RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Toro Company is partnering with the Wyland Foundation in the National “Water Is Life” Classroom Mural and Art Contest. The annual contest engages students, grades K-12, across the nation to bring together art and research to explore the many ways we use water throughout the United States. This year’s theme, “Our Ocean,” encourages students to use research to better understand the impact of smart water management on our coasts and ocean hundreds of miles downstream. Then, students will interpret their findings through art. “Reducing landscape irrigation run-off is extremely important,” said Rob Starr of Toro’s water management technologies group. “The effect of chemicals used on lawns and gardens carried off by excessive landscape watering can contribute greatly to polluting our watersheds and ocean.” The National “Water Is Life” Classroom Art and Mural Contest asks students in all grades to create collaborative murals, 4 feet by 8 feet or larger, as well as individual art works in support of the 2014 theme. Students are encouraged to publicly display their artworks at schools, malls and city centers, along with an artist’s statement, to broaden public awareness about water efficiency issues. Mural contest winners will be chosen in three grade categories, K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Individual winners will be recognized in all grade categories. The deadline to enter is November 25, 2014 and contest winners will be announced on Dec. 12, 2014. Inspired by the growing demands on U.S. water resources, organizers expect over 10,000 students in 40 states to participate. Students will explore issues ranging from new conservation technologies to sustainable development. In addition, schools in more than 100 cities will receive a free 4 foot by 8 foot canvas mural painting kit, including art supplies and lesson plans, in a random drawing courtesy of The Toro Company, Fredrix Artist Canvas, Arts & Activities Magazine, Jerry’s Art-A-Rama, and the Wyland Foundation. Winning classrooms in each category will receive a signed Wyland artwork (Total ARV $1,000) and a $250 grant for classroom art supplies. Selected winners will be featured in a water conservation calendar produced by the Wyland Foundation and The Toro Company. Schools will have the ability to sell the calendars to fund water conservation projects on their campuses. More details can be found at www.wylandfoundation.org/artchallenge.