Poking around on The Nature Conservancy’s website, I found a recent press release about a partnership between TNC and Meijer, a department store in the Midwest that apparently has a pretty big nursery business in the spring and summer. I think it’s an interesting and positive development in light of our recent discussion on how the “green industry” should deal with invasive species.
TNC scientists worked with Meijer to improve their approach to selling native and invasive plants. Meijer will eliminate 2 major Midwestern invasives, Norway maple and Lombardy poplar, from their inventory, and will carry more non-invasive plants recommended by TNC. In fact, sixteen percent of their inventory will be TNC-recommended non-invasives, such as big blue-stem grass, white pine, big leaf dogwood, & purple coneflower. These plants will carry a specially-designed tag that indicates the plant is recommended by TNC.
In addition, TNC has trained Meijer salespeople about why these TNC-recommended non-invasive plants are better so they can explain it to customers. And to top it all off, Meijer is donating $450,000 to help eliminate invasive plants from the Lake Michigan shoreline.
This is great news in many ways. It’s obviously a good first step towards reducing the impact of invasive species, and it also shows that industry and environmentalists can work together to come up with creative solutions for solving environmental problems. Let’s hope that TNC and other organizations can use this deal as a model to develop similar partnerships with other nurseries.
Photo of purple loosestrife by B. Blossey, courtesy of Invasive.org.