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Teaching Greenhouse Recognized in Broome County’s Green Initiative

The Broome County Legislature recognized the Biological Science Department’s E.W. Heier Teaching Greenhouse on April 23 in a Proclamation as part of the Legislature's 2nd Green Initiative program. The E. W. Heier Teaching Greenhouse was recognized for "exemplary leadership and innovative practice to improve and protect our environment, and for implementation of a policy in which beneficial insects are used as a means of pest control. The E.W. Heier Teaching Greenhouse has through their research advanced the field of non-chemical pesticides, which will benefit the people of Broome County and beyond..."

Greenhouse manager Laurie Kasperek began a bio-pesticide program in the E. W. Heier Teaching Greenhouse’s 12,500 square foot collection houses in February 2008. This program reduced annual chemical pesticide applications from 44 to 6 applications in 2008. The program is well on its way to replacing the dependence on chemical pesticide applications with beneficial insects and other bio-pesticide methods. Four species of beneficial insects have thus far been used in the greenhouses: a parasitic wasp for control of the sweet potato whitefly; a parasitic spider mite for control of the two-spotted spider mite; lacewings for control of the long-tailed mealybug; and the Mealybug Destroyer, a tropical lady bug (Cryptolaemus) for control of the citrus mealybug.

After the initial cost to establish the beneficial insect program, the cost for maintenance will be far lower than the costs associated with the use of pesticides. Many pests tend to develop resistance to certain chemical groups of pesticides. Reduction in the use of pesticides will allow for continued utility of those chemicals, an important benefit since these are also used to eliminate pests that prey on agricultural crops. The plants are shinier and no longer have a pesticide film; and the greenhouse environment is cleaner, safer and healthier for all inhabitants of the building and visitors to the greenhouses.

The greenhouse is adjacent to Science III. Greenhouse visiting hours are Monday to Friday 9 A.M. to 4 P.M.

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Last Updated: 8/26/09