GILBERT, Ariz.—The Footprint Foundation, the non-profit organization focused on eliminating plastic from the environment by creating positive global change through education and environmental engagement, announces new educational content designed to increase knowledge around ocean and environmental stewardship. The content includes the first of a new comic series, “Chris & Lola,” which tells the adventures of Chris’s character and her leatherback sea turtle friend, Lola, who help marine animals that are impacted by human-caused actions.
Marine Conservation Biologist and The Footprint Foundation Director Christine “Chris” Figgener, Ph.D. tells stories about sustainability through a series of pre-drawn comics, “Chris & Lola,” in honor of World Oceans Day and Sea Turtle Week. The comic strips, as well as an interactive online template where children can create their own adventures with Chris and Lola, are provided to educators free of charge to support teachers who are going above and beyond to educate in these times of remote learning. The comic is geared toward students ages 8-18, and can be used in different learning environments, including online learning or family instruction.
“Sea turtles provide a critical window into the state of our oceans and provide specific insights into human-caused threats to wildlife in our oceans, including plastic pollution,” said Chris. “These charismatic living dinosaurs are not only engaging to children, but can also motivate behavioral changes, such as eliminating single-use plastics, that will help protect animals and our oceans in the long-term.”
Plastic has long been known to have a negative impact on marine life and scientists have multiple theories on why this happens. In March 2020, a study published in Current Biology determined that loggerhead sea turtles may confuse the smell of plastic with food. The scent may actually encourage feeding behavior in sea turtles, which possibly explains why the animals get entangled in plastic or eat the toxic material at a high rate.
“We know that plastic is harmful for the environment, the human body and animals — especially sea turtles. When it comes to educating the next generation on how to protect our ecosystems, sea turtles provide the charm and scientific facts to capture the attention of future conservation advocates,” said Chris.
The comic series will be accessible through The Footprint Foundation’s website, where students can also find the interactive template link to design their own custom comic content. From there students who make their own comics can upload them to The Footprint Foundation website to be shared with other students on the foundation’s social channels or post them using the hashtag #ChrisandLola. Custom comic options include selecting the threat to wildlife, the specific species of sea turtle and the conservation activity. Future comics will seek to engage students by encouraging conservation in other environmental habitats.
About The Footprint Foundation
Footprint™ created the non-profit The Footprint Foundation to focus on creating positive global change and the elimination of single-use plastics through education and engagement on sustainability alternatives to make a measurable impact on reducing plastics use. In addition to its educational programs, The Footprint Foundation serves as trusted resource providing education that fosters engagement alongside environmentally friendly practices. For more information about The Footprint Foundation, its global initiative, and how you can help, visit www.footprintusfoundation.org or follow us on twitter at @FootprintUS.