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This free-of-charge comic book aims to change the way young people understand climate challenges

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An innovative downloadable graphic comic based in the Stroud district has been released with the aim of inspiring a new generation of environmental managers.

The Sound of a River was written by Stroud District Council officer Chris Uttley and illustrated by local artist Joe Magee.

The book tells the story of Monica, a girl who sets out to find out why her house has flooded. She travels back in time to learn that historical changes made to the river have not only resulted in the loss of wildlife and plants, but also increased the likelihood of flooding.

The title is based on the idea that a healthy river generates a variety of sounds, therefore the healthier and more natural the river, the more sounds it creates. Historical land drainage and river engineering have simplified and deepened channels, causing the river to fall silent.

Each page of the book is accompanied by illustrations from the Stroud district and some pages have explanatory notes.

Cllr Chloe Turner, chair of SDC Environment Committee said: “Sound of a River is an inspiring way to capture the imagination of young people and explain how historical river engineering has impacted nature and potentially contributed to increased flood risk.

“Nature based environmental projects will not only help tackle the climate and nature emergencies, but will also create much needed educational, training and employment opportunities.

“I hope Chris and Joe’s story will inspire a new generation to get involved in innovative environmental solutions such as SDC’s Natural Flood Management work just as Monica does in the book.”

SDC’s Stroud Valleys Natural Flood Management project was initiated by community groups after areas of Stroud were flooded in 2007 and 2012. It has been adopted into the council’s Council Plan and the 2030 Strategy to improve flood management in the district and help tackle the biodiversity crisis.

The award-winning project implements nature-based measures such as creating `leaky dams’ – positioning fallen trees across water courses to slow the flow of flood water – resulting in less water travelling downstream and so reducing the risk of flooding.

Working in partnership with landowners, more than 900 natural flood interventions have been installed so far.

Cllr Robin Layfield, vice chair said: “Sound of a River is free-of-charge to download, and we very much hope that parents, schools, libraries and young people will download a copy and be inspired by its message.”

Sound of a River is hosted on the NBS Comics website and can be downloaded here.

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