Celebrating Clean Air Day with Wings and Thingamajigs

Monitoring the health impacts of air pollution and protecting public health are Citizens’ Priorities in Halton Region’s Action Plan. 

On June 6, we celebrated Clean Air Day, with the launch of Wings and Thingamajigs, a picture book about how air quality and climate change affect health.  I attended the first public reading of the book at Sedgewick Crescent Child Care Centre in Oakville and am happy to report that the book was very well received by the students in teacher Jeanne Wilson’s Senior Kindergarten class.  Ms. Wilson did a great job reading and discussing the book with the class.  The students had a chance to meet author Halton Region Environmental Health Specialist Beckie Jas and the book’s illustrator Brandon Koepke.  But they were especially excited to meet Amy Fennell, Raptor Centre Lead at Mountsberg Conservation Area, and her friends.  Amy brought along Echo, a Screech Owl, Mrs. Hootz, a Great Horned Owl and a Barn Owl, Alba-Alba. 

These real-life owls inspired some of the characters in the book, which weaves local landmarks, such as the Escarpment, and compelling characters, into a story that both raises awareness and inspires children and parents to take action. As this story illustrates, simple actions such as walking or biking to school can have a big impact on our environment and our health. 

Wings and Thingamajigs is the second in a three-book series about the implications of air quality and climate change on human health and is one component of the Region’s Air Quality Education and Awareness Raising program. This book builds on the themes presented in book one, A Farewell to Featherwagons, particularly the impact of transportation and greenhouse gases, while introducing alternative forms of transportation such as walking.
Over the next few months, copies of the book will be provided to public libraries in Halton as well as child care centres, schools, community networks and partners. A complementary Storytelling Kit is available online.  The kit includes fact sheets, colouring pages and sticker sheets, useful links and more.

I invite you to walk or bike to your local library and borrow a copy of either book to share with your children or grandchildren. Then consider testing out active transportation on a regular basis by walking or biking somewhere you would normally drive.

For more information or to download an electronic version of Wings and Thingamajigs, visit www.halton.ca/thingamajigs or dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833.  The first 100 people who complete a copy of an online evaluation of the book will receive a free copy of the book. 

Visit www.halton.ca/featherwagons to read A Farewell to Featherwagons, which is also available in French, Cantonese, Polish and Spanish.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”