In our modern, chemical-filled world, many parents are constantly guarding their kids against exposure to pesticides and other potential health threats. Today I want to shine the light on just one of those hardworking parents: a mom named Andrea Stish.
Andrea recently moved to Rochester, Minnesota with her husband and their toddler. Since then, Andrea has been working tirelessly to protect her daughter from pesticides at city parks and in their own neighborhood. Now she's taking her case to city officials, calling for a commitment to pesticide-free parks and playgrounds to protect all the city's kids.
I first spoke with Andrea late last year, when she applied to participate in PAN’s Drift Catcher program.
We normally focus our air monitoring in agricultural areas, not in the kind of suburban neighborhood where Andrea’s family lives. But before I had a chance to turn her away, Andrea sold me on her immense concern for the health of her daughter, and on her strong resolve to make real changes in the city of Rochester around pesticide use.
So Andrea joined our Drift Catcher program, and we’ve been in touch since about her air monitoring efforts and well as the great steps she’s taken to lobby the Rochester City Council.
Andrea’s goal is to get the city of Rochester to adopt regulations about neighborhood spraying of pesticides, and to stop spraying pesticides in parks and school playgrounds altogether. From her petition:
Increased common sense pesticide regulations are necessary in the suburban setting, including at minimum, mandatory posting around the entire property, mandatory 48-hour written pre-notification to neighbors, and bans on their use in areas frequented by children, such as daycares and preschools, among others.
Similarly, the City of Rochester, Minnesota should follow the lead of pesticide policies in Canada and cities in the United States by adopting pesticide free management policies on publicly managed spaces.
She’s already met with city council members, launched a petition, published a letter to the editor, and enlisted several national organizations to help amplify her voice.
It’s not easy to make these kinds of changes, but Andrea is off to a great start. That’s why I wanted to take a moment today to ask you to help her succeed. You can sign her petition, no matter where you live, and send it on to others. And if you’re truly inspired by Andrea’s efforts, you can press for pesticide-free schools, parks and playgrounds in your own city or town.