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Roseville eco-center launches ‘Planet Protectors’ comic books

Four-part series designed by illustrator Bernard Chang for Utility Exploration Center
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Children have a tendency to tell their parents all about what they learn - and environmentalists think this influence can positively impact our world.

For instance, kids might learn about climate change and then urge their parents to carpool, buy products with less packaging, recycle more or to shut off the lights when they leave a room.

"Not only are the kids sponges to soak up great habits, they're also proponents when they get home to change the minds and habits of their parents' generation," said Matthew Davis, of the Roseville Utility Exploration Center.

The center is relying on this behavior for children to take the lessons taught through their exhibits and programs and make small changes at home that add up to major change. To help with this goal, the center developed the "Planet Protectors" comic book series illustrated by Bernard Chang, a freelance artist for DC and Marvel Comics.

The public is invited to meet the artist and check out the comic books during a free event Friday, Sept. 14.

"Working with the (center) has been an awesome experience," Chang said. "As a kid, I loved going to places just like this, where I'm learning something new, and it's filled with fun activities and games. And - to show you're never too old to learn something new - through working on this series of comic books, I've also picked up a few new things I've incorporated into my own life, like setting my thermostat to 78 degrees and using reusable containers for packing my lunches."

The four-part series addresses issues such as energy conservation, solid waste, stormwater and one that offers a general visitor's guide with tips for center visitors. The other three will be given out on school tours.

The center offers free tours and transportation to all schools within Roseville city limits, and 50 percent of the tours actually come from campuses outside the area.

Davis said the center wanted to develop educational material about environmental issues for first- through sixth-graders in a fun and engaging way.

"We thought, 'Why don't we get together and put together our own comic book?'" he said. "I think there's programming out there, but what makes our comic books really unique is it's a partnership between all our utilities in the city."

During Chang's upcoming appearance, children can also check out the Planet Protectors Greenhouse Makeover.

"There are a whole bunch of things making this house not energy or water efficient and opportunities for kids to take corrective actions," Davis said.

Then they can go back to their parents and ask, "What can we do at our own home?"

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Meet Bernard Chang

Who: Illustrator of the "Planet Protectors" comic book series

When: 3-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14

Where: Roseville Utility Exploration Center, 1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd.

Info: Get a free signed copy of the new comic book. For more information, call (916) 756-1550 or visit www.roseville.ca.us/explore.