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Citing Guilty Plea, Wildlife Federation Ends Agreement with Scotts

SafeLawns followers are celebrating a victory today.

Succumbing to a barrage of criticism from the environmental community — and in the wake of a guilty plea from Scotts Miracle Gro in federal court — the National Wildlife Federation announced to members this afternoon that is would end its sponsorship deal with the world’s largest purveyor of toxic lawn and garden products.

The announcement of a promotional deal between Scotts and NWF posted 10 days ago confounded thousands of followers of the organization known for its environmental stewardship programs. The organization’s leadership steadfastly defended its deal last week, but apparently had no idea that Scotts Miracle Gro would soon plead guilty last Thursday to charges of falsifying documents and selling bird seed tainted with pesticides that are toxic to birds.

At approximately 4 p.m. today, Ed Coleman, the general manager of customer service at NWF, issued this statement:

“The National Wildlife Federation has worked together with Scotts Miracle-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.

“National Wildlife Federation appreciates your continuing support.”

Coleman also posted his email ( and phone number (703-438-6205) with the message.

Reaction was celebratory, even euphoric, from SafeLawns followers who have been emailing, phoning and protesting in various ways in the past week.

“We won!” said Marie Ross. “This proves the power of social media once again.”

“It’s too bad it took the federal court case for the NWF to come to its senses, but at least it did,” said Jonathan R. Douglass.

Many others thanked SafeLawns directly for helping to lead a charge last week with a series of postings about the story.

“Thanks, Paul, for all you do,” said a message from a group known as StopPesticidesinNeedham. “I suspect all our letters combined with the reality that Scotts is such a dirty company made the NWF realize this was not good.”

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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