11/19/17

Colorful Catch Basins around Jersey City Star a Red-eyed Tree Frog

Jersey City, have you seen all the colorful images painted on catch basins all around town?

Our city wants residents and business owners to “adopt a catch basin.” When Frogs Are Green heard about this program, in which artists decorate these basins with whatever images you suggest, we claimed a drain, and now the corner of Central Avenue and Bleecker Street boasts a gorgeous, colorful red-eyed tree frog. We also just claimed the opposite corner which we call Biodiversity Matters. Environmental themes make the most sense.

Red-eyed Tree Frog artwork for catch basin in Jersey City Heights.

Red-eyed tree frog artwork for catch basin in Jersey City Heights.

As you walk around Jersey City, you’ll see a lighthouse, fish, turtles, sea turtles, an octopus, and many other original artworks by different artists. When you join the program and adopt a drain, you get to name it and request a certain image.

This is a great way to give artists work, clean up the streets, and show citizens where rain water goes. Once you claim a drain, you become responsible for keeping it clear from trash and, in the colder months, ice and snow. It’s a useful reminder not to throw garbage down there. Year after year I’ve walked around my neighborhood and seen trash and leaves piling up at these catch basins and trees, like a new sign post for trash. Since the city has a limited amount of street cleaners–actual people who only work main streets and only certain days– getting the public involved will help.

 

About the “Adopt a Catch Basin” program from the Jersey City Office of Innovation’s website:

“Catch basins or sewer drains collect storm and rain water from streets and sidewalks, which then travels into the sewer system. Any debris in the street and on the sidewalk can clog and block a catch basin, causing local flooding and potentially polluting our waterways. Our ‘Adopt a Catch Basin’ program empowers local residents and other volunteers to help keep catch basins clean and expand awareness of our sewer system.”

 

Once I made this commitment, I started researching what does go down the drain besides rain water and have discovered some unbelievable facts.

NJ’s sewage systems are old and in serious need of repair. Just read this article about what happened to the Middlesex County Utilities Authority in New Jersey. They were just starting to repair the main pump when Hurricane Sandy hit.

 
…Hurricane Sandy triggered flooding that knocked out the Passaic Valley Utility Authority in Newark—the fifth-largest wastewater treatment facility in the country—for weeks, sending some 840 million gallons of untreated sewage into Newark Bay, according to a 2013 report by the independent research organization Climate Central.

The federal EPA in 2008 estimated the cost of upgrading New Jersey’s CSOs statewide at $9.3 billion.

…Environmentalists warn that the high cost of fixing New Jersey’s ailing sewer systems pales beside the cost of doing nothing. While our ocean waters were deemed swimmable in a July 2013 DEP assessment, 73 percent of the state’s non-ocean waters tested failed due to bacteria indicating the presence of fecal matter. And only 3 percent of 952 watersheds were judged safe to eat, with 38 percent containing dangerous levels of mercury or toxic PCBs…

Please read the entire article here:
https://njmonthly.com/articles/jersey-living/down-the-drain-njs-sewage-system/
 

Just imagine what this means to wildlife. Let’s all do our part in helping the environment be safe for all.

 

06/18/17

Children’s Frog Drawings Published

Four hundred frogs!

It all began by having a meeting at the Wallace Elementary School with the art teacher and approval for the school to participate by the Principal and Superintendent. Ms. Lynn Fusco, art teacher extraordinaire, taught the students about frogs and children ages 6-12 created black and white frog drawings.

I teach part-time at the school, so every week when I came back to the school, Ms. Fusco would hand me more artworks, until all 400 had been turned in. I photographed the art and added them to our international galleries on the Flickr website Frog Art. (Just one of our many galleries)!

Finally, it was time for the judges to make their selections from the field of 1441 artworks from 35 countries. Many selected the Hoboken childrens’ artwork and they appear here and there in the many categories we have on our website. Ms. Fusco created posters by hand and put them up in a few places around the school to feature the winners.

Wallace School frog art winners

But, I knew that I had to do more! When a school as a whole surpasses your expectations and the Wallace School delivered 400 strong, you must reward them!

First, I selected 24 artworks and they were on display in Hoboken’s City Hall during Earth Day and also in Jersey City City Hall’s caucus room. I will add that the artworks are up indefinitely in JC, unless another group needs the space.

hoboken-city-hall-shows-frog-artworks

City-Hall-Jersey-City-frogs-are-green-display

Then, I carefully reviewed and selected 101 to publish in “101 Wallace School Frogs” A Frogs Are Green Coloring Book. I scanned the art, designed the book and published it in May, 2017.

101 Wallace School Frogs - A Frogs Are Green Coloring Book

In addition, we have collaborated with the Wallace PTO and if you buy the book on Amazon Smile and select the Wallace Parent Teacher Organization as your charity, they get a percentage.

Purchase copies on Amazon Smile here >> 101 Wallace School Frogs

And… we’re not done yet!

Next week, we’re having a book publishing party with the 101 students who are in the book!

What a great effort! I can’t wait to see what happens in September when we open the 8th annual kids art contest!

04/21/17

Award winning frog art on display in Jersey City and Hoboken City Halls

I’m thrilled to report that both Hoboken City Hall and Jersey City City Hall have award winning artwork hanging just in time for Earth Day (April 22) and Save The Frogs Day (April 29).

We curated a show of approximately 32 pieces for each of the two spaces and our exhibition, Green Dream 2017 is ready for viewing. We selected the artworks from the winners of our 2016 kids art contest.

Below is a gallery showing both exhibition spaces and a short video that I shot today in Jersey City City Hall.

To see the full winners gallery visit this link:
Winners of the Kids Art Contest 2016

02/12/17

Winners 2016 Photo Contests

Frogs Are Green thanks photographers from around the world for entering our annual two contests, Frogs in the Wild and Backyard Frogs.

The entries were creative, exceptional and came in from our own New Jersey, states around the USA, and countries such as Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Australia.

We thank the judges for their selections and applaud their effort.

Winners of the 2016 Frogs in the Wild Photo Contest

1st Place: Juan David Fernandez, Hypsiboas punctatus, Colombia
2nd Place: Ronald Zimmerman, Reticulated Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi) from Costa Rica.
3rd Place: Sebastian Di Domenico, Hypsiboas picturatus, Ecuador

Honorable Mentions:
Juan David Fernandez, Dendrobates truncatus, yellow-striped poison frog, Colombia
Sebastian Moreno, Oophaga histrionica, Colombia

 

Winners of the 2016 Backyard Frogs Photo Contest

1st Place: Hannah Sigler, Williamsburg, Iowa, Tree frog
2nd Place: Melville Osborne, late season Gray Tree Frog, Roxbury Township, Morris County, NJ
3rd Place: Nic Crampton, Green-Eyed Tree Frog, Litoria serrata, Queensland, Australia

Honorable Mentions:
Melville Osborne, Gray Tree Frog, New Jersey
Ewelina Zjezdzalka, frog from the Canary Islands

02/6/17

Winners 2016 Kids Art Contest – Part Two

PART TWO

Frogs Are Green thanks all the children from around the world for participating in our annual Kids Art Contest! The variety of subject, medium and cultural diversity made choosing incredibly hard! We also thank the parents and teachers that helped children learn more about frogs and bugs!

This year we received 1441 artworks from 32 countries and almost every state in the USA! Here in New Jersey I’m proud to share that the Wallace Elementary School of Hoboken submitted 400 artworks! That is a school project to be proud of! Jersey City students also turned in approximately 75 artworks! We also received quite a lot of artwork from China, Sri Lanka and Turkey, so you will see we selected the best of each of these countries also.

We want to thank the judges and we applaud them in choosing from a field of exceptional artworks: Jonathan Kolby, Geoff Mosher, Pam Andes, Bethe Ann Schwartz, Erin A. Delaney, Sigrid Shreeve, and Valerie Clark.

All winners receive a custom certificate based on how you placed, so email us to receive yours. The 1st place winners in each of the 4 age groups receive prizes, so email us!

And now for the winners… (wait for the page to load!!)

WINNERS by Categories

Best Black and White Artwork

1st Place: Minsoo Jung, 11 years old, USA
2nd Place: Seyoung Bae, 11 years old, USA
3rd Place: Shanmukh Gollu, 16 years old, India

Honorable Mentions:

Arriyah Rivera, 9 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Dheeman Gangopadhyay, 13 years old, UAE
Junu Sim, 9 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Nylah Rosado, 11 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Zoriah Calcano, 9 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA

Best Typographic Artwork

1st Place: Colin Song, 16 years old, USA
2nd Place: Lynn Sun, 8 years old, NJ, USA
3rd Place: Riya Roshan Joseph, 15 years old, UAE

Honorable Mention:

Gusti Ayu Wedha Putri Surya, 10 years old, Indonesia

Best Artworks from Jersey City, NJ, USA

1st Place: George Azmy, 17 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA
2nd Place: Darinka Arones, 8th grade, Jersey City, NJ, USA
3rd Place: Jeffry Bello, 15 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Honorable Mentions:

Gregory Garcia, 10 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA
Rosemary Rosario, 9 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA
Shivangi Pastagia, 16 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Best Artworks from Hoboken, NJ, USA

1st Place: Ciara Groomes, 11 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
2nd Place: Nylah Rosado, 11 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
3rd Place: Sarah Burns, 8 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA

Honorable Mentions:

Amber Rodriguez, 9 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Ava DiGiacomo, 8 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Elizabeth Bright, 9 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Jayanna Wheeler, 7 years old, Hoboken, NJ, USA

Best Artwork from Sri Lanka

1st Place: Geethma Tashani Thalangama, 13 years old, Sri Lanka
2nd Place: W. W. Lakindu Chamindra Mendis, 6 years old, Sri Lanka
3rd Place: Himara Hasindi Liyange, 9 years old, Sri Lanka

Honorable Mentions:

H. P. Chanuki Vimarshi Caldera, 13 years old, Sri Lanka
Thinaura Gunasekara, 13 years old, Sri Lanka
Kushan Sawinda Jayawardana, 13 years old, Sri Lanka
D. Sethuli Mevansa Jayasekara, 11 years old, Sri Lanka

Best Artwork from Turkey

1st Place: Dalya Kinsizer-Hisar Okullari, age group 13-17, Turkey
2nd Place: Nil Ozdal, 7 years old, Turkey
3rd Place: Irmak Yesim Gelirli, 9 years old, Turkey

Honorable Mention:

Bugra Ozenc, 8 years old, Turkey

Best Artwork from Hong Kong, China:

1st Place: Yeung Chi Wai, 6 years old, School of Creativity, Hong Kong
2nd Place: Lam Tsun Hay, 6 years old, Chong Hok Tong Education Center, Hong Kong
3rd Place: Chan Chi Lam, 4 years old, School of Creativity, Hong Kong

Honorable Mention:

Young Hei Wun, 6 years old, Chong Hok Tong Education Center, Hong Kong

06/29/16

Junior Herpetologist of the Year Sarah Brabec

Frogs Are Green is proud to repost this wonderful article sent to us by Lisa and Sarah Brabec. We couldn’t agree more and look forward to hearing from Sarah when she’s closer to us on the East coast!

By Anna Spoerre
Journal Star reporter

BRIMFIELD — To Sarah Brabec, herpetology is more than just the study of reptiles and amphibians, it’s a lifestyle.

On a recent day, the 90-degree weather didn’t seem to bother Brabec, 14, as she waded barefoot through a creek at Jubilee College State Park, a small green net in hand. Two large tadpoles resurfaced with the mesh — an exciting catch for the Junior Herpetologist of the Year at the 2016 International Herpetological Symposium.

“(Herpetology) is more than just a hobby,” Brabec said. “It’s a passion … something I want to spend my life doing.”

Brabec is presenting at the 39th annual International Herpetological Symposium that began Wednesday and runs through Saturday in St. Louis. There, she joins experts in discussions and programs about the scaly, cold-blooded creatures.

Sarah Brebac

“It’s just amazing how much she’s been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time,” said Jill Wallace, an environmental educator at Sugar Grove Nature Center in McLean, where Brabec likes to visit with her family.

When she was 6, Brabec joined the Central Illinois Herpetological Society. During her time there she’s presented in front of hundreds of people and helped to start a junior program within the society, said Doug Holmes, president of the society.

She said last year’s international conference in Austin, Texas — which she participated in as a runner-up — taught her that herpetology is about more than saving frogs. It’s about helping to promote public interest, she said, which falls in line with increasingly popular education-based global sustainability practices.

“The key need in conservation success is education of younger kids,” Brabec said.

Sarah Brebac examines amphibian

She began teaching children to conserve and save animals in Peoria, going into classrooms and talking to grade-schoolers about reptiles. Sometimes she brings her favorite creatures along to engage the students.

“You can hold frogs in your hands,” Brabec said. “Kids can really connect to that.”

She would know. Brabec’s mother, Lisa Brabec, said she started chasing reptiles when she was 4, always returning home with a new animal hidden behind her back.

“When they find their passion, feed it,” said Lisa Brabec, who often takes her daughter exploring at nearby creeks and ponds.

When asked about some of the more interesting moments that come with having a house full of reptiles and amphibians, she said with a chuckle, “my Mother’s Day gift went missing one year.”

Sixth months later they found the runaway snake hiding between their kitchen cabinets. Despite this, Lisa Brabec said she’s grown fonder of all slimy, slithery creatures her daughter introduces to the family.

“My parents are troopers,” the younger Brabec said with a smile.

Last year, Sarah Brabec even began writing a children’s book with a local herpetologist. But, the project has been put on hold.

“I learned that all it takes for kids is adults who think they’re capable,” Lisa Brabec said.

Though Sarah Brabec said she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do in the future, she said saving wildlife is crucial, and she wants to continue playing a role in that endeavor.

In the meantime, she and her family are preparing to move to Atlanta later this summer, where Sarah Brabec said she’s excited to find eastern narrow mouth toads.

“You can just tell some kids are really hooked,” Holmes said. “I think eventually she’ll make a career out of it.”

Anna Spoerre can be reached at 686-3296 and aspoerre@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/annaspoerre.