URI to host Tick Control Awareness Day, June 7

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Event features exhibits, demos, dog walk, Girl Scout badge, more

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 27, 2008 – Disease transmitting ticks are back in abundance, and Rhode Islanders can learn how to control ticks in their yard, prevent tick bites and protect pets from ticks while also enjoying a festive atmosphere at the third annual Tick Control Awareness Summer Wellness Festival on June 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island athletics fields next to the Ryan Center.

The event will feature tick bite prevention demonstrations and workshops, educational exhibits, keynote speakers on a variety of subjects, raffles, and a wide range of vendors and non-profit groups offering products, services and information about how to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about ticks. Those in attendance will be able to assemble a tick bite prevention kit for the family, and children of all ages can climb a rock wall and participate in other fun activities.The event is sponsored by NBC10 WJAR , The Bartlett Tree Experts, Bayer Animal Health, CVS/Caremark, Imugen Inc, and Cardis Furniture.

“Lyme disease is an increasing hazard in Rhode Island, and it costs municipalities and residents of the state between $10 and $30 million every year. But by building awareness about the ready availability of simple tick-bite prevention solutions, Rhode Island can lead the nation in reducing the impact of ticks and tick-transmitted disease,” said Entomology Professor Thomas Mather, director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease and coordinator of tick control prevention activities around the state.

One highlight of the event will be the one-mile “We Hate Ticks, Too” dog walk around the URI campus beginning at 10 a.m. Participants are encouraged to seek sponsors to raise money for tick control education programs. All walkers will receive door prizes, but those who raise more than $50 will also receive an event t-shirt. Special prizes will be awarded to the two walkers who raise the most in sponsorships for scholarships.

In addition, the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island have developed a tick control awareness badge, and many of the requirements for earning the badge can be accomplished at Tick Control Awareness Day. For details, contact Pat Smith at the Girl Scouts at psmith@gsri.org.

As part of this year’s Tick Control Awareness program, a 24-minute documentary film about ticks and Lyme disease, called Hidden in the Leaves, will premiere on June 4 at 7 p.m. at URI’s Chafee Social Science Center. Additional screenings will take place at the Cross Mills Public Library in Charlestown on June 3, Warwick Public Library on June 5 and the Greene Public Library in Coventry on June 17. It will also be broadcast on Rhode Island public television on June 15, 18, 22 and 27.

The event is sponsored by NBC10 WJAR , The Bartlett Tree Experts, Bayer Animal Health, CVS/Caremark, Imugen Inc, and Cardi’s Furniture.

For more information about Tick Control Awareness Day, visit www.tickencounter.org or call 401-874-2928.