OPEI Foundation, Discovery Education announce partnership

Discovery Education and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Education and Research Foundation announced Feb. 15 the launch of TurfMutt, an online, science-based program designed to help educators teach an appreciation of backyard and community green spaces and landscapes.

“The TurfMutt educational curriculum is a valuable resource for educators seeking to teach their students about the positive role ecosystems play in our environment,” said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president of educational partnerships. “Teaching students about the benefits of the green space in their own backyard or nearby park will help create a new generation of environmental stewards.”

OPEI and Discovery Education have created a dynamic digital curriculum led by Lucky, a real-life rescue dog who encourages kids to protect the land around them and fosters an appreciation of natural surroundings in their own community. This curriculum includes lesson plans for students in grades 3-5, engaging activities, puzzles, videos and more.

In addition, an interactive map brings ecosystems across the country to life for students. With these resources, teachers can emphasize the benefits of landscaping in balance with local environments, and instill a new appreciation for environmental issues.

“The goal of the TurfMutt program is to set kids on a path of scientific discovery about the environmental and lifestyle benefits of our every day green spaces — our parks, lawns and landscapes,” said Kris Kiser, executive vice president, OPEI. “We’re proud to partner with Discovery Education to provide elementary-school teachers with a fun, engaging way to teach their students about the role of green, growing plants, but most importantly, the role of water conservation and environmental stewardship.”

OPEI and Discovery Education are also launching the “Landscapes Across America” contest, challenging students to illustrate the unique ecosystem attributes of their local region. Classrooms are encouraged to submit a slideshow with digital photos of the unique landscape in their area, and include a written description of what environmental aspects of their region need to be protected. All entries must be submitted by March 31 and judging will take place in April.

The grand prize classroom winner will receive a $5,000 grant for the teacher to implement an eco-friendly program, a $500 teacher award, and trees planted in honor of each member of the class. Four second-place classroom winners will receive a $500 grant toward implementing an eco-friendly program, as well as trees planted in honor of each classroom member. All five presentations will be incorporated into the U.S. ecosystems map once the winners are announced.

For more information on TurfMutt and the Landscapes Across America contest, visit http://turfmutt.discoveryeducation.com/.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionized television with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classrooms through Discovery Education. Powered by the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven, standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order to empower teachers to improve student achievement. Already, more than half of all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

About the OPEI Education & Research Foundation

The OPEI Education & Research Foundation works to develop educational materials, support research and further programs to foster environmental stewardship and an appreciation of our parks, forests, lawns and landscapes. The Foundation’s priorities revolve around environmental best practices and stewardship in the care and enjoyment of our green spaces and safety education that ensures safe and proper use of outdoor power equipment.

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