The following history was presented in 1997 at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Utah Mosquito Abatement Association
50 Years of the UMAA - Historical Highlights and Benefits
Glen C. Collett, Executive Director
It is a privilege for me to present this brief history and benefits of the Utah Mosquito Abatement Association (UMAA) on this fifty-year anniversary. Reviewing proceedings from annual meetings, minutes of the board meetings, resolutions adopted, and committee reports related to the past fifty years, it is obvious that only highlights can be mentioned in this presentation.
Having spent many hours during the past month reading much of the material in these reports, I find the achievements of the UMAA remarkable. The first meeting of the mosquito control agencies in Utah was held in the Salt Lake Tribune Auditorium, Saturday, March 20, 1948. This meeting was arranged by Dr. Don M. Rees and resulted in the organization of the UMAA. Five papers were presented. Reports were given by the four districts that were established prior to this meeting.
Our four pioneering districts were:
Salt Lake City MAD, organized in 1924; twenty-one years later Box Elder County MAD was organized in 1945; followed by Magna MAD in 1946, and Weber County MAD in 1947.
In the June 1948 issue of AMCA Mosquito News Dr. Rees submitted a brief report on the News & Notes section on the organization of UMAA with the following officers elected:
Don M. Rees, President
Robert Wilkins, Supervisor of the Salt Lake City MAD, Vice President
Roy Tygesen, Board of Trustees of Magna MAD, Secretary-Treasurer
The remainder of the Executive Committee consisted of the Presidents of the four mosquito abatement districts. Dr. Rees stated the organization would function informally until a Constitution and By-laws were prepared and accepted by the Association.
A letter dated August 11, 1948, prepared for circulation to various agencies by the officers of the Association stated:
“The Utah Mosquito Abatement Association was organized in March of this year to promote close cooperation among those directly and indirectly concerned with, or interested in, mosquito control and related work; to increase the knowledge of mosquito abatement; and to advance the cause of mosquito abatement in the state of Utah.”
This statement still applies fifty years later.
Dr. Rees served as President for the next three years.
The second annual meeting was a two-day meeting held March 18-19, 1949, at the University of Utah. Twenty-five papers were presented along with reports from the original four mosquito abatement districts.
This second annual meeting had an impressive program which began a tradition of having out-of-state speakers take part in annual meetings.
Five speakers were from California and included Harold Grey, President of the AMCA; as well as Ed Washburn, President of the California Mosquito Control Association. Fred Harmston of the U.S. Public Health Service also spoke. The U.S. Public Health Service has participated in most of the meetings since that time.
From the initial four districts of 1948, the UMAA has grown to 17 districts.
We have had experts, world renowned in their fields, take part in these meetings. The Association has given graduate students the opportunity to present papers on their research related to mosquitoes, other vectors, and other aspects of control. Many have gone on to make major contributions in mosquito control and related areas.
Untold benefits resulted from exhibitor participation in these meetings. These exhibitors presented information on the development of new materials and equipment. Exhibitor support made a great contribution to the meetings. In a survey of District managers on benefits received from UMAA membership, the majority said up-to-date information gained at the annual meetings and the opportunity to meet in the informal discussions with other members were the most valuable benefits.
An average of thirty papers have been presented at each annual meeting. During our fifty year history over 1,500 papers have been presented. An additional 500 papers have been given at the four AMCA meetings which were held in Utah.
Papers from many states have made up the fifteen hundred presentations. It is worth mentioning that there have been approximately 175 presented from California. This indicates the great support given to the Association from California since the 2nd Annual Meeting.
Approximately 2/3 of the papers presented at annual meetings have been published in the Proceedings. The Proceedings serve as an archive of the development that has taken place in mosquito control in Utah and other regions of the country the past fifty years.
The Association has hosted four AMCA meetings. The first was 1952 when Dr. Rees was President of the National Association. The next was 1959, again in 1980, and this past March, 1997. This past March’s meeting was the largest in attendance and was the most financially successful of any previous AMCA meeting.
In addition to hosting four AMCA meetings, the annual meeting in 1984 in Salt Lake was held jointly with the Society for Vector Ecology. This 16th Annual Conference of SOVE was the first time the meeting was held outside of California.
In 1987 a joint meeting with the West Central Mosquito and Vector Control Association was held in Park City. In 1994 a joint meeting with the Nevada Mosquito Control Districts was held in Wendover, NV.
Many training courses for district personnel have been held since the organization of the UMAA. Dr. Harry Pratt, Chief of the Insect and Rodent Control Training Branch of CDC, Atlanta, on two occasions came to Utah to conduct training sessions.
The first training course was held at the CDC Logan Field Station in 1955. The second was held in Farmington, Utah, February 4-8, 1958.
In 1989, American Cyanamid’s public relations firm from New Jersey came to Salt Lake and presented training for district managers on how to handle TV interviews. Each manager was interviewed and videotaped. The video was then shown to the group and critiqued. A year later the public relations team returned and repeated the training.
Committees have consistently played a major role in carrying out the goals and benefits of the Association. For the past seventeen years, the Spring Workshop Committee, with Dr. Lewis T. Nielsen as chairman, has organized training for district employees. Topics were chosen to teach needed skills to new and returning seasonal employees.
The following are examples of topics that have been presented: Responsibilities of Mosquito Abatement Employees; BTI, what is it? Pesticides and Their Safe Use in Mosquito Control; Utah’s Important Pest Mosquitoes; Liability Management; It Can Happen to You, Safety Video; Guidelines for ULV Adulticiding; Importance of Accurate Record Keeping; Proper Dipping for Mosquito Larvae; Mosquito Habitats; Too Much and Too Little (pesticide); and Public Relations. The average yearly employee attendance for these workshops is 105.
Over the past years, the Pesticide Committee has arranged mosquito resistance tests on five different occasions. This Committee has drawn up product specifications and compiled quantities of pesticides needed by the districts for the joint purchase of materials.
The Legislative Committee’s major responsibility over the years has been to monitor potential legislation. Many bills that would have had detrimental impact on mosquito abatements were modified or killed as a result of the efforts of our committee.
The UMAA joined the Utah Association of Special Districts when it was organized in 1990. Robert J. Brand was the UMAA Representative for 1990-91. As chairman of the UMAA Legislative Committee, Kenneth Minson, has been our representative with this group the past six years. Ken has spent untold hours and has done an outstanding service for the mosquito control districts in the state.
The Utah Mosquito Control/Fish and Wildlife Committee was established in 1962 to deal with conflicts that may arise between these two agencies.
Since the mid 1960’s the Encephalitis Surveillance Committee has set the budget and arranged for laboratory work on blood samples from the sentinel chicken flocks. The data is used by districts to monitor mosquito-borne viruses.
It is obvious that the UMAA during the past fifty years has been a strength to the districts in the state. Regardless of district size, all have greatly benefited by working together as an Association.