Green Shield Certified for Landscapes

Three companies pilot the first sustainable landscaping certification in the U.S.

Madison, Wisconsin, April 10, 2023 – Three companies have taken action to eliminate harmful chemical exposure to people, pets and pollinators by achieving Green Shield Certified (GSC) for Landscapes recognition. The companies of Good Nature Organic Lawn Care, Natural Communities, LLC and Dig Right In Landscaping, Inc provide sustainable landscaping services or technical assistance to more than 7,700 customers across the states of Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

“GSC is thrilled to recognize these three companies for exceptional and low-risk pest and weed control performance,” said Ryan Anderson, the Sustainable Communities Manager for the 501(c)3 non-profit IPM Institute of North America, Inc. The IPM Institute operates GSC and its three certifications for pest management professionals, facilities and landscapes. “Each new GSC for Landscapes company offers innovative services to help their customers achieve safer greenspaces, healthier soils and diverse ecosystems.”

GSC brought an evaluator to each company’s headquarters to record and evaluate their pesticide and fertilizer inventories. This evaluation resulted in the companies eliminating or placing high restrictions on the use of pesticides with active ingredients of glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba that research and governmental authorities have listed as carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and harmful to pollinators, aquatic life and birds. None of the companies use neonicotinoids.

These companies refrain from applying these chemicals by disrupting pest and weed life cycles and eliminating favorable conditions.

“At Good Nature Organic Lawn Care, we manage weeds, insects and diseases by encouraging healthy grass growth and feeding your lawn organic materials and nutrients that your grass likes, but weeds don’t like,” Good Nature’s founder and owner, Alec McClennan, explained. “You get a beautiful lawn, without all the chemicals.”

Good Nature and the other two companies employ many of the practices promoted by IPM Institute’s Midwest Grows Green (MGG) sustainable landscaping initiative of overseeding, compost topdressing, mowing high and more.

“Dig Right In started its organic lawn care journey in 2005. Over the years, we’ve developed a thorough understanding of the science and methods involved in enhancing soil biology and texture, promoting deeper grass roots and managing pests without chemical dependency,” said Jeff Swano, the founder and owner of Dig Right In. “With these techniques, our customers get lush, vibrant and ecologically diverse yards.”

The pilot GSC for Landscapes providers introduced sustainable landscaping concepts to MGG and the overall green industry. For example, Natural Communities, LLC’s natural area management consultations encourage customers to follow its Flywheel Ecology approach. Flywheel Ecology utilizes native plants to ward off invasive species and greatly reduce herbicide use.

“Flywheel Ecology develops long-term ecological restoration plans to minimize chemical exposure to humans and the environment,” described Nicholas Fuller, the founder and owner of Natural Communities. “Many get lost in killing invasive species as their primary focus. Our focus, on the other hand, is to build resilient ecosystems and wildlife habitats. Weed management is naturally easier through building healthy ecosystems.”

GSC for Landscapes providers can cut management costs for lawns, landscapes and parks, while also reducing exposure to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. These three GSC companies must pass a rigorous on-site evaluation every three years to retain GSC recognition. Non-profits of Non Toxic Communities, The Conservation Foundation and the Pollinator Friendly Alliance have endorsed these standards.

To start the certification process, interested parties should contact IPM Institute’s Ryan Anderson at 773-878-8245 or GSC clients have free access to IPM Institute educational and marketing materials including all webinars hosted during Green Shield Week April 10-14.

About GSC and IPM Institute of North America 

Green Shield Certified (GSC) is operated by the IPM Institute of North America, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its expertise and accomplishments in promoting integrated pest management (IPM). The Institute’s Sustainable Communities programs promote and implement sustainable and safer pest & weed management practices where people live, learn and play. GSC accredits providers of effective, prevention-based pest control while minimizing the use of pesticides in commercial buildings & residential homes and on college campuses. The Midwest Grows Green initiative educates and empowers citizens to take sustainable landscaping action that reduces harmful runoff into our waterways, protects the health of our most vulnerable citizents and reduces negative impacts of pesticides on non-target species such as pollinators.

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