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Saturday, January 28, 2012

National Wildlife Federation Deal with Scott's/Monsanto Leaves Supporters Angry and Grief Stricken

"This makes me ill" said local garden expert Jennifer Rotermund.

Hundreds of shocked supporters of NWF lit up their Facebook Page in the last three days to complain, quit, and ask for refunds.  Many local supporters posted their objections.  NWF's self inflicted PR nightmare is going viral.

CEO of National Wildlife, Larry Schweiger held a webchat and stated they made the deal, a "partnership" and were trying to "help" Scotts' become more eco-friendly. 
National Wildlife Federation and The ScottsMiracle-Gro Company are working together to help families reconnect with nature by using yards, parks and other green spaces as a starting point for outdoor play and nature discovery.
But most supporters were having none of it. Some pointed out that NWF had trouble with fundraising and needed the money. Apparently, there was a payment of $50k to NWF from Scott's. 

A supporter named Ken complained,
I have been a member of the NWF since 1977. This whole story about NWF and Scotts makes me sick. This isn't the organization I joined 35 years ago. I can no longer in good conscience remain a part of an entity that has obviously corrupted it's original vision. I have a feeling I won't be the only one leaving.
The reasons for the ire became clearer, when articles surfaced yesterday. Scott's, a lawn chemical supply company had apparently been fined $4.5 million and plead guilty of lying in court records and selling 73 million units of "tainted bird seed".

Then a page on the NWF website proclaimed the "Save the Songbirds Selections" brand of birdseed was announced.  This further enraged the NWF "ex" supporters. They could not believe the cynical and obviously well timed move on the part of a supposed "environmental advocacy" organization and the chemical giant. 

Shoreline is among a number local communities that had enthusiastically and sincerely recruited over 300 new members to "certify" their yards as "Backyard Habitats", by replanting and creating special habitat areas to qualify. Several schools and businesses also participated. People here were proud of the accomplishment.

One angry former supporter has organized a nationwide petition to object. Over 400 signatures were gathered in just over 2 days.   Anyone who is upset at this "partnership" is encouraged to sign. 
Signers said:
"I cannot imagine what NWF was thinking. They have received their last donation from me and I plan to tell everyone I know about this situation" while another says "NWF should be ashamed to even consider such a partnership. Supporting Scotts and Monsanto when you claim to be for the long term protection of our wildlife and wild-lands. Ridiculous."

From the point of view of our blog, this is one of the most cynical cases of "astro-turfing" we've ever seen.  It's also known as "greenwashing" and shows a contempt for the intelligence and trust so many sincere wildlife lovers had placed in this internationally known organization. 
It's obvious they've been bought out and their reputation will probably never recover.

An article from the blog "SafeLawns" has the story on the guilty plea by Scott's.
The company, many folks believe, must have known this ruling in federal court was coming down for several months. The timing of the sponsorship with the National Wildlife Federation, announced by NWF on Jan. 18, was clearly designed to draw attention away from what is believed to be the largest fine ever levied on a pesticide company.

Amidst Wildlife Federation Firestorm, Scotts Miracle Gro Fined $4.5 Million for Toxic Bird Seed, Falsifying Records

Fri, Jan 27, 2012
UPDATE: Petition Asks NWF to Say No to Scotts’ Sponsorship:
On the same week Scotts Miracle Gro tried to buy an image upgrade by sponsoring the National Wildlife Federation, word has come out of a federal court that the company will pay millions of dollars in fines for selling bird seed it knew was tainted with pesticides toxic to birds.
Though the company had no comment yesterday, it pleaded guilty to charges that it sold 73 MILLION UNITS of tainted bird seed from 2005 to 2008. According to an article in today’s Columbus, Ohio, newspaper, the company continued to sell the bird seed “despite warnings in the summer and fall of 2007 from a pesticide chemist and an ornithologist, both of whom worked for the company.”
The company also pleaded guilty yesterday to falsifying documents with the Environmental Protection Agency so that it could rush new weed ‘n feed and ant killing products to market back in 2006. When Scotts’ fallacy was revealed — after the products containing cancer-causing agents had already been on the market for two years — the company blamed the actions on a single female employee, who was abruptly fired after years with the com


  1. Janet, this is a great summary of a very bad week for NWF. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I had no idea when I wrote that first post Monday night that it would spread all over Facebook within two hours, create such a firestorm on the NWF facebook page, be picked up by Paul Tukey and so many others. I'm really hoping we have created enough passion in people to take this right to Scotts. Their products are the source of the problem here, and as long as Scotts continues to sell Roundup and Miracle Gro (and tainted birdseed) no amount of greenwashing by NWF is ever going to make them in any way an environmentally friendly company no matter what they say.

    1. Thanks Carole for starting the process and outing them!!
      Keep it up and please forward my blog.

      NWF it turns out, has been an evildoer all along, with their BP deals. Yeesh! Shameful!

  2. Thanks for spreading the word, Janet.