New York City Partners With the Fashion Institute of Technology to Create Educational, Interactive Coloring Book About New York City’s Water Story

April 25, 2023

‘Drippy’ s Water Adventure’ explores the journey New York City’s water takes, from the mountain top to the sea; a copy of the interactive coloring book is available on DEP’s Education page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has partnered with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to develop ‘Drippy’s Water Adventure,’ an interactive coloring book that explores the journey New York City’s water takes, from the mountain top to the sea. The collaborative project was designed and illustrated by FIT students in the school’s Illustration BFA and MFA programs using education materials sourced from DEP. Town+Gown: NYC, a city-wide university-community partnership program operated by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), facilitated DEP and FIT coming together to work on this unique venture.

“This terrific coloring book will help us to engage young New Yorkers in the essential work of protecting our shared environment,” said DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Many thanks to the talented team at FIT and our partners at DDC for helping us develop the next generation of environmental stewards!”

“The Town+Gown:NYC program and its innovative experiential learning component connects City agencies with academic institutions, such as the FIT design studio program,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley. “As the City's primary capital construction project manager DDC helps to build the water system with DEP every day, so we’re proud to help educate the public about this crucial public water system that we play such an important role in.”

“For FIT, sustainability is a core value and critical to our mission and vision. We are proud to have played a role in such an innovative way to help educate future generations,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President of FIT. “Our Illustration students have really brought this story to life, and made a complicated environmental process about water and wastewater very accessible to a young audience.”

“Taking such complex infrastructure as NYC’s water and wastewater system and distilling it down into an educational and entertaining coloring book was a perfect challenge for this select group of students,” said Dan Shefelman, Chair of Illustration and Interactive Media, FIT. “We were fortunate that the folks at DEP had done the preliminary work and it was clear from the beginning that a simple narrative following a character through the journey from mountains to sea would be the key to solving the problem. Once we hit on “Drippy” it was literally all downhill from there. Our research visit to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant gave us the perfect setting to tell the story. I’m super excited to see how NYC primary, middle school and even high school students respond and add their own creativity to the coloring book.”

‘Drippy’s Water Adventure’ follows Drippy and friends as they embark on a fun-filled adventure exploring New York City’s water story. The 40-page interactive coloring book is full of activities and vocabulary highlighting the city’s extensive water infrastructure. The book illustrates water use and New York City’s water resources, wastewater treatment process, harbor water quality, stormwater management and green infrastructure, and stewardship opportunities.

The book also contains a word search and glossary featuring engineering and environmental terms; a checklist of how young environmentalists can take action to protect water resources; and a chance for budding illustrators and authors to draw their own version of Drippy and write their own water story. A copy of the coloring book is available on DEP’s Education page and educators can request printed copies for their students from DEP’s Education Team.

The coloring book project grew out of DEP’s efforts to increase public education and outreach on stormwater pollution and prevention strategies through the citywide Stormwater Management Program Plan.

The illustrations were done by members of the Illustration BFA and MFA programs at FIT. The BFA program is a rigorous four-year undergraduate program rooted in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, conceptual thinking, and creative curiosity. Students go on to work as editorial and book illustrators, animation artists, art directors, and designers, just to name a few. The Illustration MFA program is for working professionals with several years of experience in the field of illustration and visual storytelling. Students elevate their skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and visual voice culminating in a cohesive body of work and written thesis. Participating in the coloring book endeavor were four student illustrators from the BFA program, two student art directors from the MFA program, and two faculty members.

Town+Gown:NYC is a unique community-university partnership that brings together academics and practitioners on Built Environment research to increase applied built environment research and evidence-based analysis, often using New York City as a laboratory, and transfer and translate research results to inform and support changes in practices and policies.

About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $29 billion in investments over the next 10 years. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit

About the Fashion Institute of Technology

A part of the State University of New York (SUNY), FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today’s rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Stephen Burrows, Dennis Basso, Daniel Roseberry, Francisco Costa, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor-in-chief of ELLE.