Many films have picked Ridgefield as a location, but this is the first time our local ticks have played a starring role. Tick researchers at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) together with their Media Services Department and the Ridgefield BLAST Prevention Program began filming their first Lyme disease public service campaign in July at various Ridgefield residential locations.
The campaign, led by medical entomologist and associate professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Neeta Connally, includes five videos teaching effective ways to reduce the number of ticks in backyard settings. The series, titled “Spray Safe, Play Safe”, will answer many of the tick-borne disease prevention questions that Connally, a Ridgefield resident and scientific advisor for the town’s BLAST Prevention Program, is regularly asked by friends, neighbors, and other members of the community. The short films explain the science behind backyard tick treatment choices, both synthetic and natural, so that residents can make informed decisions when selecting tick control products or hiring companies to help with backyard tick management. “We are often approached by homeowners who want to know the best ways to reduce ticks near their home and protect their families from Lyme disease. Sometimes they find the information available to them to be a little confusing or hard to navigate,” Connally explained. “Our goal is to create short informational videos and decision-making tools that simplify the science into a more understandable format. We want to help residents avoid practices that can increase pesticide exposure risk to themselves or to the environment, or that may be ineffective at reducing risk.” The videos will debut with a “Spray Safe, Play Safe” movie premiere at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Spring 2019, and event sponsors include Western Connecticut Health Network and Lyme Connection. Some well-known community members, including First Selectman Rudy Marconi, are supporting the effort by making cameo appearances in the short videos.