On May 17, Discovery Education and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)'s Education Foundation announced the Grand Prize winner and two runners-up of TurfMutt's second annual national "Spruce Up Your School" sweepstakes.
OPEI awards $5,000 grant to Kentucky elementary school
The national TurfMutt program, named after Lucky, a real-life rescue dog, is a dynamic digital curriculum that encourages kids and their families to protect and foster green space in their communities, and advocates for animal rescue and adoption initiatives.
The TurfMutt curriculum has reached more than one million students across the country, and is featured on the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Education, Department of Energy and the Center for Green Schools at USGBC websites.
Kim Davidson, a teacher at Morgan Elementary School in Paducah, Ky., won the Grand Prize on behalf of her entire school. Morgan Elementary will receive a $5,000 grant to introduce more green space around school grounds and play areas, and all of the school’s students will receive a TurfMutt backpack with school supplies.
Davidson entered the TurfMutt sweepstakes, hoping to create a vibrant play area around the school and encourage environmental awareness through the care of more green space.
Discovery Education and OPEI presented Davidson and Morgan Elementary School with the Grand Prize check on May 24, along with a surprise visit from Lucky, the TurfMutt spokesdog. Morgan Elementary School plans on using the $5,000 grant to build the “TurfMutt Outdoor Science Lab.”
“Since we are located in the very heart of Paducah, our children get limited access to natural, green space areas,” said Vicki Conyer, principal at Morgan Elementary School. “Thanks to OPEI and Discovery Education, this makeover will give our students expanded outdoor experiences and enjoyment for years to come.”
“For the second year in a row, we’ve had a terrific response from teachers across the country,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “Teachers understand that green space around the school helps kids be more active, investigate how things grow, and learn about their unique ecosystem. The only way to learn about the outdoors is to get outdoors, and that is what the TurfMutt program is all about.”
The two runners-up in the TurfMutt Sweepstakes are teachers Becky Adams from Hearn Academy in Phoenix, Ariz.; and Robert Voss from Yorktown Elementary School in Yorktown, Ind. Students in these two winning classrooms will receive TurfMutt-branded “Green Packs” that contain eco-friendly school supplies, including a canvas backpack, lunch bag, colored pencils, and a water bottle.
“TurfMutt’s resources are making it possible for students to build a bridge between what they’re learning in science class and what they see in their environment,” said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. “Discovery Education is thrilled to work alongside OPEI to award prizes that reinforce these lessons and give students the opportunity to better understand and embrace the nature around them.”
OPEI and Discovery Education have created a dynamic digital curriculum and set of online resources that encourages kids and their families to take care of the land around them and fosters an appreciation of green space in their communities.
In addition to lesson plans, engaging activities, puzzles and videos, children and their families can enjoy an interactive map about ecosystems across the country. With these resources, teachers can emphasize the benefits of growing plants in balance with local climates and environments, and young people and their parents can learn about sustainability in their own backyards.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and Discovery Education present the Grand Prize of the TurfMutt’s second annual “Spruce Up Your School” sweepstakes to Morgan Elementary School, Paducah, Ky. Pictured, from left to right, are as follows: Dr. Randy Greene, superintendent; Kim Davidson, winning teacher, Morgan Elementary; Vicki Conyer, principal, Morgan Elementary; Donald Shively, assistant superintendent; and Kris Kiser, president and CEO, OPEI.