WATERVILLE — Doctors concerned about rising rates of tick- borne illness are introducing children to giant ticks. Tick puppets, that is. They’re part of the cast of “Dogs to the Rescue,” a puppet show about climate solutions set for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at the First Congregational Church, UCC, 7 Eustis Parkway.

The doctors hope the show will increase tick awareness, as climate change is expanding its numbers and range. But their puppet show is less about climate problems and more about solutions. The main stars of the show are two dogs who use their canine wiles to train humans to make healthy choices. The doctors are setting an example by riding bicycles from town to town.

The dogs’ rescue techniques are more comic than heroic, but they work. “Even though we’re supposed to be training them, dogs are quite good at getting us to do what they want,” said Dr. Wendy Ring, the show’s creator, according to a news release from Sally Melcher-McKeagney. “I just imagined how they could use a repertoire of ordinary dog behaviors to get the message across. Its a fun way to share all the things we can do locally to lower greenhouse gas emissions and build healthier communities.” And it’s effective. Ring said, according to the release “After we do shows at schools, we ask the kids what to do about climate change, and they list the solutions right off.”

Health professionals have been outspoken about the need for faster climate action. “We have two big reasons to care about this issue” said Dr. Rob Byron, internist/puppeteer, according to the release. “First, we are already seeing patients with conditions caused or worsened by climate change. Tick-borne diseases are just one example. Second, the things we need for a healthy planet, we also need for healthy people: clean air, healthy food and active lifestyles.”

The doctors chose puppets to bring this message to young families. “Healthy habits should start early,” said Lori Byron, pediatrician and troupe member, according to the release. “And parents want to know what they can do about climate change because their kids will have to live in a warming world.” The show is family friendly and appropriate for kids 3 years and older, but the puppeteers say everyone, from toddlers to seniors, seems to have a good time. All performances are free of charge.

The doctors are part of Climate 911, a national network of health professionals who advocate for healthy climate solutions. Aside from wielding puppets, they have given hundreds of serious presentations on this topic to civic groups, colleagues and politicians; and are active in a number of health professional groups advocating for climate action. The largest of these, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health represents 400,000 U.S. physicians.

The doctors suggest one simple thing Maine parents can do right now: ask their school districts to apply for funds for electric buses. Many children now ride to school on old diesel buses, which leak pollution into the cabin as well as the atmosphere. Maine is getting $21 million from the VW settlement which can be used to help schools retire these old diesel buses and replace them with electric ones, but school districts must apply or the money may be spent elsewhere, according to the release.

Dogs to the Rescue is touring eastern Maine Aug. 1-18, with 17 shows from Wells to Machias. To find a show near you or for more information, visit climate911.org/education.

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