Challenger School

Be a Backyard Superhero Essay Contest Open, Enter by April 13


Children in grades K-5 have the power to improve the outdoor green spaces at their schools by participating in the “Be a Backyard Superhero” essay contest with Scholastic. They can enter the contest by writing and illustrating a story.

The contest is part of the TurfMutt environmental stewardship and education program – where children learn they can be backyard superheroes by taking care of green spaces, inspired by TurfMutt and his friends, the Outdoor Powers. The program is funded and managed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation.

Teachers and parents may submit their students’ or children’s essays and illustrations online. In 150–200 words, students in grades K-5 will describe how they are “Backyard Superheroes” and, along with TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers, combat the environmental villains (Carbon Creep, Dust Demon, Dr. Runoff, and Heat Freak). Students will draw pictures of their missions and attach the character cutouts to their drawings.

Two Grand Prize-winning schools will win $5,000 to improve outdoor green spaces.

Learn more about the contest:

See the free digital storybook, lesson plans and more:


Official Contest Rules:

About the TurfMutt Program

In 2015, the expanded TurfMutt program, created in conjunction with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, includes lesson plans for teachers, take home sheets and learning activities for families, a website and blog, interactive games and a digital storybook. The program’s materials, available at, are free and are aligned to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) standards for grades K to 5. The TurfMutt environmental education program has reached 38 million students, teachers and families since 2009. TurfMutt is sponsored and managed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation.


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