-- and his undersea friends, Albert Abalone and Laura Lobster.
Children also learn about the parts of a kelp plant, what kelp is
used for and how to protect kelp forests.
The coloring books were created for the Orange County Water
District's children's water education festival in May, when 12,000 of
the books were handed out. Visitors to the Orange County Fair last
month were offered coloring books and CoastKeeper will give them to
local schools and send them out with the upcoming second issue of its
Though she does not profess any art skills herself, Caruso came up
with the coloring book concept and sketched out some ideas for the
students, who created the characters and story line.
"We loved it," Caruso said. "It was a great collaboration."
She wanted to focus on kelp because one of CoastKeeper's major
efforts has been restoration of the giant kelp forests native to
Southern California's coast.
The coloring book was a win-win endeavor, with CoastKeeper and
Orange Coast College students benefiting, fine arts professor Mike
Beanan said. He seeks out community-based projects to give students
hands-on experience with the art and business aspects of cartooning
and to help the community, he said.
"What we wanted to do was produce some educational art to expose
children to the fundamental ecology of the kelp forest," Beanan said.
"While they're laughing at the funny fish, they're really learning
fairly sophisticated information."
The printing of the coloring book was paid for by corporate
sponsors including the Marriott Hotel in Newport Coast and Sempra
Energy, Orange County CoastKeeper Executive Director Garry Brown
The response has been so good that CoastKeeper may create another
coloring book on a different topic.
"It's a nice way to get a message across to young children," Brown
said. "We're always looking for educational tools that work."
Garry Garibaldi is modeled on Brown, at least as much as a fish
can resemble a person, Caruso said. She also appears in the coloring
book as Nancy the earth biologist, clad in hiking gear, and Nancy the
ocean biologist, underwater with a diver's mask and fins. So does the
cartoon resemble her in real life?
"I'm a little taller, I guess," she said.
Garry Garibaldi coloring books can be obtained by calling Orange
County CoastKeeper at (949)723-5424, or it can be viewed online and
printed at http://www.coastcartoonstudio.com.