The History Behind the Book
The EPCAMR Staff came up with another idea to talk about Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) and Abandoned Mine Land (AML) with elementary school children. We often make presentations in elementary schools at Field Days, Environmental Fairs, and Environmental Forums throughout the Anthracite Coal Region.
The idea of this activity book was to create visually stimulating and eye-catching cartoon characters that represent villains and avengers that have evolved from the very same elements of nature that both pollute, and protect and restore the environment.
The inspiration for this book came from the colorful, although polluted, pallet of AMD and its common characteristics – orange, yellow, green, red, gray, black, and even purple-colored water. With these colors – from the metals and minerals associated within AMD – the Executive Director, Robert Hughes, was able to create the personas and physical traits for “The Pollution Posse”.
Of course, if there is “The Pollution Posse”, there should be a retaliation group. That’s where the “The AMD Avengers” come in. The good guys – the Executive Director as the Limestone Cowboy and the Program Manager as Swampy – represent ways we can restore the environment; through the use of limestone and wetlands of native plants. And all super heroes need a trusty steed! That is Dolomite the horse and Wart the toad.
Landscapes are another natural feature included in the activity book. EPCAMR wanted to describe coal formation, the geology of a typical Anthracite coal seam, features on an abandoned mine site, and what future reclamation of an abandoned mine looks like once the land is redeveloped. Culm banks, abandoned mine tunnels, types of rocks and trees, water-filled pits, and abandoned coal breakers showcase the harmful impacts on the environment. Reclamation, sealed up mine tunnels, future land uses for once abandoned coal breakers, visitor centers, and green grass represent the redeveloped abandoned mine sites.
EPCAMR hopes these characters and activities will teach elementary school children about their local environment, help them relate to the landscape features in their own backyard, and help them understand why their streams and rivers run different colors. Even though our communities face pollution problems, EPCAMR wants the children to know that they can help to restore the environment; through volunteering their time to reclaim these abandoned mine lands and remediate the streams and rivers impacted by AMD. It is our hope that these students use the activity book to explore other facets of the environment that EPCAMR works to reclaim everyday.
The artwork for the book is drawn by two friends of EPCAMR – Art Edel, from the Scranton area (Northern Anthracite Coal Field), and Kyle Kramer, from the Pottsville area (Southern Anthracite Coal Field). Both are artists come from mining-impacted communities. Art has an uncanny ability to take words that described the traits of the characters and create the cartoons perfectly. He has an eye for detail, creative facial expressions, body language, physical traits, and musculature. Kyle’s silly and comical renditions of situations drawn for the mazes and other lighthearted images within the book brighten up the pages to grab the interest and attention of the children. We would like to eventually create more characters for education programs and outreach to the public. EPCAMR purchased the copyright to each of these characters from Art Edel. They can be reproduced or used as image files as long the user includes the trademark ©EPCAMR on the image or on reproduced sheets.
Download the entire activity book here:
Or download individual pages according to your needs: