Tukey Leaves SafeLawns to Join Maryland Museum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 8/15/13
Organics Advocate to Help Create ‘Living Classroom’ at Glenstone
FALMOUTH, ME — Calling it “among the most difficult, yet exciting decisions of my professional career,” Paul Tukey announced Thursday he will officially step down as Director of the SafeLawns Foundation effective immediately to become the first Chief Sustainability Officer for Glenstone, a museum in Potomac, Maryland housing a collection of post-war and contemporary art.
Founded by Tukey in 2006, SafeLawns has helped spearhead an international movement toward pesticide-free lawns and landscapes through a broad multi-media approach that included stories in thousands of newspapers and magazines, as well as appearances on Good Morning America, Martha Stewart Living and the CBC in Canada. Tukey, a former magazine publisher and HGTV host who authored The Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey, 2007), is called “the godfather of the natural lawn care movement” and known by his allies and adversaries as a tenacious leader who has made more than a thousand public speeches in the past decade.
“Certainly it was Paul Tukey who first made (pesticide reduction) seem like a realistic possibility to many of us,” said Dr. Lawrence Plumlee, an environmental advocate who helped pass 2013 legislation in Maryland that banned lawn pesticides on public and private property in the town of Tokoma Park.
Tukey, who received his profession’s highest communication honor from the American Horticultural Society, has helped spur numerous anti-pesticide initiatives across North America including bylaws that have swept Canada. In the past year, however, Tukey has focused most of his efforts on Glenstone, where he has served as an organic landscape consultant since 2010. Ultimately, he said, the vision of the facility’s founders led him to a career change.
“I say it was a difficult decision because SafeLawns has been successful in reaching millions of people and I deeply enjoyed the passionate interaction with so many community leaders,” said Tukey, the focus of the 2009 Emmy nominated documentary A Chemical Reaction. “But this change is also so very exciting because Glenstone’s mission — the seamless integration of art, architecture and landscape — will provide the world with a living classroom about organic landscaping. The Glenstone team has asked me to help build something great as the facility is expanded in the coming years.
Tukey said his new position will be focused on refining organic landscape protocols and overall conservation efforts rather than policy change. “Glenstone wants to provide sustainability leadership by example and I’m thrilled and honored to become a part of that,” he said.
SafeLawns.org will remain on-line as a clearinghouse of information about natural lawn care, though no plans have been finalized regarding Tukey’s replacement. For more information about Glenstone, visit www.glenstone.org.