National Wildlife Federation Teams up With Scotts Miracle Gro?

[ Update: my interview with David Mizejewski of NWF defending this decision]

No, that title  is not a mistake. The National Wildlife Federation and Scotts Miracle Gro have teamed up. This was rumored to be taking place several months ago, but today it has become a reality. While my heart sank when I read the news, I had to ask myself WHY?

Why would an organization whose goal is to educate homeowners, schools, and communities about the value of creating wildlife habitat and protecting the environment team up with a corporation who sells billions of dollars of pesticides and other chemicals a year? Scotts also has exclusive distribution right in the US for Roundup, which is owned by Monsanto. Doesnt seem to make a lot of sense, does it?

To understand whats going on we first have to understand the concept of greenwashing. Heres my definition:

Greenwashing occurs when one corporation with a tarnished environmental reputation wants to make itself look like it really does care about the environment. So this company pays a LOT of money to an organization that (up until now) has a really good reputation in environmental advocacy.

This way the company with the bad reputation can show off what a good thing it is doing. Youve heard of guilt by association, right? Well greenwashing is the opposite. Its trying to associate environmental good deeds by being associated with someone who can make them look better.

As far as Im concerned, there is no amount of greenwashing in the world that can clean up the reputation of Scotts.

On the other hand, why would the National Wildlife Federation want to enter into this deal with the devil? Well, theyre a non-profit organization that exists through the generosity of their donors. And what better way to fill their coffers than to enter into an agreement with a company that generates billions of dollars of profits every year?

Who cares if that company makes those billions from dumping tons and tons of chemical herbicides and pesticides into our lawns and gardens which then runs off wreaking havoc with our streams and watersheds?

I care!

I can totally understand Scotts desire for this partnership. Really, who wouldnt want to have the stamp of approval from one of the most well known wildlife protection, habitat creation, environmental advocates in the country?

As far as why the National Wildlife Federation is concerned, though, all I can say is that I am deeply saddened that they would take this path. My respect for them is greatly diminished by this action, and in my mind they have lost all credibility.

Im also sad because I have many dear online friends who work for NWF, amazing folks who are doing wonderful work in helping people create wildlife habitat in their gardens, schools, and communities, working to protect wildlife and their natural habitats, working to make the world a better place.

I love these people as individuals and totally support their work! But I am very troubled by this announcement, nonetheless :(

This partnership is for a very good project, to advance NWFs nationwide Be Out There initiative to connect children with nature. Of course Im a big advocate of creating more opportunities for children to be outside, to play and explore the wonders of nature around them!

I mean who can argue with this:

National Wildlife Federation and Scotts are committed to getting millions more children to play outdoors on a regular basis. This relationship is a win for American childhood, because together we will help families raise healthier and happier children who have a lifelong commitment to protecting wildlife and the natural world, said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of NWF. Through this new partnership,  ScottsMiracle-Gro will help NWFs Be Out There initiative create events, tools and resources that inspire parents to make nature a part of their familys everyday lives.  ~From the press release sent out by Scotts

But lets think about what kids naturally do while theyre playing, they roll around on the ground, they put their hands in their mouths. Do you really want your kids eating these chemicals? I wouldnt imagine you would!

The question is, what do we do about this? Well our voices may not compare to large sums of money, but we still have a voice, and we can tell NWF directly how this partnership makes us feel:

  • Post your thoughts on NWFs facebook page (make sure you click the tab that says Everyone under the photo bar)
  • Tweet your message to NWF on twitter, including @NWF in your message
  • Call NWF:  1-800-822-9919 ; M-F 8 a.m to 8 p.m. EST
  • Leave a comment on their webiste

So what are your thoughts on this partnership?

[Update 1, 1/24/12 9:04 am: I'll be interviewing David Mizejewski from NWF later this afternoon. What would you like me to ask him? Please post your questions here and I'll make sure to include them in my interview.] 

[Update 2, 1/24/12/ 6:02 pm:]

I spoke with David Mizejewski, spokesperson for the National Wildlife Federation about the partnership between NWf and Scotts Miracle Gro this afternoon (Ill publish that interview tomorrow), and I firmly believe that they have a serious messaging problem. It feels like they are tying themselves in knots trying to defend the indefensible.

See Davids comment below. Do you have any clue how they think that the National Wildlife Federation hopes to continue its mission of creating wildlife habitat while at the same time partnering with a chemical company whose products kill wildlife? Neither do I!

While David is passionate about creating wildlife habitat, protecting songbirds, and reaching more people to help them learn to create more habitat for wildlife in their gardens (and I have long respected and admired his work), I am having a very difficult time understanding how NWF thinks they can overcome the PR nightmare of this.

Think about it, when you see this sentence: National Wildlife Federation and ScottsMiracle-Gro Create Partnership dont you do some kind of double take?

Thats the title of the press release sent out by Scotts. Its total cognitive dissonance. This does not compute!

Lets use the National Wildlife Federations own words to see if that will help us understand what they think they can gain:

 Notice the words This partnership is in no way an endorsement of ALL of Scotts products. So theyre not going to endorse Miracle Gro and Roundup, so what products WOULD they endorse? This point was not missed on our own Vincent Vizachero:

Really! Which products is National Wildlife Federation willing to take a stand and endorse? I would surely like for them to specifically mention which of Scotts products they think is the best that can be done.

In working so hard to try to reach Scotts 30 million customers, the problem is this: the National Wildlife Federation is either willing to blow off all of us who have supported them for so many years (Are we an acceptable loss when it comes to ROI?)

OR, they need to address their message problem. Kudos to all of you because you worked so hard to expose this particular PR nightmare. And, Im pleased to say that David M. told me they are now willing to listen to us.

Listening is one thing, I would like them to go back to the drawing board and attempt to come up with a message that doesnt cause us all to say WTH? There are some very smart people who work at NWF, and I am friends with many of them online. If you are so thrilled about this partnership, please come up with a better message. A message that does not leave all of us who have been your biggest fans feeling betrayed, sad, angry, and so much more.

NWF, we want to believe in you. We have been your biggest fans for many years. Please help us understand why you think this is a good idea!

Further reading:

  • National Wildlife Federation and Scotts: Weve Seen This Story Before
  • Should the Sign Come Down?
  • NWF and Miracle Gro: Perfect Together?
  • NWF and Scotts Miracle Gro? NO!!!
  • WWRRD? What Would Ranger Rick Do?
  • Upset With NWF? Go Local!!
  • Scotts and NWF Toxic Partnership
  • Severing Ties with NWF
  • NWF in Garden Bed With Scotts
  • Seriously, NWF?
  • Miracle Gro Deal With Wildlife Federation Outrages Environmental Community
  • Scotts Miracle Gro and NWF Partner to Get Kids Outside
  • Scotts Miracle Gro and NWF have partnered up

© 2012, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. If you are reading this at another site, please report that to us

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About Carole Sevilla Brown

Carole Sevilla Brown is a Conservation Biologist who firmly believes that wildlife conservation begins in your own back yard. Carole is an author, educator, speaker, and passionate birder, butterfly watcher,  and naturalist who travels around the country teaching people to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife.. She gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and created the philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening. Watch for her book Ecosystem Gardening, due out soon. Carole is managing editor of  Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and also  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Follow Carole on twitter, @CB4wildlife and on Google+

Comments

  1. Catherine B. Zimmerman says:

    What a great post that puts into perspective the underlying motivations for this kind of alliance. I thought it was telling that the press release focused on events rather than the activities Scotts Miracle Gro actually engages in, unhealthy land care practices. The future visuals will probably be more happy children with dogs and clueless parents, romping on ultra-green, non-native turf. Maybe they will be checking out a robinyou know, all that wildlife, keen to be part of this scene.

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Sad that they seem unwilling to look at those unhealthy land care practices and take a stand on them, isnt it?
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..National Wildlife Federation and Scotts Miracle Gro: Perfect Together?

      Reply
  2. Sue Sweeney says:

    My thoughts? When I had themondaygarden blog, I really could have used the money from Google ads but I refused to use them because at the time I could not filter out ads for animals traps, pesticides, etc. the things I was trying to convince people to avoid. I am just one small person with under-robust financing.

    Meanwhile, for a big organization like NWF to take the money from dangerous chemicals like RoundUp. How can we possibly trust anything that NWFs says or does in the future? How many people will be lulled by the NWF into trusting products that can hurt their kids? Give back the money!

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Sue, that is EXACTLY the reason I dont use Adsense either. How could I possibly justify writing about creating welcoming habitat for wildlife and also have ads for Miracle Gro, Roundup, Ortho, and lawnmower services all over my blog. Its so nice to find others who are willing to take a stand for the things we believe in.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Wildlife Garden Trends

      Reply
  3. Loret says:

    I recommend that everyone who thinks this is disturbing call NWF and let your feelings be known.
    1-800-822-9919 ; M-F 8 a.m to 8 p.m. EST

    I also filled out a contact/comment form on their website.

    For some reason I never bothered to certify my yard with NWF. I mean, I know it qualifies.
    Now I wish I had so I could burn my sign! ;)
    Loret recently posted..Making a Comeback

    Reply
    • Donna@Gardens Eye View says:

      Just left a scathing comment and will be off to social media to share this post
      Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..Fiery Red Natives

      Reply
      • Diane St John says:

        I just left my comment as well on their website contact us link. Here it is in case anyone else needs it! http://www.nwf.org/About/Contact-Us.aspx
        Diane St John recently posted..Just Say No

        Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Loret, thanks for the laugh! Im totally picturing you out there with a blow torch burning down your sign LOL
      Also thanks for the suggestion to get in touch with NWF to let them know how we feel! That is very important to do. Maybe if enough of us do that they may be willing to listen to us.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Wildlife Habitat Gardening at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

      Reply
  4. Anonymous by Request says:

    How sad and frustrating. Paul Tukey of the film A Chemical Reaction and Safe Lawns writes a great deal about one of the Players at Scotts (he came with the Miracle Grow package). I wish there was some way to Object to this marriage- call off the Great Outdoor Wedding
    I knew the family from MG and it would be inappropriate for me to launch such an endeavor
    Skeletons, closets, etc.
    Paul has been very outspoken. Hisnwould be a great voice to address this.
    http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2012/01/researchers-link-roundup-to-male-infertility/

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Dear Anonymous thanks for the link to Paul Tukey. Youre right, hes a very good voice for this.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Reader Appreciation: Genevieve Schmidt

      Reply
  5. Donna@Gardens Eye View says:

    Carole the press release explaining the partnership makes no sense what does Scotts and children playing outdoors have to do with each other..further how does a Scotts partnership inspire parents to make nature part of their livesScotts has nothing to do with nature and everything to do with lawns and chemicals unfortunately the general public will see Scotts now as natural and safeI will be rethinking my affiliation with NWF. How can you say you are a proponent of nature and habitat building using chemicals. I am so disappointed that NWF would sell out
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..Fiery Red Natives

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Donna, Im with you. It totally makes no sense to me. I dont understand what they think theyre going to gain when this is going to create a massive credibility problem.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Reflection and Anticipation

      Reply
  6. NHGarden says:

    Disappointing news!
    NHGarden recently posted..I Could Do This All Day

    Reply
  7. Linda says:

    Me too. Sad, and disappointed that NWF would form this alliance. I dont buy Scotts products, and even successfully talked my husband, a/k/a the Lawn Man, out of using them. He now uses (mostly) organic products, and his trusty dandelion popper.
    Linda recently posted..Two Peas in a Pod

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Linda, big huge kudos to you for talking the Lawn Man out of using Scotts products! Thats how we do this, change the mind of one person at a time :)
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..The Ecosystem Gardener is a Bad Ass

      Reply
  8. Patti Farris says:

    At first glance this seems to be a black eye for the NWF, but there may be more to it. My husband works for an energy transmission company; I wont name them but they have been in the news a lot lately. I am very concerned about the plight of native pollinators around the world. This company not only was willing to donate money to a pollinator conservation group (a lot of money) but they are also partnering with this group to create pollinator habitat along their pipeline rights-of-way, which is a great use of this land. They did not do this as a greenwash, though some might assume that was the case. I had to look long and hard for a conservation group who would take their money. It was not their idea; it was mine. Maybe NWF will have a positive effect on Scotts; maybe they will feel pressured to start changing their corporate mindset. My husbands company was not that enthusiastic about pollinator habitat at first, but they are now getting on board and are somewhat enthused. This is how things change.

    Reply
    • Vincent Vizachero says:

      Patti,

      Im glad you commented! This is an interesting take on the problem.

      The difference Id highlight between your example and the NWF/SMG alliance is that your energy companys mission is not diametrically opposed to the concept of pollinator habitat, whereas protecting wildlife habitat absolutely depends on people not using Scotts products (fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, etc.).

      Although the folks at NWF undoubtedly have the best of intentions the people at Scotts arent stupid, and they arent about to walk away from incredibly profitable lines of business that depend by their very nature on encouraging consumers to kill wildlife.

      The NWF appears to had made a calculated decision that a payoff from Scotts was a worthwhile one. Im hoping enough people point out the folly of this arrangement that the NWF realizes that they miscalculated.
      Vincent Vizachero recently posted..Plant This, Not That: The Book

      Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Patti: Thanks so much for sharing this perspective. Im thrilled to know that you found a way to create pollinator habitat. Congratulations to you for your determination and passion in making that happen!
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..National Wildlife Federation and Scotts Miracle Gro: Perfect Together?

      Reply
  9. David Mizejewski says:

    Hi Folks Im one of Caroles online friends and admirers, and Im also naturalist with NWF. This is an important conversation so I want to share some of what this NWF-Scotts partnership is about.

    NWF and Scotts share a common goal of reaching as many Americans as possible with messages that inspire people to connect to nature and the outdoors. Through education and activities such as gardening, birding, camping and natural play areas, our mutual goal is to make more families aware of the benefits of outdoor time and to inspire people to protect wildlife.

    This cooperative agreement benefits wildlife because it enables NWF to reach many millions more people than we currently reach. With the Save the Songbirds campaign alone we are going to be educating millions of new people about the decline in songbirds and about how they can create wildlife-friendly gardens to help reverse that trend. Specifically, our goal with the campaign is to create 50,000 acres of new songbird habitat and save one million songbirds in 2012.

    And lets face it, if were really going to make a difference with the wildlife gardening concept, we in conservation need to be reaching those millions of people out there that we currently arent on our own, the people whove never heard of a native plant, those who offer no habitat for wildlife in their yards. Those folks might not be as knowledgeable as you or me, or willing to take the concept as far as us, but we need to meet them where they are and help them along. We all know what happens when someone who has only ever had a lawn and a few exotic plants in their yard takes the first steps and puts in a birdbath or a plants a native and then the wildlife actually shows up: they get hooked. They want to take the next step, plant more natives, go organic, convert more of their yards into habitat. Some even become die-hards like us. Thats what this is all about for both NWF and Scotts.

    Another key aspect of this partnership is NWFs ability to help Scotts with its sustainability initiatives. They are already doing a lot on their own in terms of developing more sustainable products and practices. With this agreement, NWF is now working with them directly to advance important sustainability and conservation issues and promoting ways to help reduce the impact of lawn and garden products on wildlife and wild places such as ponds, lakes, and streams. In this case, we believe that by working together, we can make more progress more quickly on improving the environment.

    At NWF we respect our members’ opinions, even critical or skeptical ones. So thanks Carole for sparking the discussion! We believe this partnership aligns well with our mission to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

    Reply
    • Loret says:

      Hi David,

      I follow you via twitter. No matter how you explain it, having Scotts name on a get outdoors initiative with NWF just plain smells to me. While many will realize the obvious ploy to get their name with a conservation group, those that you are trying to groom to be wildlife gardners will just associate Scotts with being wildlife friendly. I can see the birds looking for the insects nowoh waitscotts kills insects.

      if their true goal is to develop sustainable products and practices, Why doesnt Scotts donate to garner your guidance without having their name on such an important initiative. You know, pay for expertise.

      OF COURSE Scotts wants to reach as many people as possible. Save the songbirds? with people thinking it is ok to use Scotts because they associate it with NWF I think well lose a helluva lot more birds to water pollution from the unknowing using unnecessary fertilizer in a wildlife environment.

      Scotts clearly gets the better of the deal and IMO wildlife gets the shaft from an organization that should know better.
      Loret recently posted..Making a Comeback

      Reply
    • Diane St John says:

      I think the NWF has had the wool completely pulled over its eyes and I truly hope they wake up. Save the Songbirds CAMPAIGN? Give me a break. The Scotts Poison the Lawn campaign has already hit my neighborhood. The lawn care chemicals are loaded up and just about ready to be spread over all my neighbors lawns, brought to us by Scotts who has now partnered with an organization I truly thought was amazing. I am heartbroken to say the least. David I dont know how they got to you there at NWF. Scotts is all about making the money, not saving the songbirds. A healthy lawn and yard does not use products. Especially in 4 to 6 steps over the course of the season. No products=no profit. Bad move NWF!
      Diane St John recently posted..Just Say No

      Reply
      • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

        Diane, Im with you! Yeah lets save the songbirds with Scotts birdseed. I wonder if NWF knows that birdseed is one of the most heavily pesticided crops in this country, so lets save lots of birds by feeding them birdseed from the giant pesticide manufacturer. Makes absolutely no sense to me at all!
        Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Wildlife Habitat Gardening at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

        Reply
        • Sarah says:

          Its not just the pesticide they use while growing it, they deliberately used bird-killing pesticdes to preserve their birdseed in storage!

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/grrlscientist/2012/mar/21/2

          Makes the NWFs decision look even worse.

          Reply
    • UrsulaV says:

      Oh, puh-leeze. If they want to connect with nature let them stop pushing lawn fertilizers that turn into toxic pond run-off and slaughter nature right and left. (And is the NWF planning on helping the wildlife in those ponds, to ameliorate the effect of their new partner?)

      I realize you probably didnt pick this and youre trying hard to make this sound good, but give me a break. This sucks, its a nasty trade of greenwashing for cash, and we all know it, and the NWF is gonna lose a whole lot of moral high ground (and certainly my donations in perpetuity) as a result.
      UrsulaV recently posted..I came, I saw, I composted!

      Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      David Im so honored that youve got time to visit us here to make a comment :) I just dont understand how you can get past the obvious credibility problem this partnership is going to create for you. It looks really bad. It looks like you sold out and betrayed all of your biggest fans. And your explanation doesnt really help with the credibility problem. In fact, it raises far more questions than it answers. People are feeling hurt and angry at this decision of yours, and your comment really does nothing to address that. I think this is going to be a PR nightmare for you. I hope that you are able to come up with an explanation that actually makes sense.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Reader Appreciation: Genevieve Schmidt

      Reply
  10. Sue Sweeney says:

    David . thats total nonsense. Scotts is not interested in connecting people to the outdoors, saving wildlife or whatever. They are interested in making profits by convincing uninformed people that they need to pour horrible poisons all over their yards, poisons that not only threaten their kids but the entire water supply. The NWF and Scotts have nothing in common and to say otherwise is delusional.

    The NWF wants to get in bed with the devil (and get more money for big salaries for the execs?), OK go get in bed with the devil but dont call him a angel you people cant be that dumb. I have been an NWF support for several decades but this..

    And dont think silly statements like the one above are going to stop the criticism getting people to go out in their yards and pour Scotts Round Up all over everything is not going to lead to certified habitats. Youre not that dumb and neither are we.

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Sue, totally love this: OK go get in bed with the devil but don’t call him a angel – you people can’t be that dumb Spot on!!!
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Wildlife Habitat Gardening at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

      Reply
  11. Elephant's Eye says:

    I dont live in America, but I would love to see the advertising around this. Hope someone will share pics as this sad story unfolds.
    Will your certified wildlife habitat now say sponsored by Roundup??
    It is precisely the unreached who will believe that all that poison is harmless. The wildlife people say so!
    Elephants Eye recently posted..My new signature plant

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      EE, It is precisely the unreached who will believe that all that ‘poison’ is harmless. This is exactly what Im worried about. This stamp of approval is going to create lots of folks who say this stuff is good because if NWF is their partner, what could possibly be wrong. This is truly dangerous
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..National Wildlife Federation and Scotts Miracle Gro: Perfect Together?

      Reply
  12. Julie Stone says:

    I became disenchantented long ago with the NWF, I wish theyd take all the money they spend on their free junk gifts they offer to give me if Id send them more money and actually do something positive with it. A few months ago they sent me a DVD with a note that said if I didnt send it back then theyd bill me for it! What?! I did send it back with a scathing note telling them to spend more money on activism and less on this junk, and they still sent me a bill, which went in the trash. Be careful NWF, you lay down with the devil, youre gonna get burned.
    Julie Stone recently posted..A Cure For What Ails Me

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Julie it makes little sense to me that an organization devoted to wildlife and habitat conservation would cut down so many trees to get its message out. I support an organization because I believe in their mission, not because they send me free mailing labels! And a DVD that youre supposed to pay them for AFTER they send it to you without asking your permission? All that wasted plastic? Not wise at all. I wish environmental organization would be environmentally friendly and lead by their actions, not by their junk mail.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Reader Appreciation: Genevieve Schmidt

      Reply
  13. Hal Mann says:

    Carole thanks so much for posting this. And very interesting to hear Davids response above. And your term greenwashing has just been added to my vocabulary. Its going to get a lot of use. As for the debate, Ive only recently converted to native landscaping, and organic practices. But as I move to greener practices, Ive recently come to struggle with where the line is. Every one of us, by just using our computers to read and respond to this blog, has probably supported the ungreen practices of the companies that made these electronic devices. Having come from the corporate world, I dont believe big business is evil, out to screw the public. Part of every companys mission HAS to be to make money. Thats what keeps it going, employing people, and paying taxes. However, another part of every companys mission has to be to better the planet and its inhabitants. Having said that, Im certainly skeptical of this alliance betwen NWF and Scotts. Wouldnt it be terrific if through this kind of partnership, eventually the the lawn care business helped the public became aware of the need for native and organic landscaping. What comes first? I dont know, but I cant wait till lawns, lawn chemicals, and pesticides are gone.
    Hal Mann recently posted..Goodbye Norway Maple

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Hi Hal, welcome to the wonderful world of native landscaping. You must be noticing some beautiful wildlife visitors since you made the switch :) I am definitely not anti-business, nor am I anti-corporate sponsorship. Its just that this particular partnership simply doesnt smell right. One the one hand we have an organization whose mission is to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat, and on the other hand we have a corporation whose chemicals kill wildlife. I do not think there is a realistic explanation over how they can even overcome how bad this smells, let alone try to explain how they think they are going to benefit from this.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..The Ecosystem Gardener is a Bad Ass

      Reply
  14. Pat Sutton says:

    Carole, thanks for reporting on this and keeping us informed. Ive been teaching about Gardening for Wildlife for 30 plus years in southern New Jersey, reaching folks from all over the Northeast. I only recently certified my own habitat with National Wildlife Federation, primarily to get one more sign to put up for my neighbors and attendees who visited my garden during a workshop or tour of private wildlife gardens.

    I guess it took me so long to certify my wildlife habitat with NWF because I was never hugely impressed with their package not much offered in the way of hard information, nuts and bolts, lists of recommended plantings, etc. It was simply a broad brush certification option where folks shared a minimum of 3 Food for Wildlife that they offered (including seeds, nuts, berries, fruit ), a minimum of 1 Water Source, a minimum of 2 Cover options, and a minimum of 2 Places to Raise Young.

    The workshops Ive taught over the years have been packed with solid how to information that people need to actually create a wildlife habitat (list of the best native plants for butterflies and moths, birds, etc., sources of native plants, programs on how to create a dragonfly pond, wildflower meadow, etc.). I very much have served as an an enabler.

    I am truly sorry, saddened, distressed, and alarmed to see the alliance between NWF and Scotts Miracle Gro. Yes, as so many have already commented, too many people will see this alliance as a stamp of approval that there is nothing wrong with the mountain of fertilizers, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals needed to maintain GREEN lawns, which are anything but wildlife friendly.
    Pat Sutton recently posted..Mourning Cloaks in the Garden

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Pat I never understood that chinese restaurant menu approach to this either, and sadly many people thought they could slap up a few bird feeders and put in a bird bath and that made a wildlife habitat. Youre so right, we need to go deeper and give much better information. You and I both know that this is possible because weve been doing exactly that. And Ive never worked in one habitat garden anywhere that such a simplistic cookbook approach would have been the best possible option.

      Thanks for the amazing job you are doing to help educate so many people about how to best create welcoming habitat for wildlife!
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Wildlife Habitat Gardening at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

      Reply
  15. Shirl says:

    Well maybe the NWF can use the money to help us know how to have nice gardens without pesticides and chemicals. Im a beginner gardener and dont know what else to feed my flowers that will give them such nice blooms as MG bloom booster, but Id try other things if I knew what, and where to buy it (if it doesnt cost a fortune). Maybe they can help me get rid of my horrible mealy bug problem too. I;ve tried everything organic, but finally resorted to a systemic on some (which worked). Open to other solutions though, just dont know what else to do!

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Shirl, if you could tell me what area of the country you live in, Id be happy to find you some local resources.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..Reflection and Anticipation

      Reply
      • mitch eiseman says:

        i have a backyard garden vegetables, flowers, herbs. i live in florida. i use miracle grow fertilizer. i never realized that miracle grow wasnt good for the enviroment. i would like to know what would be a alternative to this product for fertilizing. i also will be purchasing bees in april. i will not use any chemicals at all for pests or anything else for that matter. please help

        Reply
        • Diane St John says:

          Mitch, I used to use Miracle Gro as well. Now I have studied horticulture, am a master gardener and work at an organic garden center. The reason you do not want to use miracle gro is that it is a synthetic, man made, water soluble plant food. It does not feed the soil at all. It feeds the plant directly, bypassing the soil, so the plant is dependent on this. Like an addictive drug in a way. The soil can then no longer sustain the plant, so you need to add more miracle gro. Soil is alivereally alive with millions of beneficial microscopic microorganisms in every teaspoon. What you want to do is feed those guyswho then eat the organic fertilizer and poop it out into a form the plant can then take up. This is the way nature has done it for ever. Leaves fall on the ground, they are broken down slowly by microscopic beneficial fungus and bacterias who then release it into plant food for plants. We can supplement our veggie gardens with a low-numbered fully organic fertilizer. Use compost in your beds, turn some shredded leaves in, and watch the magic. Look up the book Teaming With Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels. Please do a bit of research before you buy any more miracle gro. Good luck!
          Diane St John recently posted..Just Say No

          Reply
          • mitch eiseman says:

            thank you very much i really didnt know this. no more miracle grow for our garden

            Reply
  16. Ursulav says:

    So they dont support all the Scotts productsthats good. Perhaps they could tell us how they plan to prevent their good name from providing legitimacy to those products?

    Good job on the interviewlook forward to reading it!
    Ursulav recently posted..Site Update!

    Reply
    • Carole Sevilla Brown says:

      Ursula, youve nailed the problem right on the head. So many people are going to assume that because NWF has partnered with Scotts that means that NWF is putting a seal of approval on all of Scotts products. And that is what is so frightening about this whole thing. Also that NWF seems to be taking no responsibility for the fact that assumption is going to be made.
      Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..National Wildlife Federation and Scotts Miracle Gro: Perfect Together?

      Reply
  17. Kristin Johnson @NWF says:

    Hi there – I work at National Wildlife Federation and wanted to update you that our CEO, Larry Schweiger, will be doing a live video conference tomorrow afternoon to answer any questions you have on the partnership and hopefully help give some insight on why we chose to enter the partnership. It was definitely not something we entered into lightly and wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think wildlife would benefit more in the end. If you have questions you would like posed on the chat, please email us at friends@nwf.org. Thank you all for your support for wildlife!

    Reply
  18. Susie Binkley says:

    David from NWF says that they will be reaching people and that’s good, and he’s hinting that any “gateway” to getting people in to backyard gardening or birding, etc, is also good. But have they considered that starting people off thinking that fertilizers and pesticides are an okay part of such endeavors is sending the wrong message right from the start? It’s like the kids’ cereal commercials that claim their sugar coated, artificially colored and flavored boxes of wasted calories are “part of a healthy diet”. Would anyone argue that’s a good way to introduce healthy eating to kids- hoping that as they went on to make later food choices they’d somehow become healthy food “diehards like us” and choose more wisely? This partnership with Scotts is essentially the same. It seems to me that it is condoning, enabling, and encouraging practices that go against the health of the very wildlife (and its habitat) that the NWF supports.

    Thus I bemoan the thought of those people he speaks of “who’ve never heard of a native plant” being introduced to them by being told “and don’t forget to fertilize it with miracle grow”.

    I would also like to know why the National WILDlife Federation would promote children playing on pesticide and fertilizer laden, perfectly groomed turf grass rather than going out into the wild. I am baffled by that. And I am all for gardens, but a well xeriscaped garden is much more in line with wild than a well fertilized miracle-grow garden. This seems an un-natural partnership, heading in the opposite direction of current trends such as Richard Louvs work (Last Child in the Woods, No Child Left Inside) and all the headway being made to get kids TRULY outdoors, not just on the lawn.

    I do understand and acknowledge the goal of reaching as many people as possible, and of encouraging others to take baby steps. A noble effort but this partnership sacrifices too much integrity in accomplishing that goal.

    After all, once we realize what the sugary cereals really are, do any of us actually believe they’re part of a healthy breakfast? Do we really tell our kids that they are? Or do we just tell them to make a better choice and ditch the box of junk? So I’d tell the new gardeners from the get-go: ditch the box of junk and do it right. Make a better choice.

    Reply
  19. Dawn says:

    I think this is enough to make any aware and educated American vomit their breakfast. The killing machine will be stopped! We wont stop until you are gone, no matter how big you are., no matter how big you are.

    Reply
  20. Spencer says:

    I say as a show of unity AGAINST this partnership we return our backyard signs. We are well aware the US Postal System is hurting so an influx of mail should help a bit.
    Spencer recently posted..UNCONSCIONABLE

    Reply
  21. Spencer says:

    The Scotts Miracle-Gro company headquarters are in Marysville, Ohio. Might be worth an Occupy Movement interaction to draw more attention to this travesty.
    Spencer recently posted..UNCONSCIONABLE

    Reply
  22. Jan@Thanks for today. says:

    Dear National Wildlife Federation,

    I am very disappointed with the recent partnership between NWF and Scotts. I garden for wildlife and have enjoyed (UNTIL NOW) showing my Certified Wildlife Habitat sign ( Habitat #113312 ) on my blog, Thanks For Today, where I had a direct link to NWF and the backyard certification program. But I took the link and photo off because right now I dont believe that NWF has exercised good judgement in partnering with a chemical company that produces completely unnecessary and toxic chemicals, promoting them to be used by gardeners.

    I am a Master Gardener and have learned that we do not need Miracle Grow or any synthetic fertilizer to make our gardens, or our grass, grow. And as far as herbicides, pure glyphosate may not be completely harmful for the environment, dissipating rather quicklyhowever, Round Up comes in MANY formulations and the public doesnt even understand that not ALL Round Up bottles are alike. Unless the fine print is read closely, one wouldnt realize all the additional chemicals added to a plain bottle of what most think might not be that damaging.

    Until NWF separates from this partnership, or explains more clearly how this partnership is helpful to the environment and to our children and families(and Ive already listened, read and viewed interviews with no sense of satisfaction) I will not be able to feel proud of my Certified Wildlife Habitat sign. I havent yet removed it from my garden, because I love what it originally stood forbut I am getting my garden certified by the Audubon at Home program, as a Wildlife Sanctuary. I want to be associated with a group I can be proud of. When I write blog posts and share my pride in my wildlife habitat, NWF will not get any recognition in the future. I am being trained to be an Audubon Ambassador and to help other people to certify their yards as wildlife habitats, but this will be through Audubon, rather than NWF. If, in the future, NWF shows that this partnership was indeed a mistake, I will be willing to forgive and forget and proudly add the NWF Certified Habitat sign back to my blog, with a link to your website, as well.

    Jan Doble M.S.Ed.
    Woodbridge, VA
    Jan@Thanks for today. recently posted..Backyard BirdsWeve Got Em Here!

    Reply
  23. Daricia says:

    i appreciate the time you all have taken to research and write about this partnership. lots of important discussions happening because of it, lots of learning going on.
    Daricia recently posted..Snowdrops

    Reply

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