Anti-GMO activists ‘harass’ Connecticut nature center months after Monsanto grant funds returned

A controversy that swirled last year when the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center announced a grant from chemical giant Monsanto has led the nonprofit to revise its gifts policy and forgo a similar request this year, but the moves have failed to quell some activists’ angst over the matter.

Bob Burns of Ledyard, an organic farmer and nature center member, said he has gathered about 150 signatures on a petition demanding the nonprofit explicitly reject any “alliance” with Monsanto, whose genetically modified seeds have caused controversy among natural-food activists.

He added that if Denison Pequotsepos does not promise publicly to forgo any future grants from the chemical firm – whose Dekalb Genetics Corp. plant sits next to nature center property – he will lead a protest in front of the nonprofit’s property May 23 on World March Against Monsanto Day.

“This is a single issue,” Burns, who heads the local GMO Free CT chapter, said in a phone interview. “I’m going to stay on it till the … day I die.”

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But nature center spokeswoman Elissa Bass said Burns’ insistence on conflating a donation as an alliance indicates the lengths he will go to hurt the organization.

“What Bob Burns is doing to the nature center is exactly what he says Monsanto does to the small American farmer,” Bass said in a phone interview. “He tries to bully us, and he tries to intimidate us.”

Burns and other activists opposed to genetically modified organisms in the nation’s food chain brought the issue to the public’s attention last fall after the Mystic River Press cited Monsanto’s $5,000 gift to fund a school program called “Plant & Pollinators: Perfect Partners” that teaches first graders about bees, butterflies and bats.

Meanwhile, a program that teaches kids about the importance of pollinators – even as honey bee populations worldwide have been decimated in recent years – will not be taught in the region’s schools this year.

Read full, original article: Nature center grant from Monsanto still rankles despite policy change

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