OPEI awards elementary students

Two grand prize winners received a $5,000 grant to improve the green spaces at their respective schools.

May 17, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s Research and Education Foundation and Scholastic has announced the winners of TurfMutt’s national “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest. Each of the grand prize winners will receive a $5,000 grant to improve the yards and green spaces at their respective schools.

The K-2 grand prize winner is Ali Tomlinson of Playa Vista, California and the grade 3-5 grand prize winner is Kashvi Ramani, of Ashburn, Virginia.
Tomlinson attends Playa Vista Elementary school. Her entry was “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work,” a story about how TurfMutt and the outdoor powers saved a neighborhood. Ramani attends Belmont Station Elementary school. Ramani’s entry was an original rap song, “Outdoor Saviors.”
Both check presentations will be held Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
Fifty runners-up in in each grade level will each receive a book from Scholastic.
“This year’s contest entries were very creative. Creating stories and art helps children apply and share what they are learning,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “It’s really heartwarming to see so many children want to take care of green spaces. The TurfMutt program is doing a world of good for children, their families and the environment.”
The annual contest is part of the TurfMutt environmental stewardship and education program where students in grades K-5 learn how to take care of green spaces. TurfMutt and his friends, the Outdoor Powers, inspire the lesson plans, providing a fun and creative way to teach environmental and science lessons. The cartoon-ized TurfMutt character is based on a real-life rescue dog named Lucky.
To enter the contest, students had to create an original picture using the TurfMutt character cutouts. Students wrote stories to accompany their artwork showing how they are Backyard Superheroes and how they are combating the environmental villains Carbon Creep, Dust Demon, Dr. Runoff and Heat Freak while working to save living landscapes. Students in K-2 wrote stories between 25-50 words, and students in grades 3-5 wrote 100-150 word stories.
Scholastic hosted the “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest and received 790 entries, which started on February 18 and ended on April 6, 2016.
The program’s materials, available at www.TurfMutt.com, are free and aligned to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) standards for grades K-5. The TurfMutt environmental education program, funded and managed by OPEI’s Research and Education Foundation, has reached 62 million students, teachers and families since 2009.