WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company has launched a multi-year program across Florida to provide financial support to environmental groups and academic institutions focused on scientific research to help identify potential solutions to the state’s water quality issues. The company also said it will launch a multi-media consumer campaign beginning immediately and escalating throughout the spring to remind homeowners how they can maintain healthy lawns and gardens while also protecting the state’s critical water resources.
Over the past several years, ScottsMiracle-Gro has taken key steps to improve the environmental profile of its lawn care products by removing phosphorus, reducing the amount of total nitrogen while also increasing the amount of slow-release nitrogen. The company has also introduced innovations in its widely-used lawn spreaders to ensure on-target fertilizer application. Additionally, enhanced instructions on product packaging provide consumers with clear instructions on how to use the products successfully while also helping to protect water quality.
ScottsMiracle-Gro’s commitment will be demonstrated in the four following ways:
- 1. INVESTING IN FLORIDA-BASED SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: The company’s Florida commitment includes funding of environmental research and academic organizations that are focused on having fact-based conversations about the impact of lawn and garden activities on water quality and developing effective solutions, regardless of the nutrient source. The first of these projects is a two-year research grant to the Ocean Resource Conservation Association (ORCA), based in Ft. Pierce, Fla., that will focus on the Indian River Lagoon. The research will map point and non-point sources of nutrients and other potential pollutants flowing into the Lagoon that can help focus public and private investments on the highest priority actions that might improve and protect water and wildlife in the lagoon. Chris Allen, president of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s south region based in West Palm Beach, Fla., said the only stipulation placed on the grant is that the research process and results be transparent and include input and peer review from a range of scientists.
- 2. COMMITMENT TO EDUCATING FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS: Beginning this spring, ScottsMiracle-Gro will invest in radio and online advertising, a new, Web-based consumer resource (www.scotts.com/florida) and also in-store messaging as part of an effort to remind Florida consumers about the importance of practicing responsible lawn and garden activities. Additionally, Scotts LawnService will be providing new Florida Friendly Lawn Care educational materials directly to hundreds of thousands of Florida households, and has launched a website, www.floridafriendlylawncare.com, to support its communication efforts. Another component of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s education efforts will be a range of education tools that city and county governments and elected officials can utilize to communicate directly to local residents. All of Scotts’ branded and unbranded education content will be based on the lawn and garden care recommendations of leading academic experts in the field of turf science.
- 3. PARTNERING WITH FLORIDIANS TO HELP RESTORE NATURAL RESOURCES: A third component of the company’s commitment includes partnering with environmental restoration groups on water restoration projects, the first of which, announced last week, will provide 80,000 salt marsh plants through a partnership with Tampa Bay Watch. Called "Bay Grasses in Classes," Tampa-area middle and high schools students will tend native plant nurseries on school grounds. Those students and ScottsMiracle-Gro associates will transfer the plants to designated restoration sites within the Tampa Bay estuary. The restoration plantings help clean the Bay by filtering nutrients, while the students learn real-world environmental and agronomic education principles that will help them become the next generation of stewards for Florida’s waterways.
- 4. SUPPORTING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE THROUGH COMMUNITY GARDENING: Because lawns and green spaces serve as some of the most effective tools to reduce stormwater runoff, protect against erosion and nutrient loss and also increase groundwater recharge, a final component of the program will include the creation or support of community gardens and green spaces in every Florida county over the next three years. The effort will be part of the company’s GRO1000 initiative, which, in collaboration with partners such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Plant-A-Row For the Hungry, will establish community gardens in 1,000 U.S. communities by 2018.