The TurfMutt Foundation, which promotes environmental stewardship, has a new spokesdog. Mulligan, a mixed breed puppy who was abandoned along with her siblings, was rescued by the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) and adopted by TurfMutt Foundation President Kris Kiser. Kiser adopted Mulligan in Louisville, KY last month during the organization’s Lucky’s Mutt Madness, a national dog adoption event in partnership with GIE+EXPO. Mulligan and 14 other dogs were adopted at the event.
Mulligan will fill the “cape” left behind by Lucky the TurfMutt, who recently passed away at the Foundation offices after over a decade of serving as the organization’s superhero. The TurfMutt program 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.
“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. She has big paw prints to fill after Lucky’s ten years as TurfMutt, who had an extraordinary run,” says Kiser. “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 for the Foundation once her puppy training is complete. “She’ll take on more activity with the TurfMutt Foundation as she matures and grows,” says Kiser. “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.”
Animal rescue has always been part of the TurfMutt education equation, which makes Mulligan a perfect fit to fill the superhero cape left by Lucky. 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.”
Mulligan’s adoption marks a new page in the TurfMutt story. Created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) in 2009, the Foundation launched in a handful of Sacramento and Washington, D.C. schools. Today, TurfMutt has reached over 70 million students, teachers, and families. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.”
TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. 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. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series.
For the last two years, at Lucky’s Mutt Madness, the TurfMutt Foundation and GIE+EXPO donated a $10,000 check to the KHS to support their work in animal rehabilitation, rescue and adoption. “The Kentucky Humane Society does a world of good by rescuing neglected, abused, and unwanted animals and helping them find forever homes,” says Kiser. “We are proud to support them.”