Bio-Control in the Wood River Valley

Sponsored by:

Environmental Resource Center

Project Champion:

Hadley DeBree

What are the appropriate grade levels:

3rd through 12th Grade

Is there a limit to the number of participants:


Is there an opportunity for community service:


Is this a new or existing project:

New Project


The ERC’s Pesticide Action program is working to reduce the use of dangerous pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers in the Wood River Valley, particularly in areas where youth play. The ERC, in collaboration with the Forest Service and Blaine County Noxious Weed Department, maintains the Wood River Community Knapweed Bio-Control Insectary at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area Headquarters where root-boring weevils (insects) are being grown to provide a non-chemical method of weed control to the Valley. Currently it costs /weevil; however, with this local insectary, each weevil will be given out free of charge and will be more effective as it will be habituated to our local ecosystem.

In this project, the ERC will come into your classroom to give an introduction to noxious weeds, biocontrol, and weevils. Students will then take a field trip to the insectary, where they will see the insectary hands-on; help with the maintenance of the insectary (age-dependent); and take a guided walk around the insectary and learn about other native plants and pollinators.


In an effort to control weeds, landowners often rely on chemicals that are destructive to native plant communities and harmful to environmental and human health. Chemicals are used every day to maintain school grounds, playing fields and public paths, unnecessarily exposing our community to carcinogens, asthmagens and developmental toxins. In Blaine County, a minimum of 11 pesticides are routinely sprayed, many of which are known neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors that cause reproductive damage and are linked to various cancers. The mission of the ERC’s Pesticide Action program is therefore to reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers in the Wood River Valley. The Pesticide Action program is educating to activate – encouraging individuals, businesses, and agencies to recognize the effects we have on our lands, animals, plants and own livelihood; take responsibility for these actions; and encourage them to make changes to create a healthier environment and community.

The ERC can make its classroom visit at any point; however, the field trip component will need to take place in late April or May when snow has melted from the insectary.

Project Images

Click on image for larger view