The Nature Conservancy and Meijer stores are working together again to encourage shoppers to select non-invasive plants, trees and shrubs for their backyards, kicking off this year’s program with a special Earth Day open house on April 24 at all 191 Meijer stores throughout the Midwest.
“Invasive species can wreak havoc on local ecosystems by disrupting the delicate balance found in nature,” said Leslee Spraggins, Illinois state director for The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy hopes that this on-going partnership with Meijer will help reduce some of the damage done by invasive species by giving consumers the information they need to help their local environment.”
Shoppers visiting Meijer stores will be able to learn about environmentally friendly products such as non-invasive plants recommended by The Nature Conservancy. On April 24, Meijer representatives will be on-hand to provide background information on non-invasive plants, as well as provide free seeds and literature on how to make your yard more earth friendly.
Customers visiting Meijer on April 24 can also pick up a variety of free informational items, including a special Earth Day booklet, decals and other materials, as well as enter to win prizes including a grand prize of $5,000 in Meijer gift cards, a first prize of $4,000 towards a backyard makeover ($2,000 in gift cards, $2,000 in cash), and a second prize of a $2,500 Meijer gift card.
“Providing healthy choices for our customers through our nutrition and lifestyle offerings is a key part of our business philosophy,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO. “We believe that by providing our customers with earth-friendly information in a fun and informative way, we are empowering them to make healthy choices for our earth as well.”
Invasive plants are those that have negative effects on our economy, environment or human health. They can quickly overwhelm native plants by reducing the availability of light, water, nutrients and space. Commonly known invasives include plants such as purple loosestrife and garlic mustard, which are found throughout the state.
Meijer has removed four known invasive plants from their inventory: privet, Norway maple, Lombardy poplar and lyme grass.
According to Nature Conservancy scientists, almost all invasive plants are non-native, but not all non-native plants become invasive. Hundreds of non-native plants have become established in the Midwest yet relatively few become invasive. Experts say that invasive species cost Americans about $137 billion every year in losses. Conservancy scientists developed criteria for recommending plants, trees and shrubs that will carry the Conservancy’s logo on tags in Meijer Garden Centers. More than 100 of the plants, trees and shrubs available in the Meijer Garden Center have a special icon created by The Nature Conservancy indicating “Recommended Non-Invasive.”
Examples of species that will receive the special icon on tags redesigned this year include:
•Purple coneflower (flower)
•White pine (tree)
•Big blue stem (grass)
•Flowering dogwood (tree)
Meijer is proud to partner with The Nature Conservancy on this important project to make an impact on invasive species to protect our natural landscape.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.