Wednesday, February 15, 2017

World Wisdom: Reminder From Backyard Superheroes: Nature Starts At Your Backdoor

Winter won’t last forever, and soon homeowners will be turning their attention away from shoveling snow and onto sprucing up their yards for spring. Environmental superhero and real-life rescue dog TurfMutt and his smarty-pants sidekick Professor Botany encourage families to learn about their climate zone and plant living landscapes to feed and house special pollinator and wildlife friends this spring.

TurfMutt is on a mission to teach kids, parents and teachers about backyard science, including how to take better care of the green spaces in their communities and the importance of living landscapes. Professor Botany is the bushy-tailed brains of the Outdoor Powers, TurfMutt’s band of superhero friends who help him fight environmental villains like Carbon Creep, Heat Freak, Dust Demon and Dr. Runoff.

Professor Botany busies herself on the back end of the Outdoor Powers’ missions. She maps out the “greening” plans for the Outdoor Powers, and teaches kids about plants from the comfort of her lofty tree nest.

Mission: Making Communities Healthier for All

Urban environments need both native and adaptive plants for biodiversity, and they help increase habit for birds, insects and other animals. This spring, TurfMutt has enlisted Professor Botany’s help to teach families the importance of living landscapes for pollinators and wildlife, such as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Professor Botany’s Primer on Pollinators & Living Landscapes
Nature starts in your backyard.
Yards, parks, schoolyards and other community green space are vital to the world’s ecosystem.
Pollinators & wildlife rely on living landscapes.
Grass, trees, shrubs and other plant life provide food and habitat for birds and small mammals. Insects, spiders and worms live among the grass blades and below the surface in the turf.
Lack of living landscapes = lack of biodiversity.
Replacing living landscapes with rocks, mulch, plastic grass and hardscapes forces birds, squirrels and other animals to forage for food elsewhere. By eliminating living landscapes from urban and suburban life, birds, pollinators and wildlife lose their home habitat. 

So, what can families do to help insects and other important backyard critters? Professor Botany has some tips.
Know your climate zone and add more plants that do well in the environment, which will make our communities nicer places to live for families, pets and wildlife.
Seek a good balance of climate-appropriate, drought friendly grasses, plants trees and shrubs. This will benefit not only the local wildlife and the environment overall.
Add some pollinator plants to your yard to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinating wildlife.

To learn more about the importance of and benefits of living landscapes, visit

About TurfMutt
The TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 62 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

About OPEI
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 Organization for Standardization (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, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit

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