OPEI launches TurfMutt educational contest with entries due January 23

Thanks to an amazing rescue dog named Lucky (a.k.a. TurfMutt), a lucky teacher will win a trip to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) annual conference, an elementary school will win a $10,000 grant, and thousands of children in grades K-5 will learn science and how to take care of the environment.

Lucky is the real-life rescue dog behind the cartoonized superhero, TurfMutt. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.”

To win the “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest, students in grades K-5 submit essays on how they are helping TurfMutt and his band of superheroes, the Outdoor Powers, combat the environmental villains (Carbon Creep, Dust Demon, Dr. Runoff and Heat Freak). Entries are due Jan. 23, 2017, and contest entry deadlines and rules are available at www.TurfMutt.com.

“We are thrilled to create the new TurfMutt Teacher Award where we will send one teacher to the NSTA annual conference next year,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and Lucky’s rescuer. “Highlighting teaching success and investing in professional development leads to better learning for students. The $10,000 grant gives the winning school enough money to do a significant project – like install an outdoor classroom, a teaching garden, or another environmental education project of their choosing.”

Selecting winning schools based on the strength of the student entries, the TurfMutt program has awarded $35,000 to schools nationwide since 2010. This year, a teacher at the winning student’s school will also be awarded a trip to the 2017 NSTA conference.

The TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program has reached more than 62 million children, educators and families, since 2009 and was created by OPEI’s Research and Education Foundation.

TurfMutt program materials are free and aligned to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) standards for grades K-5. In 2017, TurfMutt will once again appear on the Lucky Dog CBS TV show, and TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat will also be featured in the 2017 Wildlife Habitat Council calendar.

TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.