Tip #1: Get outside! Fall is a great time to explore nature all around you. After spending a long day of being inside at school, take some time afterward to enjoy your yard and nearby parks.
Tip #2. Notice the different kinds of plants in your yard. Walk around the outside of your home, take notes and sketch what you see. What makes your yard unique? Mark on your sketch the living (plants, trees, grass) and the non-living (patios, grills) parts of your landscape. What might impact living plants? Does your yard need plants that are tolerant of wind, full sun, shade, or occasional flooding?
Tip #3: Notice the areas needing improvements. Do plants need mulch around them to help them save water? Do you have plants that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies? Do you have a healthy mix of grass, shrubs, trees and flowering plants? Are some parts of your yard a little worn out?
Tip #4: Make a plan to take care of your yard. Talk with your parent or guardian about how you can care for your lawn and landscape, and the improvements you want to make. Students and their parents or guardians should create a plan to take care of the yard and make the improvements together.
Tip #5: Put the right plant in the right place. Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find out what plants are best for where you live. Use a mix of native and adaptive plants and place them where they will thrive.
Tip #6: Visit TurfMutt.com to play games and read digital storybooks for free to learn more. Join Lucky the TurfMutt and his friends, the Outdoor Powers on their adventures to save the planet one yard at a time. The website offers home-based activities, digital storybooks, lesson plans for teachers and more.
Tip #7. Keep an eye out for the “Be a Backyard Superhero” essay contest for grades K-5, which will be announced this fall. You can tell TurfMutt how you improved or cared for your yard, and battled the evil environmental villains.
The TurfMutt education program is sponsored by OPEI’s Education and Research Foundation, and has reached more than 62 million kids, teachers and families with its message of ‘saving the planet one yard at the time.’ Created in partnership with Scholastic, the program educates children in grades K-5 about taking care of green spaces while learning science. The program’s mascot is Lucky the TurfMutt, a rescue dog who is “pawing it forward” by inspiring children and their families to take care of the green spaces we all love and enjoy.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers, and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show. OPEI’s Education & Research Foundation is the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.opei.org.