Polaris Orchard Integrated Pest Management
Polaris Orchard Integrated Pest Management

for New England


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About Polaris Orchard Management

Polaris Orchard Management is basically me, Kathleen Leahy: an IPM consultant full time for 15 years, after 10 years working for UMass Extension’s Apple IPM Program. Currently, the orchard consulting covers about 900 acres, along with research projects in collaboration with UMass, Cornell, the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1.

Two intertwined motivations keep me working with tree fruit IPM: helping my growers to maintain a healthy and sustainable orchard ecosystem, and helping to keep their family farms economically viable. I have found that most of the growers that I have encountered are deeply concerned about protecting the environment; if the tools for ecologically sensitive and effective pest management are made available, the growers will adopt them with enthusiasm. I hope to continue to work in this field for a long time, to find the best methods of preserving both orchards and the local environment.

Copyright 2009: Mary Gillis
©Mary Gillis

As a person interested in insect behavior and pest management, I find apples to be an especially fascinating environment because of their longevity, and because of the variety of organisms that call an apple orchard “home” (and, alas for pest management, the enormous number that call an apple orchard “food”). As a human being, I have found the diverse personalities, and the intelligence, integrity and community spirit displayed by many growers, researchers, and consultants to be a constant source of inspiration and delight.

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