The following is from the book jacket designed by cover artist Vivien Woolley.
It is the start of summer vacation and Aster is desperate to save her favorite park, which has become run down and polluted after years of neglect. She soon begins to notice the pollution and disrepair all over her city and is determined to change it. With the help of her friends, Meg and Norris, she organizes the Sustainability Society, bent on educating people and fixing the many messes they had created in their city. The Sustainability Society has just one problem—they know nothing about sustainability!
They set out trying to learn as much as possible about being sustainable, making new friends, and accepting new members along the way. Although not all goes to plan (is it possible to have a group of children clean up a pond without at least one water fight?) the Sustainability Society creates a movement in their city that leads to many an adventure and even grabs the attention of a mystery benefactor who funds their efforts, leaving odd clues for the children to decipher after every meeting. The children plant trees and build rain gardens, find innovative ways to re-use and recycle old items and trash, of creating larger and more ambitious plans at every meeting, all while trying to discover who their mysterious benefactor could be. The final meeting of the summer looms ahead, as well as their deadline to have the park fully cleaned up, so Aster and the Society are hard at work when they stumble upon the true identity of their mysterious benefactor, finishing their summer with the great revelation!
The characters in this ‘story’ are trying to save their favorite park, and along with cleaning up the trash and planting new trees, they also build rain gardens to help protect the park’s waterways from further pollution. Although the story is fictional, rain gardens are real and can be very beneficial in real life, as well as look beautiful in your yard or local park.
Rain gardens filter pollutants carried in stormwater runoff, improve drainage and help prevent flooding, as well as provide food and habitats for wildlife like butterflies and birds.
To learn more about rain gardens, there are many resources online, as well as checking your local library for books and information on them.
Vivien Woolley is an aspiring artist and illustrator, living in Allentown Pa. She is currently homeschooled and will be a senior this year. Besides art, she loves horses, reading, and observing nature. She is very interested in living in a more environmentally friendly way and is especially fascinated by off-grid homesteading as a way to live sustainably.
Editor’s Note:This book jacket was created through Nurture Nature Center’s Youth Climate Leadership Series Arts Program.
Financial and other support for Youth Leading the Way: an education and leadership program in the Lehigh Valley has been provided by the Department of Environmental Protection’s 2021 Environmental Education Grants Program.