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The Green Life: TurfMutt the Dog Plans to Save the Planet One Yard at a Time

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March 28, 2011

TurfMutt the Dog Plans to Save the Planet One Yard at a Time

TurfMutt_Photo by the Opei Education and Resource FoundationMove over, Batman. The world’s newest caped crusader has arrived, and he plans to save the planet one yard at a time. Lucky, a dog named after he was rescued from the middle of heavy traffic by Kris Kiser, executive vice president of the OPEI Foundation, is the furry face behind a series of educational programs that teaches kids eco-awareness. When he’s on green duty, Lucky is known as “TurfMutt,” and if he could talk, he’d be telling you to get outside and take care of your lawn.

Kiser, who's long been interested in landscape management, got the idea for TurfMutt soon after rescuing Lucky. “Dogs know your lawn best,” Kiser said. “They know when it’s healthy and when it’s not. From an education perspective, if you can link an issue to an animal, it can be very relatable to an elementary-school kid.”

Working with Discovery Education, the TurfMutt Science Program lets TurfMutt share his rescue story with kids and teach them about plant science using games and experiments. Students are encouraged to explore how green spaces benefit their communities via lessons such as “Eat Your Plants!” and “How Green is Your Community?

One of TurfMutt’s superpowers, apparently, is the savvy use of social media to promote his cause; he's got his own Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog on which he promotes school contests and green tips.

But at the end of the day, TurfMutt isn’t the only eco-hero around: "Kids can help parents; they're the ones who brought recycling home. Kids can tell Mom and Dad to be smarter and better about how they manage the lawn and landscape. The outdoors begins at their back door," said Kiser.

--Shirley Mak / photo courtesy OPEI Education and Resource Foundation

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