Angry Supporters Withdraw Donations to National Wildlife Federation to Protest Partnership with Scotts Miracle Gro

NWF partnership with Scotts sparks protest by angry supporters

In the firestorm of the “green backlash” following my announcement earlier this week that the National Wildlife Federation had teamed up with Scotts Miracle Gro, angry supporters are withdrawing their support of this organization.

Former supporters have taken to posting their disbelief, sadness, anger and more on the National Wildlife Federation Facebook page. There’s a petition to stop NWF from partnering with Scotts. There are calls for the resignation of NWF CEO Larry Schweiger.

Many of these folks have been long time supporters of the National Wildlife Federation, sending donations for many years, and are feeling betrayed by this action of the NWF, saying “they have sold their soul to the devil for a dollar.”

These supporters are rejecting the National Wildlife Federation’s explanation that they think they can help Scotts create “greener” products, a claim which was expressed in my interview with NWF spokesperson David Mizejewski.

Many people are taking down their Certified Wildlife Habitat signs. Some people are burning these signs. Others are mailing them back to NWF with letters of protest.

I’ve been getting requests from hundreds of people this week to recommend another organization for them to support, and I have several ideas about that.

But first, remember that the National Wildlife Federation is a non-profit organization who is completely dependent on donors to do the work that it does. Many of us were introduced to wildlife gardening because of their work. The fact that they are struggling so much that they would even consider this partnership, is probably more of a reflection about what is wrong with this country and how we take care of our planet than anything else.

I am not telling you to withdraw your support for the National Wildlife Federation. I know that you are smart enough to make the best decision that reflects your own moral principles.

I am suggesting these alternatives simply because so many of you have asked me to.

Certify Your Wildlife Habitat Without National Wildlife Federation

If you want to replace your Certified Wildlife Habitat sign there are other organizations who also certify your garden:

  1. The North America Butterfly Association Butterfly Garden and Habitat Program has an exhaustive resource area for butterfly gardeners, including garden ideas, host plant lists, suggested plants, and regional gardening guides.
  2. Canadian Wildlife Federation‘s certification is similar to that of the National Wildlife Federation,
  3. Monarch Watch Waystation Program is a great way to create stopover spots for Monarch butterflies during their amazing migration and for breeding new generations.

Best Alternate to Donating to National Wildlife Federation–Go Local!

My best advice for finding an alternative to making donations to the National Wildlife Federation is to go local. There are nature centers, land preservation organizations, local native plant society chapters, clean water advocates, and many others right in your own backyard.

Find the people who are working to make your own neighborhood a better place. These small environmental organizations are often struggling to get by on a very small budget of donations. They are able to do amazing things with very little money.

So make your donations to them. Your dollars will go much further for actual work in the environment (they will not stuff your mailbox full of donation requests, mailing labels, and other gimmicks to get you to give more money like the National Wildlife Federation does).

But don’t stop at giving your money. Your time is one of the best things you can give to these champions of the environment in your community. All of these organizations thrive because they have passionate, dedicated volunteers who tirelessly give of their time to protect their local environment. So give them a call and tell them you want to help.

Turn Some of Your Passionate Energy to Getting Scotts to Clean up its Act

Scotts fined $4.5 million for tainted bird seed

I wrote yesterday wondering why everyone was directing all of this passionate energy toward the National Wildlife Federation and not trying to hold Scotts accountable, too. As long as Scotts continues to sell Roundup and Miracle Gro and other toxic chemicals, no amount of greenwashing from the NWF is going to help them with their tarnished environmental image.

We can post our thoughts on their Facebook page, send emails, and letters, but the only way to get the attention of a company like this is to hit them in the pocketbook.

I know most of you are already not purchasing Scotts products, but they have a line of birdseed, which is the centerpiece of the NWF/Scotts Save the Songbird Campaign. Scotts sees so many dollar signs lining up for them because the National Wildlife Federation is going to help them sell their bird seed, they must be drooling in anticipation!

Please do not support Scotts by purchasing this birds seed, especially since it has just been announced that Scotts was fined 4.5 million dollars for falsifying records about the toxic pesticides in this product.

Now is the time to harness your passionate energy and direct it toward actions that will actually make a difference for the environment!

Thanks to Marsha Stopa for coining the phrase “Green Backlash”

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

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  1. says

    Thanks for the information Carole. I am not personally angry, but I’d rather give my support to a conservation organization which is not involved with a company who makes pesticides and fertilizers. I already do not buy Scotts products, or similar products, so I can not boycott. I also don’t feel it’s my place to attack Scotts, for example on their Facebook page, because I am not asking them to change to greener products. I am not much interested in greener products. I pretty much only use home-made and locally-made compost in my garden. I think the reason people are angry is that they already do not support Scotts through purchases, however they have supported NWF and believed that NWF shared their values. Any time people’s values are “attacked” they tend to get angry.

  2. Julia Vanatta says

    For several years now, I have been very active in a local chapter of Wild Ones, Native Plants, Natural Landscapes. Although a national organization, Wild Ones members are most active in their local communities, educating neighbors about the benefits of gardening with plants that are native to the area. From my estimation, Wild Ones is over 99.5% volunteers working together. I would encourage others to join me.

  3. James Richardson says

    Scotts and NWF are ending their partnership!
    Joint Statement from ScottsMiracle-Gro and National Wildlife Federation

    January 29, 2012

    The National Wildlife Federation has worked together with ScottsMiracle-Gro over the past two years on programs to educate gardeners about global warming, connect children to the outdoors and help restore habitat following the Gulf oil disaster. Both parties recently announced plans for an even broader partnership that was based on our common interests.

    Since that time, Scotts announced a pending legal settlement related to events in 2008 that predate our partnership, which has made it clear that the partnership is not viable. Therefore, NWF and Scotts will work together to end the partnership in a friendly and mutually beneficial way.

  4. says

    I’m president of Habitat Gardening in Central New York, our local chapter of Wild Ones. Wild Ones ( is a wonderful blend of a national organization that facilitates local efforts through chapters. Our mission is to preserve biodiversity by planting native plants in natural landscapes. Members of Wild Ones receive the bimonthly Wild Ones Journal, so even if there isn’t a chapter in your area, you’ll be supporting an important mission besides learning more about native plants. I was a Partner-at-Large (i.e. there wasn’t any local chapter to belong to) for many years, then I started a chapter here in Central New York. If there isn’t a local chapter in your area, I’d encourage people to start one!


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