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North Carolina School Wins Grand Prize in TurfMutt “Landscapes Across America” Contest

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Caroline March-Long, On Behalf of OPEI434-295-5938 – office / 434-760-1948 – mobile

Kris Kiser, Executive Vice President OPEI
(703) 549-7600

Christina Scripps, Discovery Education

— Elementary students highlight unique attributes of landscapes in their region —

— Classrooms from Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas named runners up —

Alexandria, VA – June 14, 2011 – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) Education and Research Foundation and Discovery Education, today announced that Ms. Deborah Icard’s fourth grade class at Cloverleaf Elementary School in Statesville, N.C., won the grand prize from the TurfMutt “Landscapes Across America” contest for a creative classroom presentation on their local environment. The national contest challenged third to fifth grade classrooms with showcasing their school’s unique local landscape and the environmental aspects of their region that need to be protected.

Ms. Icard’s class was chosen based on their presentation on how they would solve erosion and topsoil issues, attract wildlife, lower air pollution and make their school grounds more sustainable. The class presentation included solutions such as planting more trees and plants, adding additional grass and groundcovers to school property, and supplementing the soil with organic matter.

“Winning the TurfMutt Challenge has instilled in my students a feeling of empowerment knowing that working together can make a difference in their environment,” said Ms. Icard. “This project gave the students a deep understanding of how their location on the globe has unique features, and changing the face of that location impacts not only the plant and animal life, but human activity, as well.”

As the grand-prize winner, the class will receive a $5,000 grant to implement an eco-friendly classroom program at their school, a $500 teacher award and trees to be planted in the U.S. in honor of each member of the class. To see the Cloverleaf submission, click here.

“Reviewing the entries from elementary students across the country was really inspiring,” said Kris Kiser, EVP at OPEI’s Education and Research Foundation. “Each presentation showed that students are really thinking about their ecosystem and the land that surrounds them, and more importantly, the importance of green space, how to plant what is right for their climate zone and how to care for the land responsibly.”

Second place winners also were announced and include:

  • 1. Wendy Palese, Elmwood Elementary School, Mechanicsburg Area School District, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • 2. Christine Tang, Eastover Elementary School, Bloomfield Hills School District, Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • 3. Mary Beisert, West End Elementary School, Bellville Independent School District, Industry, TX
  • 4. Ellen Raieta, Marshall Street Elementary School, Norristown Area School District, Norristown, PA
  • Second place winners will receive a $500 grant for the teacher to implement an eco-friendly classroom program at their school and trees to be planted in the U.S. in honor of each member of the class.

    The “Landscapes Across America” contest is part of the TurfMutt educational outreach program, a new science-based curriculum for elementary students to learn the science behind plants’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), release oxygen, cool the air, control dust, reduce erosion and filter water. TurfMutt, based on a real rescue dog named Lucky, is the engaging character that talks to students about the importance of green spaces, growing lawns and landscapes in the best manner, and how to care for them responsibly.

    “We at Discovery Education are proud of these students for the amazing work they did to make a difference in the landscape and environment at their school,” said Mary Rollins, Vice President, Corporate Education Partnerships, Discovery Education. “Challenges like TurfMutt’s ‘Landscapes Across America’ prove that young children have the ability to create small changes in their communities, which eventually lead to larger changes across the globe.”

    For more detail on the contest and winning entries, visit

    About the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute Education and Research Foundation
    Established in 2005, the OPEI Education & Research Foundation supports educational programs and research that bring more awareness to the importance of environmental stewardship, an appreciation of the outdoors and an understanding of how to grow, restore and maintain our every day green spaces in a responsible way.

    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