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Exemplary Pesticide Programs

Annual pesticide programming excellence awards are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These are presented at the annual pesticide safety educators workshop to teams and individuals who are nominated by their peers for their excellent programs in pesticide safety, disposal and recycling throughout Virginia.

2010 Award Winners

On September 8, 2010, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board recognized 20 Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists for their outstanding participation in the pesticide container recycling program, the pesticide disposal program and pesticide safety education courses. The following agents were recognized for their outstanding performance during 2009 - 2010:


Since 2002, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board have recognized Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists for their outstanding participation in the pesticide container recycling program, the pesticide disposal program and pesticide safety education courses. In 2010 the following agents were recognized for their outstanding performance:


Pesticide Container Recycling Program

The Plastic Pesticide Container Recycling award was given to KELVIN WELLS, Extension Agent in Sussex County, for contributing approximately 7,360 pounds of the statewide total of nearly 47,000 pounds of properly rinsed plastic pesticide containers and for possessing the many attributes that ensure a successful program. These attributes include flexibility, maintaining open communication with the project partners, ability to formulate a complete a thorough administrative plan and exhibiting a high degree of professionalism throughout the process.


Pesticide Disposal Program

For their combined efforts, the award for the Pesticide Disposal Program went to Extension Agents WATSON LAWRENCE, Chesapeake; CYNDI WYSKIEWICZ, Portsmouth; and CAL SCHIEMAN, Virginia Beach. This year’s winning trio excelled at both cooperation and collaboration, including local coordination and site selection; notifying agricultural producers and homeowners of the availability of the pesticide disposal program, including location and the date of collection, and educating agricultural producers and homeowners on proper storage and disposal of unwanted pesticides.  This trio ensured representation during the event and exemplified the type of cooperation needed for program success. These three Tidewater agents collected xx pounds out of a total statewide effort of 95,506 pounds of unwanted or unused pesticides collected.


Pesticide Safety Education



Procrastinator’s Commercial Pesticide Applicators Recertification Training and Last Call Commercial Pesticide Applicators Recertification Training

We would like to recognize the following winners for their accomplishments:

DEBBIE DILLION (Loudoun), PAIGE THACKER (Prince William), ADRIA BORDAS (Fairfax), TIM OHLWILLER (Fauquier), KIRSTEN BUHLS (Arlington),  ADAM DOWNING (Madison), SUE NAILLE and LESLIE BLISCHAK (Loudoun), Extension Specialist LLOYD HIPKINS (Virginia Tech) and FRANK FILIPY and TOM BURKE (VDACS).

Our first place award recognizes a team of agents who provided two critical recertification opportunities to green industry applicators during June and July of 2009, when opportunities were scarce and demand was high as the commercial certification year was closing. The agents found a free location with space enough to seat over 100 participants as well as room to incorporate a “round robin” series of active, hands-on stations to cover PPE, pesticide storage, spill clean-up, and laundering pesticide contaminated clothing.  New topics covered included “When Green Ain’t Good – Common Invasive Plants”, and the new and exotic insect pests appearing in Virginia. A total of 153 commercial applicators participated in these classes.  Evaluations completed by all participants provided a wealth of information on impacts, attitudes, and interests of the attendees. Their comments included “the best class since becoming certified-20 years ago!”  As a result of the programs, 98% wrote that they now knew how to comply with state and federal laws and regulations, read labels and used the required PPE. Because of the positive impact these programs had on the green industry, and with the possibility of reaching so many industry customers, our first place award.



Registered Technician Pesticide Certification and Registered Technician and Commercial Applicator Pesticide Recertification, June 16-18, 2009 and March 19, 2010.


We would like to recognize the following winners for their accomplishments: 
TAYLOR CLARKE (Mecklenburg) CYNTHIA GREGG (Brunswick), BRUCE JONES (Appomattox), BOB JONES (Charlotte), DAVID SMITH (Cumberland), former agent GRACE HITE (Halifax),  ERIC BOWEN (Goochland/Powhatan), MIKE PARRISH (Dinwiddie), former agents KATIE BAKER (Lunenburg) and BRENT CLAYTON (Prince Edward), Extension Specialists CHARLES JOHNSON and PAUL SEMTNER (Southern Piedmont Agriculture and Research Educational Center (AREC)), and VICKIE RENGERS and MIKE ELLIOTT (VDACS).

The second place award in the Pesticide Safety Education category goes to a group of agents who recognized the need for a formal training program for prospective Registered Technicians in their area, as well as ongoing recertification support for these applicators once they had passed their exams. The instructors used a variety of teaching methods for the Registered Technician certification training, including PowerPoint presentations, hands-on instruction and demonstrations. Since the three days of training was hosted at their area AREC, students were given the opportunity to work hands-on with equipment and calibrate sprayers, assemble and use a spill kit, and work with Personal Protective Equipment. A testing session was scheduled three weeks after the training. Pre- and post-training evaluations showed a significant increase in pesticide safety knowledge, and 83 percent of those taking the Registered Technician exam passed. The recertification class, offered nine months after the initial training and testing, offered attendees the opportunity to recertify in Ag Pest Plant, Turf and Right of Way categories and reinforce the lessons taught previously on pesticide safety. The two courses had a total of 27 participants including employees of municipalities, schools, and agribusinesses.


The pesticide storage information provided in the training was credited with improving the pesticide storage unit being planned for a new county maintenance building. Participants all rated the recertification class as very good to excellent and affirmed that they understood how to comply with pesticide laws and regulations, read pesticide labels and wear the appropriate PPE.



Development and Adoption of IPM Elements with Hands-on Applications for Christmas Tree Growers", June 27, 2009;


For their work in the development and adoption of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Elements for Christmas Tree Growers we recognize WYTHE MORRIS, Carroll County; KEVIN SPURLIN, Grayson County, and BRYAN DAVIS, North Carolina Extension with the third place award for Pesticide Safety Education.

This group’s work began in response to a controversy involving pesticide use on Christmas trees in Grayson County. Growers asked for a tool to improve public relations. Virginia Tech Pesticide Programs through the support of the Southern IPM Center, developed a set of IPM Elements for Christmas tree growers. The agents being recognized incorporated the elements into their pesticide and pest management training over the past several years.


They met with Mount Rogers area growers on a continuous basis through one-on-one farm visits, association meetings and pesticide applicator recertification workshops. In each, the elements were used as the keystone of their training. The impact of this effort has been the adoption of this tool by the industry as standard operating practices in integrated pest management. This program serves as a model for others to adopt the IPM Elements tool into other crops across Virginia. Growers who have adopted the elements are reducing pesticide use and establishing a branded crop in the area based on sound and environmentally-friendly IPM practices.  The elements are being adopted to operate a new state-run Frasier fir seedling nursery being located in the area. The elements are now an integral part of pesticide safety education in the region. Theirs is truly an innovative, proactive approach to training and promises to not only help the industry enhance profitability, but also protect the environment and public health through reduced pesticide use and safe practices.


VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr and Deputy Director Sandra J. Adams presented each agent with a commemorative plaque and a gift basket of Virginia's Finest products on behalf of the Virginia Pesticide Control Board.


Extension agents or district directors, Virginia Tech Pesticide Program personnel or Office of Pesticide Services investigators interested in nominating someone for a 2011 award should contact VDACS’ Office of Pesticide Services at (804) 371-6558.


Article written by:  Elaine J. Lidholm,

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, P.O. BOX 1163, RICHMOND, VA 23218,, (804) 786-7686

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