verehougstraete
Pesticide Registration Specialist
Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development
PO Box 30017
East Lansing,MI 48909

Whitney Weaver
Media Specialist & Youth Outreach Coordinator
Virginia Tech
302 Agnew Hall
Blacksburg,VA 24061

Michael Wierda
Assistant in Extension
University of Arizona<
37860 West Smith-Enke
Maricopa, AZ 85238

Ryan Williams
Pesticide Programs Administrator
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture
2800 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software