Members Area

NAL Conservation

National Affairs & Legislation
and Conservation Committees

From the time of its founding, The Garden Club of America has been an active force in the promotion of environmental awareness and the preservation of natural resources. The Conservation Committee, one of the earliest GCA committees, and club members worked together at the highest levels in Washington DC on behalf of parks, to promote wildflower and native plant preservation, and to improve roadsides by restricting billboards. Many GCA club members were active in the 1930s in the battle to save the redwoods.

In the 1960s, as the environmental movement grew strongly in response to growing alarm about pollution and species loss in our country, the GCA's legislative involvement grew along with it. In June, 1969, the National Affairs and Legislation Committee was established as a separate entity from the Conservation Committee. In the words of Mrs. Thomas M. Waller, a primary founder and former GCA president, the purpose of NAL is to "bring to the attention of the membership important legislative proposals in Washington which fall within the fields of our endeavor."

In May 2019, The Garden Club of America was awarded the Audubon's Rachel Carson Women in Conservation award. This honor was accepted by president Dede Petri on behalf of the organization.

Experience a video of her remarks and a video about the accomplishments of the GCA, as prepared by Katina Productions for the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Women in Conservation Award ceremony. As a recipient of the 2019 award, the GCA joined a stellar list of recipients including our own Liz Titus Putnam, as well as Lady Bird Johnson, Sylvia Earle, Bette Midler and more.


The NAL and Conservation committees work in tandem to enhance the GCA purpose to "...restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement." Although the NAL and Conservation committees meet together, their purposes and functions are different. NAL follows in detail legislation that ultimately affects the above purpose, while Conservation provides education on the environmental issues themselves. Conservation Committee members work with youth, member clubs, and the general public to promote local conservation projects and responsible environmental stewardship.

Committee zone members carry the work of both committees to the clubs in their zones. Conservation committee members also publish Conservation Watch, a quarterly online newsletter featuring conservation and environmental news from around the country. NAL shares information with member clubs through regular legislative updates and its Current Legislative Status Chart. The focal issues for the NAL Committee are explicitly detailed in the GCA Position Papers, which are created by both committees and approved by the Executive Board. 

The Healthy Yard Pledge

GCA club members: take the Pledge by logging into the Members Area of the GCA website and going to the Conservation Committee page. 

Non-members: take the Pledge here.

“I pledge to take care of my yard without synthetic pesticides, weed killers and fertilizers except on rare occasions to resolve an infestation or to improve habitat for native plants and wildlife. I also pledge not to throw pharmaceuticals or chemicals down my drains or toilets.”

The majority of land in the United States is owned by private citizens like us and together we can make a real difference. Studies have shown that even very small amounts of pesticides, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals in our water can adversely impact human health. Taking the pledge is an important and simple step to a cleaner safer water supply.

The Garden Club of America thanks Diane Lewis, MD, founder of The Great Healthy Yard Project and member of the Bedford Garden Club, Zone III For Starting The Healthy Yard Pledge.