Submissions from students in grades 6 to 8 are due March 16, 2020
$10,000 in prizes available for students, teachers, and schools
Alexandria, Va. – The TurfMutt Foundation announces The (Really) Great Outdoors Contest 2020, focused on urging kids to use their imaginations around the many uses and benefits of green space and the outdoors. Open to students in grades six to eight, last year’s contest drew over 2,700 submissions from middle school youth.
Created in partnership with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, the contest encourages students to write about and/or draw a nature space their community could use. Students are also asked to include text to describe the space, discuss what elements are needed, and how their space will be used to benefit the community. Each entry can be no more than three pages.
“We mean it when we say nature starts at your back door. Introducing kids to the outdoors is good for them and good for all of us,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. “Family yards, school yards and parks are part of a vast ecosystem that supports all of us. The contest helps the next generation envision how people—wherever they may live—can spend time outside.”
Last year’s contest was open to middle schoolers for the first time. “Our winners last year imagined beautiful and, more importantly, functional and purposeful designs for green spaces,” said Kiser.
“We want kids to understand that our lawns and greenspaces are urban habitats. These spaces are critical to wildlife, pollinators, and the health and well-being of communities,” said Kiser. “They need to picture themselves within those greenspaces—and the contest is a great way for them to do that.”
Ten thousand dollars in prizes will be awarded through the contest. The grand prize for a student is $2,500, with teachers and the school each receiving a $750 prize. The first place student will receive $2,000 and the teacher and the school will each receive $500. The second place student will receive $1,500 and the teacher and the school will each receive $250. The third place student will receive $750 and the teacher and the school will each receive $125.
Teachers can download lesson plans and contest entry information from www.scholastic.com/turfmutt. Entries can be accepted online and uploaded by teachers, or mailed in by teachers or students alike. Entries are due March 16, 2020. Last year’s winning entries are available online for viewing.
The program’s educational materials are free and support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) standards for grades K–8. The TurfMutt environmental education program, funded and managed by OPEI’s Research and Education Foundation, has reached 70 million students, teachers, and families since 2009.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators, and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC®) Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt has been used as an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.