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Short film series explores environmental issues

Alan Flurry

A partnership between a UGA professor and the creator of the “Sherman’s Lagoon” comic strip has resulted in a new short film series. “The Adventures of Zack and Molly” highlights the Gulf of Mexico and the importance of healthy oceans:

Samantha Joye, UGA Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of marine sciences, met artist Jim Toomey at an ocean conference several years ago, and together they hatched an idea to reach kids about the ocean through short-form media.

Toomey is an award-winning cartoonist and filmmaker who created the popular comic strip “Sherman’s Lagoon,” which appears in over 250 daily newspapers in 20 countries and six languages. The strip’s underwater theme explores environmental issues in a way that is meant to appeal to adults and children.

For the past several years, Joye has been the project director of the ECOGIG research consortium. ECOGIG (Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf) is led by the University of Georgia and is one of several research consortia funded in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico. ECOGIG has placed a strong emphasis on education and public outreach, so finding ways to reach a variety of audiences has been an important part of the program.

“The ECOGIG program allowed us to invest in public outreach in an unprecedented way. It has been incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to work with Jim to develop a novel way to reach the public—especially kids!—and share the importance of our work on deep ocean ecosystems and its relevance to ocean health,” said Joye.

Great utilization of outreach and entertainment to educate on a broad scale about crucial issues. Toomey's creativity and Joye's openness with her expertise makes knowledge about the environment accessible to all. Congratulations to our marine sciences colleagues Sara Beresford and Emily Davenport for their ongoing work in this effort. Watch the series here.

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