Environmental Comic Strip 'Rustle the Leaf' Uses Humor to Change Attitudes, Behavior

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Rustle the Leaf is an online outreach that uses syndication-quality, weekly comic strips to communicate essential environmental themes and truths. The company's goals are to encourage environmentalists, to facilitate the sharing of environmental views in an engaging, non-confrontational manner, and to introduce and reinforce environmental education with people ages 6 to 106.

The Earth has a new ally in the struggle to communicate environmental messages and educational content. He is the leaf of a Butternut tree, and his name is Rustle. Along with his friends--a wise-cracking acorn sprout, a dejected dandelion seed and an adventurous drop of water, Rustle the Leaf is delivering punch lines with a purpose: change people’s attitudes--and eventually their behavior--toward all things environmental.

“There’s been an unfortunate disconnect between otherwise responsible people and environmental issues,” says Rustle the Leaf creator and co-writer Dave Ponce. “Somehow, pejorative terms like ‘tree-hugger’ have painted environmentalists as deluded, over-reacting ideologues. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the most part, environmentalists are well-educated, news-reading, tax-paying citizens who have become convinced that we have to change the way we live for the sake of future generations,” says Ponce. “We have to get past the name-calling and get on with the important work of education and implementation of environmentally-responsible behavior.”

That’s where Ponce and his collaborator--nationally-syndicated, critically-acclaimed comic strip artist/writer Dan Wright--focus their creative efforts. At a small art and production studio in Central Indiana, Ponce and Wright weave environmental themes into the lives and times of the cast of Rustle the Leaf. “The comic strip and the characters are like life itself,” says Ponce. “Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re poignant, sometimes they’re ‘in your face.’ We know that the only way to really bring about change is to simply, creatively state the case for environmental responsibility.”

The comic strip is created and posted weekly at http://www.rustletheleaf.com. Visitors to the site will also find monthly lesson plans that incorporate key environmental science and nature content, as well as a colorable Classroom Comic featuring Rustle and his friends. The online comic strip is made available free of charge as content to environmental and educational web sites.

The organization behind Rustle the Leaf is GO NATUR’L STUDIOS, LLC., a Connecticut-based, privately-held company that was started by Ponce and by Steve and Melissa Zeitler, a husband-and-wife team that manufactures and markets Citra-Solv, an environmental cleaner made from the natural solvents in citrus peels.

For more information about Rustle the Leaf, call Steve or Melissa Zeitler at 203-743-4261 or call Dave Ponce at 317-508-5068. You can email inquiries to dponce@rustletheleaf.com.


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