ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (PRNewswire) — The highly successful TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program celebrates its tenth anniversary of teaching the value and benefits of the outdoors, specifically the contributions of our own backyards, community parks, and other managed landscapes.This year, the program expands its successful youth education program to middle schools around the country, adding new lessons and student activities, including a graphic story as well as cash prizes to its annual contest.
“For the last decade, TurfMutt’s message has been simple: care for the green space around you but, equally important, get outside and enjoy it,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), whose Foundation is the creative founder of TurfMutt. “Now we’re expanding to include more students and their families to further promote the health and wellness benefits of being an ‘outsider’.”
This year, the scholastic program expands to middle schools, starting with TurfMutt’s “The (Really) Great Outdoors Contest,” which encourages students in grades 6 to 8 to design by writing about or drawing a nature space that works for their lifestyle and community no matter where they live—city, country, suburb, house, or apartment.
- The contest offers four prizes, ranging from $750–$2,000 for students, as well as cash prizes for teachers ($125–$750) and schools ($125–$750).
- To enter the contest, students will draw upon their environmental science knowledge, planning and problem-solving skills, as well as creativity, to compose a design and/or written description for a green/natural space suitable for their home, neighborhood, or community.
- The entry should depict how their idea would benefit both the environment and their community, while also motivating the entrant (and others) to get outside and enjoy nature.
- Entries are due April 24, 2019. Additional contest details are available at www.scholastic.com/turfmutt.
Lesson plans and graphic story:
New lesson plans and a graphic story, both aimed at middle school youth, will explore TurfMutt’s adventures in “saving the planet one yard at a time.”
Both are designed to inspire students to improve the green spaces around them and help them prepare for the contest. An estimated 18,000 teachers will receive lessons plans and 460,000 students will receive the graphic story, which was included with Science World magazine.
“The graphic story is an innovative way to reach this age group with the TurfMutt message, and we are thrilled to see the expanded contest reach a new audience of students,” said Kiser. “We hope the prizes for students, teachers, and schools inspire them to continue their environmental exploration. Maybe they will use those prizes to design or refresh their own green spaces at home or at their school.”
TurfMutt started as a pilot youth education program to schools in Sacramento. TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation. It grown into a national program for kids, families, and communities and has reached more than 68 million children, educators, and families since 2009.
The program’s mascot is Lucky the TurfMutt, an animated version of a real-life rescue dog who is “pawing it forward” by inspiring students to care for the environment and appreciate its benefits. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.”
Learn more at www.TurfMutt.com