Joe Covert and Eric Adams look at a native Red Bud recently planted as
part of the Native Habitat Restoration on Big Chico Creek. (photo KM)
In March 1997, Adams, a groundskeeper, approached Covert, manager of grounds and building trades,with the idea of a more organic approach to current pesticide use. After much research, investigation, and support from Covert, Adams developed a safer approach to pesticide use, one that emits fewer chemicals into the air. Metrix, one of the new organic pesticides being used, is injected into the ground where it is taken up systemically by the plant and is not harmful to humans, mammals, and insects that don't eat the plant. Organic pesticides also dissipate much faster than inorganic ones, breaking down within twenty-four hours and leaving residues compatible with the environment. This and other improvements are being implemented in almost every area of campus, including the rose garden, golf greens, and athletic fields.
"Because Joe Covert gave his support to the development of a more environmentally safe pesticide program, Chico State is a safer place," said Adams. "This coming season our new program will fully swing into action."
Adams and Covert have planned several other improvements, but right now they are in the process of working with Paul E. Maslin, a professor in Biological Sciences, on a project called the Native Habitat Restoration on Big Chico Creek. This is a project where they are replacing plants that are not natives to this area, such as English Ivy and Vinca Minors, with native plants like California Blackberries and Red Buds.
"There is always room for improvement. We have just begun recycling leaves into mulch, and we could still use some improvements in how we gather those leaves," said Covert. "Our current method emits a lot of dust and dirt into the air."
Adams has been interested in horticulture since he was in junior high and started his own lawn mowing business. But what started him thinking about making enviromentally friendly changes in the pesticide program at California State University, Chico was the fact that he could not drink his own water.
"Everyone in my neighborhood has to drink bottled water because of pollution; in my opinion there is something wrong with that," said Adams. "Using more environmentally friendly techniques and chemicals is the good thing and the right thing to do."