New Partners to Engage Public on Lawn Care near Great Lakes

The Alliance for the Great Lakes and The Scotts Miracle-Gro announced on April 30 a multi-year, regional partnership focused on public education about simple lawn care tips to enhance water quality.

"The future of the Great Lakes has a lot to do with our actions in and around the home," said Cameron Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which is the oldest citizens' Great Lakes organization in the country. "This partnership is a natural fit, drawing on our organizations' deep understanding of the relationship between water, well-maintained lawns, and the environment. We're excited to be partnering with ScottsMiracle-Gro to educate homeowners about making a difference."

The educational outreach program engages various communication channels to reach homeowners in the Great Lakes region. As part of the partnership, advertisements, public service announcements, a Web site, community outreach events, and in-store education materials communicate homeowner proper lawn care, enhancing water quality, and benefiting the environment.

"Homeowners recognize the need to protect water quality, yet lack information on how to take action in their own backyards and surrounding community," said Rich Shank, chief environmental officer, ScottsMiracle-Gro. "Working with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, we're underscoring that properly cared-for turf goes hand-in-hand with water quality—that the relationship between lawns and water is not mutually exclusive."

The Great Lakes represent about one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water and more than 90 percent of the U.S. supply. A vital but limited resource, clean water is critical for jobs, drinking, and recreation. Founded in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes' mission is to conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource.

The Great Lakes programming urges homeowners and communities to adopt a series of simple lawn care behaviors, including:

Mow High—Longer grass is stronger grass that's able to shade the soil, prevent weed seed germination, and promote deeper roots that help retain moisture and better absorb and filter rainfall.

Return Clippings—Mulching mowed grass recycles organic matter and returns nutrients to the soil. Rich soil reduces erosion and runoff.

Use the Right Fertilizer—Unless feeding a starter lawn or a soil test indicates otherwise, choose a fertilizer that's low in phosphorus or phosphorus-free.

Clean Up—Keep fertilizer and grass clippings off sidewalks, roadways, and other hard surfaces. This reduces the chance fertilizer and grass clippings will run off hard surfaces into rivers, lakes, and streams and keep nutrients on the lawn where they help lawns.

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