Misjudged collaboration causes an NWF GOOPs

I’ve made a lot of gardening oops – GOOPs for short – over the decades. I’ve placed plants into unpleasing combinations, forgotten where I planted bulbs, and neglected to deadhead prolific self-seeding perennials. I fess up to these GOOPs here on the first of each month hoping that, by sharing my mis-steps, other gardeners may avoid doing the same. My GOOPs may wreak havoc on my discerning eye, my gardening budget, or my gardening time but my faux pas don’t hold a candle to the the pile of sewage the National Wildlife Federation stepped into when it announced collaboration between it and Scotts Miracle-Gro.

That the NWF, a much-followed wildlife habitat and wildlife protecting organization, was joining forces with Scotts Miracle-Gro, a dealer of lawn and garden chemicals, caused much of the garden writing world to scream a collective “What the … huh!”  The NWF was dancing with the devil.   This did not sit well to those who followed wildlife-friendly recommendations made by NWF or developed NWF-certified Wildlife Habitats using organic, environmentally sound garden and land care practices.

Go to the NWF website. It oozes nature. It boasts “working for wildlife” in programs to bring bison back and protect otters. It claims “victory for wildlife” in helping stop the Keystone Tar Sands pipeline. It claims donation money is “Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.”

So why consort with Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company reporting $3 billion in worldwide sales from their products branded under the names Scotts, Miracle-Gro, and Ortho, and as sole North American and European marketer of Monsanto’s Round-Up? The NWF claimed money from Scotts would support a shared vision … to encourage children and families to spend more time outdoors. NWF suggested their cozy relationship with Scotts might influence Scotts to change some of its chemical-pushing ways.

I may be skeptical here but I suspect, as many do, that Scotts has a $3 billion reason to not change it’s chemical-pushing ways.

A ‘Scotts’ lawn would never look like this …


filled with violets and other non-grass greenery.

With no intention of ignoring the hypocrisy of the NWF taking money dangled in front of them by Scotts, garden writers responded with blog posts, tweets, Facebook comments, emails, petitions and phone calls castigating the NWF for this misguided collaboration. They questioned how the NWF could expect to maintain any credibility as a protector and promoter of environmentally sound wildlife habitats while taking money from a company that makes its money on the very chemicals believed to harm wildlife and soil-life.

Read some of these posts yourself at:

In the midst of all this Scotts was fined $4.5 million for distributing wild birdseed coated with chemicals toxic to birds. Does this sound like a company bent on protecting wildlife, or just its own bottom line.

Well, in yet another example of people joining voices to express outrage over the actions of an organization, a company, or a government, collective fury and indignation worked.   On January 29, 2012, the NWF  announced its turn-around.

The NWF had a “Good job, Brownie” moment. They committed a monster GOOPs, then thankfully saw their blunder.

I don’t see a GOOPs of this monster proportion in my future or yours so next month I plan to resume my relatively minor GOOPs tales. In the meantime, tell me about a GOOPs you’ve made. Either share it in a comment below or post it on your blog and leave a teaser-link below.

Let’s help each other  … let’s garden thoughtfully …

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Joene Hendry

6 comments for “Misjudged collaboration causes an NWF GOOPs

  1. February 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Talk about a gardening oops, this was a monster one. Absolute debacle. It’s interesting that when they rescinded the partnership they blamed it on the lawsuits and gave no credit to the groundswell of public outrage. Never mentioned that at all. Unbelievable.

    My OOPS is on my blog today and it involves a too-rampant vine and a very misguided design plan.

    • joenesgarden
      February 1, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Laurrie, The NWF’s GOOPs may direct more followers to local wildlife-protecting and environmental organizations. This would be a good thing.

  2. February 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Joene, What a good example of a major GOOPs. As Laurrie noted, it’s unbelievable that NWF never mentioned the groundswell of outrage as a factor in the decision to end the partnership. I guess regadless of how/why it happened, most people are pleased it’s over.

    BTW, thanks for the shout-out.

  3. joenesgarden
    February 5, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Debbie, NWF’s GOOPs certainly seemed to be an eye opener for many NWF collaborators. Only time will tell whether NWF’s reputation is sullied.

  4. February 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Joene, I had seen all the posts about the Scott’s-NWF “partnership” but had missed the turnaround news; thanks for bringing me up to date. In these times when ordinary people often feel powerless, it’s good to know that popular outrage made a real difference. (I think it’s going to take more, though, for NWF to regain its lost credibility.)

    • joenesgarden
      February 6, 2012 at 12:41 am

      Jean, I’m glad I could bring you updated news regarding NWF’s GOOPs. I agree that the NWF has some credibility rebuilding to accomplish.

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