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11-15-19 | Association News

New Spokesdog for Green Industry Foundation

A Moment of Silence for Lucky

Mulligan, an abandoned puppy, was rescued by the Kentucky Humane Society and adopted by TurfMutt Foundation president, Kris Kiser, in Louisville, Kentucky, last month during Lucky's Mutt Madness, a national dog adoption event that takes place during GIE+EXPO, the international landscape, outdoor living and equipment exposition. Fourteen other dogs also found permanent homes at the event. Animal rescue has always been part of TurfMutt's environmental education equation.

Though not with us anymore, the legacy of Lucky, the rescue dog who became the inspiration and real-life symbol of the sustainability education advocacy group, The TurfMutt Foundation, will continue through a rescue puppy named Mulligan.

The organization, which "promotes environmental stewardship and... has inspired millions of kids, families and teachers to become backyard superheroes by creating and sustaining suburban and urban habitat, parks, sports fields, and other green spaces," recently announced that Lucky passed away at their offices after serving the organization for a decade.

"Adopting a younger dog is a change for me, but I'm thrilled to bring Mulligan home as the new spokesdog for the TurfMutt Foundation," says Kiser. "She has big paw prints to fill after Lucky's ten years as TurfMutt, who had an extraordinary run. We still have a lot of work to do in the years to come as we educate students and families about the benefits offered by our green spaces and how to care for them."

"Mutt Mulligan" will assume spokesdog duties once her puppy training is complete. "She'll take on more activity with the TurfMutt Foundation as she matures and grow," Kiser promises. "Right now, I'm focusing on making sure Mulligan is happy and well-socialized so she is comfortable doing things like meeting students who participate in our annual contest or visiting a television studio."

The TurfMutt platform grew from a youth education program launched in 2009 in a handful of Sacramento and Washington, D.C. schools to eventually reaching 70 million students, teachers, and families through its education partners, Weekly Reader, Discovery Education and Scholastic.

The foundation states that through it all, "The message has remained the same, however: nature starts at your backdoor and everyone can help save the planet starting with their backyard."

National exposure for the program has included appearances in magazines and on major television networks, such as three seasons on the award-winning show, Lucky Dog. 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, have used TurfMutt as a resource. Today, the youth education program is also distributed through the U.S. Green Building Council's Global Learning Lab.

Kiser adds, "As adults, we want for kids to grow up to care for the environment and to appreciate the green spaces around them. Delivering a message about environmental stewardship through a dog's eyes helps because who enjoys your back yard the most? It's often our pets and children, though we're finally seeing more adults turning to spending time in green space to destress and reconnect with nature."

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