For a third season, Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), along with a rescue dog known as Lucky the TurfMutt, will appear on the Emmy award-winning Lucky Dog television show, which airs on Saturday mornings as part of the “CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic” block of programming and is produced by Litton Entertainment. The new shows will air in 2018, Lucky Dog’s fourth season on air.
Lucky is the real-life rescue dog behind the animated superhero, TurfMutt, who is now “pawing it forward” for other rescue dogs by fighting environmental villains and championing the family yard, vital to the health of our communities and ecosystem. TurfMutt.com’s environmental education and stewardship program educates children in grades K-5, their families, and community leaders on the importance of caring for these vital green spaces with its education partners.
“The TurfMutt program has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families, since 2009, showing them how they can ‘save the planet, one yard at a time,’” said Kiser. “The Lucky Dog show has helped us inspire new audiences with the TurfMutt message — that green space is vital to the health of our families and communities. Your yard is not only an outdoor family room, but it helps combat pollution; gives a home to wildlife; and makes us happier, smarter and healthier people.”
OPEI’s Education and Research Foundation is the creative force behind TurfMutt.
“We benefit from our family yards and community green spaces in many ways — mentally, socially and physically,” Kiser added. “Our yards are, in fact, urban habitat for a wide range of insects, birds and animals and, most importantly, our pollinators. It’s important we appreciate what they do for us and care for them sustainably. On new episodes of Lucky Dog, we will talk about ways to steward the environment through our family yards, which have become an extension of home living space.”
In the last season of Lucky Dog, Kiser along with Gothic Landscaping, which was contracted to do the work, re-established living landscapes for three homeowners with climate-appropriate plants, providing safe and healthy spaces for the families and their newly adopted dogs. Lucky Dog pairs an adopted rescue dog with a deserving family.
“In this next season, we’re going to do it again,” said Kiser. “TurfMutt will provide landscape makeovers for three deserving families.”
TurfMutt was recently named an official education partner of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Learning Lab.
Lucky the TurfMutt will also be featured in an upcoming book, Best Friends, being published in 2018 by National Geographic and written by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh. Lucky and the TurfMutt program are proud supporters of the many rescue and adoption organizations across the United States and urge everyone to consider finding their new best friend from a local animal shelter or adoption center.
The TurfMutt children’s program offers e-books, an online game, teacher lesson plans and more to help elementary school students learn about living landscapes. Classroom materials, developed with Scholastic — the global children’s publishing, education and media company — encourage students and teachers to learn how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt materials are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and available for free at www.scholastic.com/turfmutt.
As part of the youth program’s outreach, each year TurfMutt holds the “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest to inspire children to visualize how their actions can help the environment.
This year, the contest winner was fifth-grader Marissa Weber, a student at Guardian Angels Catholic School in Clearwater, Fla. Her school received a $10,000 grant to be used for an environmental education project on the school grounds. Weber’s teacher, Sandra Hoolihan, received the first National TurfMutt Teacher Award and won a trip to Los Angeles to attend the National Science Teachers Association meeting in March 2017. Since 2010, the TurfMutt program has awarded $45,000 to schools around the country.
TurfMutt is an official USGBC Education Partner and 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. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat also is featured in the 2017 and upcoming 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars.