The TurfMutt Foundation, an organization created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), 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, each entry can be no more than three pages where students are 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.
“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 OPEI. “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,” Kiser added.
$10,000 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 scholastic.com/turfmutt. Entries can be accepted online and uploaded by teachers, or mailed in by teachers or students alike—and are due March 16, 2020. Last year’s winning entries are available online for viewing.