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Elementary School Students Win “BE A BACKYARD SUPERHERO” Contest $5,000 Grants given to two schools in Pennsylvania and Texas, Students Learn About Importance of Caring for Green Spaces

June 4, 2015

Alexandria, Va.  (June 4, 2015)  The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)’s Research and Education Foundation and Scholastic announced the winners of TurfMutt’s national “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest. Each of the grand prize winners received a $5,000 grant to improve the yards and green spaces at their respective schools.

The annual contest is part of the TurfMutt environmental stewardship and education program where children 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 submit an essay in 150-200 words showing how they are a “Backyard Superhero.” They were encouraged to show how they will help TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers combat the cartoon-based “environmental villain” characters (known as Carbon Creep, Dust Demon, Dr. Runoff, and Heat Freak). They also had to create an original picture using the character cutouts from the TurfMutt activities.

The winners are:

  • K-2 grand prize winner, Jordan Evans, of Trophy Club, Texas. Evans attends Samuel Beck Elementary School.
  • Grades 3-5 grand prize winner, Liam Ellis, of Sewickley, Pa. Ellis attends Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh.
  • 50 runners-up in grades K-2 will each receive a book from Scholastic.
  • 50 runners-up in Grades 3-5 will each receive a book from Scholastic.

Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI said, “These students are superheroes. It was inspiring to read the contest entries and see how many students are vocalizing a desire to take care of green spaces and be part of a community that makes a difference because of TurfMutt. Helping children have an appreciation now for green spaces and an understanding of how to take care of them, will mean that they value them for life.”

Scholastic received 790 entries for the contest, which was announced in February and ended April 13, 2015.

About the TurfMutt Program
In 2015, the expanded TurfMutt program, created in conjunction with Scholastic, includes lesson plans for teachers, take home sheets and learning activities for families, a website and blog, interactive games and a digital storybook. 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 program has reached 38 million students, teachers and families since 2009.

PHOTO CAPTIONS
Be a Backyard Superhero Contest Announces Winners (Grades K-2)
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)’s Research and Education Foundation and Scholastic announced the winners of TurfMutt’s national “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest. Pictured is grand prize winner for grades K-2, Jordan Evans, of Trophy Club, Texas (center front), when a check for $5,000 was presented to Beck Elementary School to improve yards and green spaces around the building.

Be a Backyard Superhero Contest Announces Winners (Grades 3-5)
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)’s Research and Education Foundation and Scholastic announced the winners of TurfMutt’s national “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest. Pictured is grand prize winner for grades 3-5, Liam Ellis, of Sewickley, Pa. with Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI, when a check for $5,000 was presented to Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh to improve yards and green spaces around the building.

IMAGES AVAILABLE: Images of some entries are available for publication. To request images, email ami@fourleafpr.com.

About Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh
Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh is an independent private school in the Catholic tradition for boys and girls in grades K-12, located in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh in Gibsonia. For more information, go to:
www.aquinasacademy-pittsburgh.org 

About Samuel Beck Elementary School
The Samuel Beck Elementary School is located in Trophy Club, Texas, where it serves student in K-5. The school is part of the Northwest Independent School District near Fort Worth, Texas. For more information, go to:
www.nisdtx.org/beck 

About OPEI
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org. 

Media contacts
Ami Neiberger-Miller, Four Leaf PR on behalf of OPEI, 703-887-4877, ami@fourleafpr.com
Sara Sinek, Scholastic, 212-343-6899, ssinek@scholastic.com