OPEI partners with Scholastic to grow TurfMutt program

February 18, 2015 -  By

OPEI_logoThrough its partnership with Scholastic, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI’s) Research & Education Foundation expanded the educational material offerings of its TurfMutt program.

Designed to help youth learn about science and the environment from the perspective of the backyard, community and personal green spaces, the TurfMutt environmental education program has reached 38 million students, teachers and families since 2009.

Now, it is refined to include lesson plans for teachers, take home sheets and learning activities for families, a website and blog, interactive games and a digital storybook. Materials, available at TurfMutt.com, are free and are aligned to science, technology, engineering and math standards for grades K to 5.

The environmental program is built around a real-life rescue dog named Lucky who is “behind the cape” of TurfMutt. After being rescued from a busy highway, Lucky is “pawing it forward” by fighting environmental villains with the help of his team of cartoon superheroes, “The Outdoor Powers.” TurfMutt uses this cartoon-based story-telling format to make science accessible, entertaining and engaging for children and their families.

“We have found that children identify with the TurfMutt character, and now he is larger than life with additional materials and characters, thanks to Scholastic,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI, who adopted Lucky. “Green space matters. It matters to our communities and our families. There’s a ripple effect from the TurfMutt program. It’s not just about teaching children science and environmental education. It’s about getting outside and taking care of green space and being part of a community that cares and together making a difference.”

In the classroom materials, TurfMutt and The Outdoor Powers are on a mission to “save the planet one yard at a time.” In the process, children learn how a green space benefits their community. Backyard science activities explore how grass keeps water and air clean and the planet cooler, how plants make rivers and lakes healthier and how grass helps to prevent water pollution.

“We are pleased to join with OPEI to share the importance of sustainable environmental practices with students across the country,” said Ann Amstutz Hayes, senior vice president of Scholastic. “We have created teachable moments that are fun and appealing for kids while empowering teachers, students, and families to become responsible citizens of their communities and the environment.”

LM Staff

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