BOISE, ID — Lori Otter, wife of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, partnered with the Idaho Potato Commission and the commission’s mascot, Spuddy Buddy, to launch a program called Smashed Spuddy Buddy, an educational and interactive program designed to help teach kids about the nutritional benefits of Idaho potatoes.
The launch event took place at the Boise Center, near the state capitol building, during the Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families Conference.
Idaho’s first lady, who addressed an audience comprised of about 150 charter and private school students and several educators, spoke about the importance of potatoes in Idaho’s history and economy and the nutritional benefits of potatoes. She also introduced a short educational video titled “See How a Potato Grows,” which is targeted to students in grades one to three and features a cartoon Spuddy Buddy.
A former teacher, Ms. Otter asked questions of the students during her presentation and tossed small stuffed Spuddy Buddies to some of the students who gave good answers. She also introduced new children’s book on the counties of Idaho, called Ida Tours the 44, one of a series she and the governor are doing on Idaho.
A costumed Spuddy Buddy character then joined Mrs. Otter at the podium as she introduced the Smashed Spuddy Buddy program.
“Smashed Spuddy Buddy” is a black-and-white drawing of Spuddy that children can color with crayons. Each student was given one of the drawings and crayons were provided so they could color their Spuddy Buddy drawings immediately. They also crowded around the costumed character as well as the first lady to get their pictures taken.
The Smashed Spuddy Buddy program is actually a contest in which children are asked to color the drawing, take a digital photo of themselves with their colored drawing and, with parents’ help and permission, enter the contest online and upload the photo. The deadline is June 30 and there will be 75 winners of $100 savings bonds.
“Today [Feb. 6] is Idaho School Choice Capitol Day, so there are lots of students here and teachers and other representatives of public charter schools and private schools from all over Idaho,” said Briana LeClair, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families Conference. “Today we are going to go to the capitol a little bit later and rally on the state house steps and let the legislature know that school choice is very important to us.”