Could children be taught to think that being environmentalists is super cool? Israeli couple, Amir and Liat Shahar, a kindergarten teacher and a Yoga instructor, believe they have found the formula. The couple is working on a animated children’s series, Leafers, which tells the story of 4 super-powered siblings and their friend, who protect and save the world from environmental disasters.
In each episode the kids go to a different location in the world that requires an urgent interference in order to save the natural habitat. By using their super-powers in a non-violent way, the kids always manage to save the planet. In addition to their powers, the green superkids call upon the wise sayings of their nature friends: An old tree, a noble female condor, a grumpy mole and a slightly neurotic mantis.
In every episode, Root, the wise old tree that is connected through its roots to every point on earth, receives a message about a situation somewhere on the planet that requires urgent action from super-powered team. All the episodes are based on real current natural crises. One episode requires the team to deal with the problem of sea turtles on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific ocean, who are constantly swallowing bits of plastic bags. In another episode, a family of tigers in Bangladesh gets sick. It turns out a huge mountain of garbage is blocking vital sunrays they need. “The stories are real and unfortunately happen every day on earth. Therefore, the number of topics for the episodes is almost infinite,” Liat told NoCamels.
The couple found inspiration for the characters in their own son, Ron: “Ron was actually present at all the important meetings with the investors and the creators of the series,” said Liat. “Ron and some of the kids in Amir’s kindergarten were an inspiration for the characters in the show. Many qualities and behaviors were taken from day-to-day activities in the kindergarten.”
As part of the Leafers brand, Amir and Liat are already planning a line of products escorting the release of the show, such as books based on the episodes, a line of clothing, computer games and a website.
They have partnered with Dori Media Spike Productions, who plan to release the series around the world. “The fact that every episode occurs in a different location on the globe, makes it easy for kids to relate, regardless of their origin. The kids obtain not only the environmental values, but also some knowledge in geography, discovering new places on the planet in each episode,” Amir said.
The Israeli couple is hoping Leafers will turn into a full-fledged brand: Amir runs a private kindergarten in Hod Ha’Sharon, Israel, which carries the Leafers name. The couple has also been working on the establishment of a Leafers center. “The center is a unique site designed to complete the children’s experience by combining environmental education with fun and some quality time between parents and children,” explains Liat. The center includes a natural garden, an ecological Gymboree, as well as activities teaching the benefits of organic food and even Yoga classes for parents and kids.
Liat concluded: “Ultimately, we hope to educate the young generation about ecologic and humanitarian values such as recycling, pollution prevention, nature and wildlife preservation, friendship and cooperation.”
Photos by Amir and Liat Shahar