ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (Marketwire) -- 05/16/12 -- Discovery Education and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced today the Grand Prize winner and two runners up of the 'Spruce Up Your School' sweepstakes. The national sweepstakes is part of the TurfMutt program, a dynamic digital curriculum designed to encourage kids to protect the environment around them and foster appreciation of green space in their own communities.
Ms. Mary Anne Arabia's fifth grade class from Palomar Elementary School in Chula Vista, Calif., has been named the Grand Prize winner and will receive a $5,000 grant to create and build more green space around school grounds and play areas. Ms. Arabia entered the TurfMutt sweepstakes because her school playground lacked sufficient shade, and to help spark science and environmental curiosity through hands-on learning.
Discovery Education and OPEI presented Ms. Arabia and Palomar Elementary School with the Grand Prize check yesterday after students viewed a special congratulations video from Lucky, a real-life rescue dog and TurfMutt spokesdog.
Following the presentation, Tom Heaviland of San Diego-based Heaviland Enterprises, Inc., revealed the completed makeover to the students. Mr. Heaviland, a Landscape Industry Certified Manager and member of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), heard about Palomar Elementary School's win and donated his company's design and installation services to improve the school grounds. Under the school's direction, Mr. Heaviland planted ten large canopy Magnolia 'Grandiflora' trees, as well as much needed benches on the play area's perimeter.
"We were very happy to participate in this special program. It is an extraordinary school and they deserved a greener play area. We wish to congratulate Ms. Arabia and her 5th grade class," said Mr. Heaviland.
"The TurfMutt sweepstakes gave our school the opportunity to add much needed shade and additional greenery to our large play area," said Ms. Arabia. "Thanks to OPEI and Discovery Education, this green makeover will impact our students and their outdoor experiences for years to come." Each tree planted will be dedicated to a Palomar Elementary class.
"It was amazing to see such a high level of interest in schools across the country to green up their grounds and play areas," said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. "Getting kids outdoors to plant, investigate how things grow, and learn about their unique ecosystem is the real driving force behind the TurfMutt program."
The sweepstakes' two runners up are Ms. Elizabeth Paz from Big Hollow Elementary School in Ingleside, Ill., and Ms. Trish Kubitza from Hallsburg Elementary School in Waco, Texas. Students in these two winning classrooms will receive TurfMutt-branded "Green Packs" that contain eco-friendly school supplies, including a backpack, lunch bag, colored pencils, a water bottle and a seeded bookmark.
"We are pleased to award schools like Palomar Elementary School with an outdoor space that the students can use to explore their environment and natural curiosity in their surroundings," said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. "We know that the school's new eco-friendly play area will give their students the opportunity to get outside and connect the important lessons they are learning in their classrooms to the world around them."
OPEI and Discovery Education have created a dynamic digital curriculum led by Lucky, a real-life rescue dog who encourages kids to protect the land around them and fosters an appreciation of green space in their own community. In addition to lesson plans, engaging activities, puzzles and videos, students can enjoy an interactive map about ecosystems across the country. With these resources, teachers can emphasize the benefits of landscaping in balance with local environments, and instill a new appreciation for environmental issues.
Lesson plans can be found at: http://turfmutt.discoveryeducation.com/educators.cfm.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education transforms classrooms, empowers teachers and captivates students by providing high quality, dynamic, digital content for grades K-12 and community colleges. Powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA) (NASDAQ: DISCB) (NASDAQ: DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital media, professional development, assessment tools and a passionate educator network to support districts in accelerating student achievement. Discovery Education services like Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education Techbook and Discovery Education Higher Ed, are in more than half of all US schools and 35 countries around the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
About OPEI's Education and Research Efforts
OPEI's Education and Research efforts focus on developing educational materials, supporting research and furthering programs to foster environmental stewardship and an appreciation of our parks, forests, lawns and landscapes. Priorities revolve around environmental best practices and stewardship in the care and enjoyment of our green spaces and safety education that ensures safe and proper use of outdoor power equipment.
About Palomar Elementary
Located in Chula Vista Elementary School District, South of San Diego, Palomar Elementary received the 2012 California Distinguished School Award and the 2012 Title I Academic Achievement Award. A sign that the school is closing the achievement gap, Palomar is up for the National Blue Ribbon Award.
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