Training store employees to understand and promote less-toxic pest management solutions has been an important part of the Our Water Our World program since the beginning. In 2011, supported by a Pest Management Alliance grant from the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), the IPM Advocates program launched, bringing more resources to stores and customers. In 2013 the Advocates received DPR’s IPM Award for its retail store training program.
After training by the University of California IPM Program, Advocates are assigned to stores, where they pass on their knowledge to staff and (in non-pandemic times) hold educational events for customers. The OWOW program believes that excellent relations between the Advocates and store management and staff are key to the successful promotion of less-toxic, eco-friendly projects.
IPM Advocate activities include managing product labeling, information kiosks, and one on one customer problem resolution. In addition, the Advocates provide IPM trainings for store staff, and host webinars and events for customers.