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New Book Raises Awareness of Polluted Waterways

Posted on March 21st, 2014
IIHR's Dan Ceynar served as a consultant on this children's book by Ellen Lawrence.

IIHR’s Dan Ceynar served as a consultant on this children’s book by Ellen Lawrence.

Imagine if people felt free to throw their garbage into your home. Imagine how the swan feels in a nest overwhelmed by trash, or the sea turtle who has to swim through a mass of plastic refuse.

Now imagine we can do something about it.

That’s exactly what IIHR Engineer Dan Ceynar hopes kids will do after they read the new book by Ellen Lawrence, Poisoned Rivers and Lakes. Ceynar served as a consultant on the book, published by Bearport Publishing. Lawrence asked Ceynar, who spends much of his free time on river clean-up events, to fact-check the book when it was still in preliminary form. He was able to provide clarifications on topics such as toxic algae blooms and agricultural pollution. The book is part of a series by Lawrence that includes Dirty Air, Garbage Galore, Global Warming, and Polluted Oceans.

Ceynar says he hopes the book will raise awareness about water pollution problems. “It’s very easy not to care about a problem that you don’t know exists,” Ceynar says. He also hopes the book will stimulate conversations between kids and adults.

The larger goal, he says, is to educate people and ultimately alter behavior. The book’s images make the point painfully clear to readers of all ages: human impact on water quality has been devastating. It’s hard to look at some of these images, but Ceynar hopes kids will see them and want to make changes for the better. “Hopefully, parents and children who read the book will be moved to consider how they can reduce their contributions to pollution and to make positive changes.”

Ceynar even appears in one of the book’s photos himself, piloting a canoe laden with carefully balanced tractor tires, an automobile bench seat, and more, taken at a recent Iowa River clean-up.

 

Dan Ceynar maneuvers a tractor tire out of the river.

Dan Ceynar maneuvers a tractor tire out of the river.

Ceynar says he declined the consultant fee offered for his work on the book in return for extra copies to donate as door prizes at the river clean-ups he participates in.

Poisoned Rivers and Lakes is available from Bearport Publishing. You can also learn more about the river clean-up events Ceynar is involved with: Project AWARE, IARVCP, and LWRCP.

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