Say It Ain’t So, NWF.

You're partnering with WHO?

I’m a little late to hop on this story, but I want to show some solidarity for my fellow garden/nature bloggers by adding my voice to the outcry against the National Wildlife Federation-Scott’s partnership.

The blogger who initiated the story was Carole Brown at the Wildlife Garden blog, and then I just read a good run-down of all the follow-up by Susan Harris over at Garden Rant.  I also read NWF’s defense of the partnership, and while they make it sound warm and fuzzy and songbird-friendly, it’s just hard to swallow.

I am not completely anti-chemical or anti-lawn, but there is no doubt that Scott’s pushes a regimen of lawn and yard care that is ridiculously overblown, unnecessary, and toxic.  And certainly not critter-friendly.  So NWF suddenly wanting to pal around with them smells like a Rattus rattus, no doubt about it.  Sorta like The American Lung Association partnering up with Phillip Morris and saying, “but they’re not that bad, and we don’t endorse all their products, and we’ll reach more people this way!”

The whole thing really makes me feel sad more than angry. I used to read Ranger Rick as a little kid.  Later my mom got me a subscription to NWF’s National Wildlife, and I used to cut out pictures of animals and stick them on my bedroom walls.  I know many people who have NWF’s “Certified Wildlife Habitat” signs displayed proudly in their yards, and I always thought that was a great program.  This new alliance with the purveyors of the infamous Four Step Clover and Insect Decimation Lawn Care Program….well, it kinda breaks my heart.

Comments

  1. Here, here. Thank you for the eloquent refusal to believe it really true, and for articulating the fears of a great many of us in the industry. This new development is so damned disappointing.

  2. Wow, that is really sad. How unfortunate that a magazine must be so desperate for money that it has to compromise on its ideals to such an extent (and that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt). Maybe with some pressure from the internets they’ll change their minds…

  3. Dear Mary, I am deeply disturbed about this alliance. I didn’t hear about it until yesterday, and immediately posted a scathing comment on the NWF website. I encourage others to protest at http://www.nwf.org/About/Contact-Us.aspx. I hold workshops for home gardeners on Gardening for Wildlife and my garden is on the NWF registry. I am considering taking my sign down. Thank you for spreading the word. P. x

  4. There is no pleasing some people. While it would be better if others were persuaded to believe in NWF as you do, there is some credibility to the story of NWF hoping to influence Scotts into producing more environmentally sound products. Scotts as a company will be wanting to take advantage of sector of the market they feel they do not cater for enough. NWF are more likely to have influence working with Scotts than taking a stance from outside.

    And what exactly is NWF role… if it is to gain publicity for their beliefs, then Scotts partnership will do more for this than they can do on their own. There is a risk from Scotts point of view of making the public more aware of NWF and hence reducing their sales, but they will counter that by producing products that fit in with NWF image.

    I am sure this will not be as diastorous as you all think

    • Morris, I’m not upset because the partnership will be “disastrous” but rather just that it’s hypocritical. The success of Scott’s is built upon peddling the dream of a perfect lawn and bug-free plants, which is pretty much the opposite of what the NWF stood for (or at least it used to).

  5. My previous garden was certified by these folks, my family used to subscribe to Wild Animal Baby (we made up a song to go with it, which ended up with “they’re gonna do some crimes!” Very funny with a 3 year old), and I got all my employees vintage-y looking Ranger Rick T-shirts a couple Christmases ago…but I despise Horticultural Hypocrisy more than most. Nothing stings to a gardener like living on a heavily restricted piece of property, while a few hundred yards away there is a 1500-home subdivision where dozens of mow ‘n’ blow ‘n’ go services visit every day–along with several local Scott’s Brand Spraying Services and “TrueGreen Chemlawn” (really!) contractors–all of them keeping over- manicured lawns hosed down with petrochemicals. I am sure that like a lot of non-profits, NWF is a top-heavy organization which spends far more money on running itself than it does on its mission. However, I sincerely hope that this association is for the purpose of raising brand awareness for some type of organic or natural yard care product line, as opposed to making it more palatable for my neighbors to keep fouling the wetland in between us with weed and feed made from sludge BP scraped up from the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Calvin, So elequently expressed, and I love your story about Wild Animal Baby. :o) I suppose only time will tell with this new partnership. I really can’t wait to see how Scott’s uses NWF’s endorsement to sell their products. Should be veeeeery interesting.

  6. Preach on, Sister Mary! Absolutely right on all accounts! There’s a book on this subject and I don’t remember the title but I’ll try to find it and post it somewhere. Thanks for another well-written and informative post!

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