A Coloring Book That Teaches Kids About Water Conservation

Four undergraduate and two graduate Illustration students created a lively coloring book, Drippy’s Water Adventure, published by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, to educate elementary school students about the city’s water system. The story follows Drippy, a water droplet, on a journey from upstate watersheds through New York City’s homes and wastewater treatment plants.

The DEP has printed 5,000 copies of the books, to be distributed to elementary schools around the city.

The collaboration was initiated by Town+Gown, a division of the New York City Department of Design and Construction that connects city agencies with colleges and universities to work on research and creative projects. Dan Shefelman and Brendan Leach, chairs of FIT’s undergraduate and graduate Illustration programs, respectively, oversaw the students.

“Our Illustration students have really brought this story to life, and made a complicated environmental process about water and wastewater very accessible to a young audience,” President Joyce F. Brown says.

“Taking such a complex infrastructure as New York City’s water and wastewater system and distilling it down into an educational and entertaining coloring book was a perfect challenge for this select group of students,” Shefelman says. “It was clear from the beginning that a simple narrative following a character through the journey from mountains to sea would be the key to solving the problem.”

Shefelman believes one page in particular will appeal to young children: the “four Ps” of what can be flushed (pee, poop, puke, and paper). “The students are gonna love finding that,” he says. “That’s what’s going to make this a hit.”

Here are some pages from the coloring book.

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