By Lisa Houle | May 1, 2023
ISCBC can now add a published book to its list of resources. Entitled ‘Munch, Munch, Crunch,’ this invasive species-themed children’s book tells the troubling tale of a hungry goldfish.
Readers are introduced to a pet goldfish named Munch who finds his way into the wild after his owner releases him, thinking Munch would be better off there than in his small fishbowl. Munch takes us on a journey of discovery, as we learn exactly what can happen when a pet is released into the wild.
Using alliteration, rhythm and repetition, this beautifully illustrated book is already a hit with ISCBC staff keen to share it with the public.
The idea for creating Munch, Munch, Crunch was born during the pandemic. Putting this book together enabled staff to virtually engage and maintain connections with ISCBC volunteers in a meaningful way.
The book was a team effort led by author Craig Stephani, Outreach Lead at ISCBC, with input from Youth Volunteer contributors: Tim Baker, Jenna Cardoso, Rachelle Demetrick, and Nathan Leonard.
“Creating a children’s book was a fun way to engage with creative volunteers. We would meet to discuss the plot and develop the characters and writing style for the book. I took those ideas, wrote out a story, then worked with those volunteers to fine tune it,” said Craig Stephani. “Once we had our story down, we searched for an illustrator that would fit the image we imagined. We came across Annie Wilkinson, whose work was exactly what we envisioned – thankfully she agreed to illustrate our story!”
The work of invasive species specialists, practitioners and volunteers is typically thought to be hands-on. But equally important is the aspect of outreach and education.
“People may think the only way to protect habitats is to go out and participate in a weed pull or a garbage clean up, but it can be so much more than that. Stewarding the land is much more inclusive than that to people’s abilities, interests, and strengths! Creating resources like books, posters, or even social media posts, are excellent ways to educate others and get them excited about your passion,” said Craig.
Think a scenario, like the one with goldfish, Munch, couldn’t happen?
Aside from the animated nature of the book, this is exactly what happens when pets are released into the wild. Before bringing a pet into your life, it is important to understand the long-term needs of those pets. Don’t Let It Loose reinforces this message, educating readers on alternatives to releasing pets into the wild if they find themselves unable to care for a pet.
“Children love pets, and most will have a pet at some point in their childhood,” said Craig. “That makes them the perfect audience for invasive species messaging about Don’t Let it Loose.”
Copies of Munch, Munch, Crunch can be purchased from ISCBC’s online store. Catch your copy before it swims away!
Lisa is a Communications and Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC. She values a diverse environment and connecting with others about environmental protection. In her spare time Lisa enjoys spending time at the ocean and beach combing for sea glass. You can reach Lisa at [email protected]