PROJECT EVERGREEN STRIVES TO PROTECT THE GREEN INDUSTRY

With activist threats increasing and recent pesticide bans in Canada and the United States threatening to impact the green industry, protecting our industry is now more important than ever before. That's why a group of green industry professionals have banded together to create a powerful organization called Project EverGreen.

Project EverGreen is the first organization to make a concerted effort to reach and educate consumers about green spaces and is made up of an alliance of green industry end-user associations, suppliers, distributors, media companies and other organizations.

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The organization is in the midst of a $1 million fundraising campaign to kick off a national consumer marketing campaign in late 2004 or early 2005. The campaign will feature grassroots tactics including the development of messages and educational materials for green industry companies, professional market research, public relations efforts and an in-depth consumer Web site to educate consumers about the importance of healthy landscapes and green spaces.

The consumer campaign also provides an opportunity to relay many of Project EverGreen's messages that will clear up the misinformation among consumers and focus on the positives healthy landscapes and other green spaces provide. Arming end-user landscapers, irrigation contractors, lawn care companies and others with tools to educate and inform their customers and other consumers are just a few of the tactics that are planned.

“Our goal of the consumer marketing campaign is to support our mission of raising awareness of the environmental, economic and lifestyle benefits of landscapes and promote the significance of those who preserve and enhance green spaces at home, work and play,” said Den Gardner, executive director of Project EverGreen.

To meet its targeted fundraising goal of $1 million, in mid-August, Project EverGreen began contacting approximately 200 companies and associations. To date, in addition to over $400,000 of donated professional services and products, more than $450,000 has been raised from companies, associations, contractors and suppliers and the organization continues to seek financial commitments from all facets of the industry. As of September 15, 2004, the contributors include: Advanstar Communications, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), Bayer Environmental Science, Blue Chip Landscaping, The Brickman Group, Cagwin & Dorward, Chalet Nursery/Garden, DATACORE Marketing, Dow AgroSciences, EPIC Creative Communications, Epley Associates, Inc., Fairway Green, Inc., Focal Point Communications, GIE Media, Inc., Grasshopper Lawns, Inc., Griffin LLC, Groundmasters, Inc., Grounds Maintenance, Irrigation Association, James Martin Associates, John Deere Worldwide Commercial & Consumer Equipment Division, Lawn Doctor, Inc., Lawn Doctor, Inc. Pres. Advisory Council, LESCO, LJ Thalmann Company, Market Intellect, Northern Lights Outdoor Lighting, Ohio Lawn Care Association, Ohio Turfgrass Association, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Perma-Green Supreme, Inc., The Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), Sports Turf Managers Association, Spring-Green Lawn Care Corporation, Swanson Russell Associates, Swingle Tree & Lawn, Syngenta Professional Products, The Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA), The Davey Tree Expert Company, The Scotts Company, The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), The Toro Co., Tomlinson Bomberger Lawn Care, Turfgrass Producers International (TPI), Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), TruGreen ChemLawn, Trusty & Associates, Village Green Landscape and Weed Man.

“To educate consumers, we need green industry employees both big and small, who are stewards of the environment to step forward. If the services our industry offers are restricted, regulated or made illegal, we will all lose revenue and customers. Every facet of the business —pesticides, equipment, seed, nutrients, irrigation and more is at stake here in the U.S.,” said Gardner.

Through the tireless efforts of the committed group, great strides have been made to protect, defend and promote this industry, but there's still a lot of work left to do. Project EverGreen needs additional help in proactively promoting the green industry to everyone. To make a donation or share your ideas and support, please contact the organization for more information: at 1-877-758-4835 or on the Web at www.projectevergreen.com.

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