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Weekly Reader and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s Education and Research Foundation Debuts TurfMutt, the Yard Dog Science Program at Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA Area Schools

May 10, 2010

Alexandria, VA – September 9, 2009 – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) today announced the first phase of a new educational outreach program, developed to teach third through fifth grade students the science behind lawns’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), release oxygen, cool the air, control dust, reduce erosion and filter water.  The science-based youth curriculum includes experiments, worksheets and games for youth and a web site and blog by the program’s “spokesperson,” TurfMutt. TurfMutt is a real dog -Lucky, a once-homeless canine who turned caped crusader and is “Out to Save the Planet – One Yard at a Time.”

Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA area schools will be the first to receive an array of educational materials from Weekly Reader, a publishing company that produces standards-based, research-proven resources to support the development of academic vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing skills, and fluency for all learners.

Specifically, the TurfMutt educational program includes worksheets for science experiments on photosynthesis and seed starting, games, bookmarks and a poster contest to spur ideas and creativity on how kids and their families can create and save greenspaces in their community. To see examples of the educational campaign, visit the Resources Page at

Accompanying the educational outreach program, TurfMutt, the Yard Dog, will make school and educational event appearances later this year at the National Association of Agricultural Educators’ (NAAE) annual meeting this November in Nashville and the National FAA Foundation annual convention this October in Indianapolis to spread the word about the value of yards and green spaces. TurfMutt also hosts a web site and blog – – to educate and keep in touch with consumers about how they can care for their yards responsibly. Fans may also follow TurfMutt via Twitter @Turfmutt and his own Facebook Fan Page.

“Dogs love yards and green spaces. So, who best to guide students through the science behind the value of green, growing lawns and landscapes than a real dog?” asked Kris Kiser, EVP at OPEI.  “Our goal is to help teachers with science curricula while teaching the fundamentals of photosynthesis and plant growth, and to inspire kids to create and keep green spaces thriving, especially in an urban environment where they experience too many paved, hot surfaces. And, we’re fortune to be working with a respected educational publishing company, Weekly Reader.”

“Weekly Reader Custom Publishing appreciates the opportunity to partner with OPEI in developing materials that impress upon students the importance of green spaces,” said MaryEllen McLaughlin, publisher, Weekly Reader Custom Publishing. “The OPEI classroom kit, featuring a classroom board game, teaches students about photosynthesis in everyday terms they can understand and embrace.”

About Weekly Reader Custom Publishing
Weekly Reader Custom Publishing is the recognized leader in developing unique educational programs sponsored by corporations, nonprofit associations and government agencies. Weekly Reader Publishing Group, founded in 1902, is a leader in educational publishing. Weekly Reader® publishes 12 magazines and a variety of other supplemental products that reinforce curriculum, help teachers meet standards, and engage students. Every one of the magazines has won numerous awards for excellence in educational journalism. Weekly Reader Publishing Group is part of the Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. For more information visit

About the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
OPEI is an international trade association representing the $15 billion landscape, forestry, utility and lawn and garden equipment manufacturing industry. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. Founded in 1952, OPEI represents and promotes the outdoor power equipment industry and ensures the public may continue to benefit from the economic, lifestyle and environmental contributions of landscapes and turfgrass. For more information on OPEI, visit