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Gardener raises concerns after suspicious experience with popular nature nonprofit: 'I've also cut them out'

"I think as a nonprofit grows too big they lose their mission and instead focus on fundraising."

"I think as a non profit grows too big they lose their mission and instead focus on fundraising."

Photo Credit: iStock

A passionate rant shared on Reddit necessitated an important discussion about native plant conservation.

An outspoken member of the r/NativePlantGardening community expressed disappointment that the nonprofit The Arbor Day Foundation sells invasive plant species on its website. Their thoughtful criticism opened a door to discussing responsible stewardship.

"Arbor Day Foundation sells numerous invasive plant species, including crape myrtle and Norway spruce," the native plant gardening enthusiast said. "Very disappointed as I've gotten a few really nice native trees from them, but I will no longer be donating or buying trees from them.

"They even acknowledge they are non-native species, and yet have no problem contributing to the already extensive problem of invasive species choking out natives."

The sale of these non-natives undermines the broader conservation efforts the foundation claims to support. As the original poster correctly noted, when invasive species grow unchecked, they outperform native plants, uprooting pollinators and threatening entire ecosystems. If uncontrolled, they can damage parks, bodies of water, and infrastructure.

Clearly, the choices that large organizations make can have widespread impacts on our shared ecosystems.

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The Redditor's candid call-out connected with fellow Redditors. "I've also cut them out, but did send a kind note explaining why," one commenter said. "A lot of their trees they sell die, and they send them much later than I feel is right for my area for bare roots."

"I filled out some little online request for a tree order form to learn more about the program and got a STACK (like an inch thick) of papers mailed to me in a big envelope," another commenter shared. "90% of it was BS advertising stuff. Not a single piece of paper mentioned it was made from recycled material."

Another Redditor provided a nuanced perspective: "I think as a non profit grows too big they lose their mission and instead focus on fundraising."

When it comes to living sustainably, kind candor is powerful. Constructively connecting with nonprofits that have lost their way can create a pathway for improvement.

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