Making green decisions about home and garden pest management products at the store is now a snap. Shoppers now have a new resource at retailers throughout Napa County: employees trained by professionals who have spent a rigorous year volunteering in retail nurseries, hardware stores and garden centers, educating and training store employees about less-toxic pest management products and methods.

These professionals, called Integrated Pest Management Advocates, have been taught by top experts from the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UCIPM) and professionals in the nursery industry.

The advocates then spent nearly one year with store managers, buyers and retail associates training and guiding them toward effective pest management products and techniques with the least impact on the environment. The program was funded by a Pest Management Alliance grant from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and is getting a boost of new funding from the U.S EPA’s San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund.

This program is an offshoot of the already successful “Our Water, Our World” (OWOW) program, sponsored by the Napa Countywide Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program and other Bay Area stormwater agencies.

OWOW raises awareness about the connection between pesticide use and water quality by providing point-of-purchase information to consumers about integrated pest management (IPM) and less-toxic pest control alternatives. OWOW developed 30 fact sheets (all translated in Spanish) describing less-toxic pest management tips for specific pests. These fact sheets are placed in retail nursery and hardware stores along with ‘shelf-talkers’ (shelf tags) below selected products on store shelves to make it easier for shoppers to identify safer alternatives to conventional pesticides.

Consumers should look for the OWOW logo and approved products in one of the following local stores: Central Valley Builders Supply in St. Helena and Napa, Steves Hardware in St. Helena, Silverado Ace Hardware in Calistoga, and Mid City Nursery in American Canyon. Participating Napa retailers include Home Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware, Zeller’s Ace Hardware and Van Winden Nursery.

“This program is really about helping consumers all over Napa County. It can be overwhelming to make choices at the store because of the breadth of products available,” explains County Stormwater Program Manager Jamison Crosby.

For more information on less toxic gardening products and water pollution prevention tips, visit