It Started with a Dog

When OPEI president, Kris Kiser, adopted Lucky in 2008 they quickly formed a team that would influence the way future generations interact, appreciate and are inspired by the world outside their door. Now, Lucky has passed the legacy onto Mulligan and the mission continues.


Board of Directors

Mike Clancy — CEO, Chervon North America

David Thorne — Vice President, Turf & Compact Utility Business Unit, Deere & Company

Matt Nuijens — President, Residential NA, Husqvarna Forest & Garden Division

Brian Melka — Group President, Kohler Energy

Dan Ariens — Chairman and CEO, Ariens Company

Klaus Hahn — President North America, Greenworks

Peter Hampton — President and CEO, Active Dynamics

Chris Keffer — President and CEO, STIHL Inc.

Rick Olson — Chairman and CEO, The Toro Company

Christine Potter — President, Outdoor Product Development, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.

Harold Redman — President and CEO, Echo Incorporated

Rick Gray — President, Outdoor Power Equipment, Milwaukee Tool

Nelson Wilner — Senior Vice President and General Manager, Engines, Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA


Kris Kiser, President and CEO

Chuck Bowen, Vice President of Communications

Suzanne Shomers, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer

TurfMutt Timeline

  • 2008

    Kris Kiser adopts a rescue dog, Lucky, and is inspired to begin the TurfMutt Foundation.

  • 2009

    The TurfMutt Foundation is launched, with a science-based youth curriculum program for kids in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. schools via Weekly Reader Custom Publishing.

  • 2009

    42,000+ teachers and 800,000 elementary students were inspired by a simple message—nature starts at your back door and you could save the planet right in your backyard.

  • 2012

    Discovery Education helps TurfMutt’s youth curriculum expand by rolling out lesson plans, multimedia content and at-home activities for teachers, students and families nationwide.

  • 2012

    After a national sweepstakes, TurfMutt awards a grant to Palomar Elementary School in Chula Vista, CA, helping them to add trees and other green space to their school yard.

  • 2012

    Cloverleaf Elementary School in Statesville, NC wins the “Landscapes Across America” contest, the program’s first annual contest for students that aids schools in adding green spaces and outdoor classrooms.

  • 2013

    The program quickly begins earning kudos from teachers in schools around the country – winning praise from the well-known Sierra Club and prominent parenting blogs.

    The program, via a national sweepstakes, awards a grant to Morgan Elementary, Paduah, KY, to help them spruce up their outdoor space.

  • 2013

    Government and industry agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service and the Center of Green Schools, begins partnering with the TurfMutt program and considering it an environmental education resource.

  • 2014

    Lucky the TurfMutt’s superhero status inspires kids to be backyard superheroes that engage with the environment and help take care of it. Cartoon character sidekicks – the “Outdoor Powers” -- are introduced to join Lucky to represent beneficial elements of our living landscapes.

  • 2015

    The TurfMutt program joins Scholastic Education, the leading, global education publisher for children. TurfMuttt also appears on the Lucky Dog TV show, offering landscape makeovers and tips for pet owners.

  • 2015

    Through an annual essay contest, TurfMutt awards Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh and Samuel Beck Elementary School grants to put in green space.

  • 2016

    Through an annual essay contest, TurfMutt awards two schools -- Playa Vista Elementary of Playa Vista, Calif,  and Belmont Station Elementary school – grants to improve the yards and green spaces at the schools.

  • 2017

    Through an annual essay contest, Guardian Angels Catholic School, Clearwater, Fla., is awarded a grant to put in an outdoor classroom.

  • 2017

    The US Green Building Council (USGBC) selects the TurfMutt curriculum as an Education Partner for its inaugural Global Learning Lab, a clearinghouse for environmental education materials for teachers.

  • 2017

    Parade magazine features the TurfMutt program in its Earth Day issue, and TurfMutt is featured in the Wildlife Habitat Council annual calendar.

  • 2018

    TurfMutt is featured in a National Geographic book, Love Unleashed: Tales of Inspiration and the Life-Changing Power of Dogs.

  • 2018

    TurfMutt draws attention to rescue dogs and urges to “adopt don’t shop” a forever furry friend via its social media accounts and media outreach. Eleven rescue dogs find their forever home at the first inaugural Lucky’s Mutt Madness pet adoption day at GIE+EXPO in 2018.

  • 2018

    TurfMutt sponsors a new TV show, Ready, Set, Pet. Each of the 13 episodes features pet-friendly landscape tips.

  • 2019

    The TurfMutt program continues to grow, with new curriculum for grades 6-8 and a graphic novel showcasing Lucky in Scholastic’s Science World magazine. The program continues its popular “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest, granting prizes to students and teachers to create school and community green spaces.

  • 2019

    Sadly, Lucky crosses the rainbow bridge in Fall 2019 after spending a decade teaching us we can “save the planet one yard at a time.”

  • 2019

    Mulligan gets adopted during Mutt Madness!

  • 2019

    Mulligan steps in to fill Lucky’s pawprints.

  • 2020

    TurfMutt talks about how the backyard is “not canceled’ during the pandemic shutdowns and is available for stress relief, socially-distanced gatherings, and outdoor classroom activities as thousands of teachers, students, and parents scrambled to homeschool.

    TurfMutt awards cash prizes to several students and teachers for their entries in its essay and art contest where they celebrate green space and suggest better ways to connect with the outdoors.

  • 2021

    TurfMutt showcases the new “backyarding” trend for this spring 2021. By now, more than 70 millions kids, families and teachers have used the TurfMutt youth education curriculum.

  • 2022

    Mulligan’s 5K Fun Run & Walk brought out Equip Exposition attendees early one morning to raise funds for the Kentucky Humane Society.

  • 2023

    A new dog park, dubbed “Mulligan’s Bark Park,” opened in downtown Louisville on Fourth Street that has happy dog tails wagging.

  • 2024

    This year, Turfmutt celebrates 15 years "saving the planet one yard at a time."


Turfmutt’s Heroes

Meet Lucky

As the original TurfMutt, Lucky took a program that was designed to educate kids and made it possible to see backyards and urban habitats differently. Through the eyes of Lucky, we see that these living outdoor spaces have a greater purpose.

Meet Mulligan

Adopted by Foundation President Kris Kiser at Lucky’s Mutt Madness adoption event at GIE+EXPO, Mutt Mulligan has stepped into the superhero cape to become the voice for the TurfMutt Foundation and continue the decade-long landscaping loving legacy of Lucky.