02/8/20

Winners of the 2019 Fire and Ice Kids Art Contest

Announcing the winners of the 2019 Fire and Ice Kids Art Contest hosted by Frogs Are Green. It was our 10th annual contest and we had a wonderful response from around the world and right here in the USA, from California to Florida, and Jersey City.

Thanks to our judges for 2019: Wendell Minor, Amy Elise de Jong, Jenna Firshein, Louis Aligo, Beverly D’Andrea and Mark Lerer.

Winners – Ages 3-6

1st place: NG Pak Hay Hayden, 5 years old, Hong Kong
2nd place: Chatchayanich Worabut, 6 years old, Thailand
3rd place: Mak Marcella Carissa, 4 years old, Hong Kong

Honorable Mentions:

Lai Wing Ka, 5 years old, Hong Kong
Or Hoi Man, Hailey, 4 years old, Hong Kong
Lui Yan Hei, Gloria, 4 years old, Hong Kong
Huang Tzu Chiao, 5 years old, Taiwan
Fong Shing Yan, Romeo, 4 years old, Hong Kong

1st-NG-Pak-Hay-Hayden-5-years-old-Hong-Kong-2019

1st-NG-Pak-Hay-Hayden-5-years-old-Hong-Kong-2019

2nd-Chatchayanich Worabut, age 6, Thailand, 2019

2nd-Chatchayanich Worabut, age 6, Thailand, 2019

3rd-MAK MARCELLA CARISSA -4yrs-Hong Kong,2019

3rd-MAK MARCELLA CARISSA -4yrs-Hong Kong,2019

LAI WING KA_5 yrs_Hong Kong, 2019

LAI WING KA_5 yrs_Hong Kong, 2019

Or Hoi Man, Hailey-4 yrs-Hong Kong-2019

Or Hoi Man, Hailey-4 yrs-Hong Kong-2019

Lui Yan Hei, Gloria-4 yrs-Hong Kong-2019

Lui Yan Hei, Gloria-4 yrs-Hong Kong-2019

Huang Tzu Chiao-5 years old-Taiwan,Industrial Forest, 2019

Huang Tzu Chiao-5 years old-Taiwan,Industrial Forest, 2019

Fong-Shing-Yan-Romeo-4-yrs-Hong-Kong-2019FRG

Fong-Shing-Yan-Romeo-4-yrs-Hong-Kong-2019FRG

1st-NG-Pak-Hay-Hayden-5-years-old-Hong-Kong-2019 thumbnail
2nd-Chatchayanich Worabut, age 6, Thailand, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-MAK MARCELLA CARISSA -4yrs-Hong Kong,2019 thumbnail
LAI WING KA_5 yrs_Hong Kong, 2019 thumbnail
Or Hoi Man, Hailey-4 yrs-Hong Kong-2019 thumbnail
Lui Yan Hei, Gloria-4 yrs-Hong Kong-2019 thumbnail
Huang Tzu Chiao-5 years old-Taiwan,Industrial Forest, 2019 thumbnail
Fong-Shing-Yan-Romeo-4-yrs-Hong-Kong-2019FRG thumbnail

Winners: Ages 7-9

1st place: Lucas Nam, 9 years old, California, USA
2nd place: Wimootta Aramsaengchan, 8 years old, Thailand
3rd place: Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA

Honorable Mentions:

Huang Tzu Wei, 8 years old, Taiwan
Grace Gao, 9 years old, USA
Duru Karadede, 9 years old, Turkey

1st-Lucas Nam, 9 years old, CA, USA, 2019

1st-Lucas Nam, 9 years old, CA, USA, 2019

2nd-Wimootta Aramsaengchan, age 8, Thailand, 2019

2nd-Wimootta Aramsaengchan, age 8, Thailand, 2019

3rd-Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA, 2019

3rd-Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA, 2019

Huang Tzu Wei_8 years old_Taiwan_Garbage forest, 2019

Huang Tzu Wei_8 years old_Taiwan_Garbage forest, 2019

Grace Gao_9 yrs_US, 2019

Grace Gao_9 yrs_US, 2019

DURU KARADEDE_9YEARS OLD_FROM TURKEY__GLACIER MELTING, 2019

DURU KARADEDE_9YEARS OLD_FROM TURKEY__GLACIER MELTING, 2019

1st-Lucas Nam, 9 years old, CA, USA, 2019 thumbnail
2nd-Wimootta Aramsaengchan, age 8, Thailand, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA, 2019 thumbnail
Huang Tzu Wei_8 years old_Taiwan_Garbage forest, 2019 thumbnail
Grace Gao_9 yrs_US, 2019 thumbnail
DURU KARADEDE_9YEARS OLD_FROM TURKEY__GLACIER MELTING, 2019 thumbnail

Winners: Ages 10-12

1st place: Angela Kim, 11 years old, California, USA
2nd place: Viara Pencheva, 10 years old, Bulgaria
3rd place: Olivia Jung, 12 years old, Canada

Honorable Mentions:

Napatson Nurat, 12 years old, Thailand
Emelin Saldana-Montes, 11 years old, MS 40, New Jersey, USA
Destiny Garcia, 11 years old, MS 40, New Jersey, USA
Worth Lodriga, 10 years old, Philippines
Kate Yeaseo Jeong, 11 years old, California, USA

1st-Angela Kim, 11 years old, CA, USA, 2019

1st-Angela Kim, 11 years old, CA, USA, 2019

2nd-VIARA PENCHEVA_10 years old_BULGARIA, 2019

2nd-VIARA PENCHEVA_10 years old_BULGARIA, 2019

3rd-Olivia Jung, age 12, Canada, 2019

3rd-Olivia Jung, age 12, Canada, 2019

Napatson Nurat, 12 yrs old, Thailand, 2019

Napatson Nurat, 12 yrs old, Thailand, 2019

Emelin Saldana-Montes, 11 yrs, MS 40, United States, 2019

Emelin Saldana-Montes, 11 yrs, MS 40, United States, 2019

Destiny Garcia, 11 yrs, MS 40 United States, 2019

Destiny Garcia, 11 yrs, MS 40 United States, 2019

Worth-Lodriga-10-yrs-old-Philippines-lion, 2019

Worth-Lodriga-10-yrs-old-Philippines-lion, 2019

Kate Yeaseo Jeong,11 years old, CA, USA, 2019

Kate Yeaseo Jeong,11 years old, CA, USA, 2019

1st-Angela Kim, 11 years old, CA, USA, 2019 thumbnail
2nd-VIARA PENCHEVA_10 years old_BULGARIA, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-Olivia Jung, age 12, Canada, 2019 thumbnail
Napatson Nurat, 12 yrs old, Thailand, 2019 thumbnail
Emelin Saldana-Montes, 11 yrs, MS 40, United States, 2019 thumbnail
Destiny Garcia, 11 yrs, MS 40 United States, 2019 thumbnail
Worth-Lodriga-10-yrs-old-Philippines-lion, 2019 thumbnail
Kate Yeaseo Jeong,11 years old, CA, USA, 2019 thumbnail

Winners; Ages 13-17

1st place: Jude Atchley, 16 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA
2nd place: Seohee Choi, 14 years old, California, USA
3rd place: Sujita Kongvach, 17 years old, Thailand

Honorable Mentions:

Amelia Stebbing, 17 years old, Florida, USA
Grace Thomas, 16 years old, USA
Ream Elkawaga, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA
Ekansha Tabhane, 13 years old, USA

1st-A Frog's View, by Jude Atchley, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019

1st-A Frog's View, by Jude Atchley, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019

2nd-Seohee Choi, 14 years old, CA, USA, 2019

2nd-Seohee Choi, 14 years old, CA, USA, 2019

3rd-Sujita Kongvach, 17 yrs old, Thailand, 2019

3rd-Sujita Kongvach, 17 yrs old, Thailand, 2019

Amelia Stebbing, 17, Jensen Beach Florida, 2019

Amelia Stebbing, 17, Jensen Beach Florida, 2019

Grace Thomas, age 16, United States, 2019

Grace Thomas, age 16, United States, 2019

Bleeding Into Life By Ream Elkawaga, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019

Bleeding Into Life By Ream Elkawaga, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019

Ekansha Tabhane, Age 13, United States of America, 2019

Ekansha Tabhane, Age 13, United States of America, 2019

1st-A Frog's View, by Jude Atchley, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019 thumbnail
2nd-Seohee Choi, 14 years old, CA, USA, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-Sujita Kongvach, 17 yrs old, Thailand, 2019 thumbnail
Amelia Stebbing, 17, Jensen Beach Florida, 2019 thumbnail
Grace Thomas, age 16, United States, 2019 thumbnail
Bleeding Into Life By Ream Elkawaga, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019 thumbnail
Ekansha Tabhane, Age 13, Country United States of America, 2019 thumbnail

Winners of “Best Environmental Message 2019”

1st Place: Zhang Anwen, 6 years old, Hong Kong
2nd Place: Jude Atchley, 16 years old, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
3rd Place: Fong Yuk Chit, 8 years old, Hong Kong

Honorable Mentions:

Huang Tzu Chiao, 5 years old, Taiwan
Wirin Sukthongchalyakul,7 years old, Thailand
Chan Man Yee, 6 years old, Hong Kong
Kumud Pathak, 9 years old, USA
Jerrick Kamaraj, 11 years old, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Katha Patel, grade 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

1st Place Winner Zhang Anwen, 6 years old, Hong Kong

1st Place Winner Zhang Anwen, 6 years old, Hong Kong

2nd Place Winner Jude Atchley, 16 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

2nd Place Winner Jude Atchley, 16 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA "A Frog's View"

3rd Place Winner Fong Yuk Chit, 8 years old, Hong Kong

3rd Place Winner Fong Yuk Chit, 8 years old, Hong Kong

Huang Tzu Chiao, 5 years old, Taiwan,

Huang Tzu Chiao, 5 years old, Taiwan, "Industrial Forest"

Wirin Sukthongchaiyakul, 7 years old, Thailand

Wirin Sukthongchaiyakul, 7 years old, Thailand

Chan Man Yee, 6 years old, Hong Kong

Chan Man Yee, 6 years old, Hong Kong

Kumud Pathak, 9 years old, USA

Kumud Pathak, 9 years old, USA

Jerrick Kamaraj, 11 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Jerrick Kamaraj, 11 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Katha Patel, grade 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Katha Patel, grade 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

1st-Place-Zhang-Anwen-6-yrs-Hong-Kong-2019 thumbnail
2nd-Place-A Frog's View, by Jude Atchley, Age 16, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-Place-Fong-Yuk-Chit-8-yrs-Hong-Kong-2019 thumbnail
Huang Tzu Chiao-5 years old-Taiwan,Industrial Forest, 2019 thumbnail
Wirin Sukthongchaiyakul, age 7, Thailand-2019 thumbnail
Chan-Man-Yee-6-yrs-Hong-Kong-2019 thumbnail
Kumud Pathak, 9 years, USA-2019 thumbnail
Jerrick-Kamaraj-11-yrs-old-Jersey-City-NJ-USA-2019 thumbnail
KATHA-PATEL-JERSEY-CITY-NJ-USA-GRADE-12-2019 thumbnail

Winners of “Best Black and White Artwork 2019”

1st Place: Setthasan Jirathanaprasert, 14 years old, Thailand
2nd Place: Hermes Tsai, 9 years old, USA
3rd Place: Kyeongwon Lee, 15 years old, USA

Honorable Mention:

Sunattra Kongrach, 15 years old, Thailand

1st place, Setthasan Jirathanaprasert, 14 years old, Thailand

1st place, Setthasan Jirathanaprasert, 14 years old, Thailand

2nd place, Hermes Tsai, 9 years old, California, USA

2nd place, Hermes Tsai, 9 years old, California, USA

3rd place, Kyeongwon Lee, 15 years old, California, USA, 2019

3rd place, Kyeongwon Lee, 15 years old, California, USA, 2019

Sunattra Kongvach, 15 yrs old, Thailand, 2019

Sunattra Kongvach, 15 yrs old, Thailand

1st-place-Setthasan-Jirathanaprasert-14-years-old-Thailand-2019 thumbnail
2nd-place-Hermes Tsai, 9 years old, California, USA, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-place-Kyeongwon Lee, 15 years old, California, USA-2019 thumbnail
Sunattra Kongvach, 15 yrs old, Thailand, 2019 thumbnail

Winners of “Best 3D Artwork 2019”

1st Place: Seohee Choi, 14 years old, California, USA
2nd Place: Kate Yeaseo Jeong, 11 years old, California, USA
3rd Place: Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA

Honorable Mentions:

Chloe Jin, 10 years old, California, USA
Kristina Danilenko, 7 years old, Russia, Siberia

1st place, Seohee Choi, 14 years old, CA, USA, 3D, 2019

1st place, Seohee Choi, 14 years old, CA, USA

2nd place, Kate Yeaseo Jeong, 11 years old, California, USA, 3D, 2019

2nd place, Kate Yeaseo Jeong, 11 years old, California, USA

3rd place, Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA, 3D, 2019

3rd place, Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA

Chloe Jin, 10 years old, California, USA, 3D, 2019

Chloe Jin, 10 years old, California, USA

Kristina Danilenko, 7 years old, Russia, Siberia, Novosibirsk city, 3D, 2019

Kristina Danilenko, 7 years old, Russia, Siberia, Novosibirsk City

1st-place-Seohee Choi, 14 years old, CA, USA-3D-2019 thumbnail
2nd-place-Kate Yeaseo Jeong, 11 years old, California, USA, 3D, 2019 thumbnail
3rd-place-Claire Chong, 9 years old, California, USA-3D-2019 thumbnail
Chloe Jin, 10 years old, California, USA, 3D, 2019 thumbnail
Kristina Danilenko, 7 years old, Russia, Siberia, Novosibirsk city, 3D, 2019 thumbnail
07/27/19

Ecological art multimedia event in Janko Veselinovic school, Belgrade, Serbia

from Valentina Mirkovic

I want to share with you my impressions and to tell you that we performed our ecological-art event in our school. In fact, it turned into more of a lecture, because we decided to be much more serious this year. The only thing that we didn`t manage to do was to include 4th graders, but that would be something for the next time…

We chose Earth Day as the day for our performance. It was a public class, in the lobby, for all students and teachers. This time, we gave students a more scientific task. One group of children got to work on PP presentations and they had to explore the rainforest as a natural phenomenon from a geographical and biological point of view. And, of course with ecological aspects, in another words, what happens to nature due to pollution, greenhouse effect, global melting… etc. and what might become of our beautiful rainforests all over the world. What species are already extinct and which, unfortunately, will be, very likely…

After that serious and warning introduction, we continued, with a second group of students, and the story of the artistic side of the project. They explained what could be done and that art is one way to focus attention on the growing problem. Here, we devoted more talks about the international children`s art competition, which we`ve participated in for the second year, and about the whole idea of your site “Frogs Are Green” which inspired us.

Some of the kids presented their art works and spoke about the virtual gallery where ours and also artworks of other children from all over the world could be seen. At the end, two girls read your text, in English and Serbian, from the blog, “My green dream.” My colleagues and I thought that this letter is so universal and carries the thoughts that we share. And that would be it! We`re sending photos of all of us who participated and looking forward to some new cooperation and ideas in the future!

One more thing, one request! Could I ask for some sort of confirmation for us as teachers, that we, with our students participated in an international project. They are asking us that from our school administration. I have downloaded certificates for children, but, what do you think, whether they could be used for teachers too? If you think it is ok, then I could use those certificates, just with our names, teachers names… If you have any other idea or suggestion, let me know. In any case, I thank you once again for support and cooperation and I hope for new competitions and ideas about preservation of the living world on our Earth!!!!!

Bye, bye, With All the Best, Valentina (and Sanja, Nevena, Slavica and Zoran. Huge greetings from my collegues too !) p.s. I am the little black haired woman in the middle, with a yellow scarf.

___________________________________________

After receiving this marvelous email we designed the certificates for the Teachers to receive as well!

Teaching certificate for Valentina Mirkovinc from Frogs Are Green!
07/25/18

‘Save All Frogs’ Initiative Launched!

Save All Frogs‘ Initiative Launched!

Matt Ellerbeck – Frog Advocate & Conservationist

Frogs are one of the most diverse forms of herpetofauna in the province of Ontario, boasting more species than turtles, lizards, or salamanders. Yet, there is no outreach education effort solely devoted to these amphibians within the province.

This is unfortunate as many frog species are threatened with extinction. Furthermore, the endangerment of frogs is not exclusive to regions outside of Ontario. Several of the province’s native species are in serious decline.

The Great Lake/St. Lawrence population (east and north of Toronto) of the Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) is listed as Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. The Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) is even more at risk, being listed as Endangered. Worse still, the diminutive Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) is considered extinct from Ontario.

More of Ontario’s frogs could also be disappearing, as many species have not yet been properly assessed.

This is what inspired me to launch my Save All Frogs project. With this effort I will be educating individuals throughout the province on why frogs are disappearing, what roles they play in the environment, and most importantly how they can help.

I will be emphasizing as I visit schools, camps, conservation areas and other venues that individuals can become involved with the recovery of frogs via behavioral changes, informed decision making, environmental stewardship actions, and habitat management efforts.

Education has been noted as an effective conservation tool by numerous groups and organizations. The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC) states that it recognizes the need to increase awareness, appreciation, and understanding of amphibians, reptiles and their habitats, which can then enhance conservation actions and stewardship practices. The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust also proclaims that education is one of the most important tools in the long-term conservation of amphibians and reptiles. By raising awareness, enhancing knowledge and encouraging people to take action, real steps can be made towards conserving amphibian and reptile species.

This is why I am committed to educating the public on the plight of frogs!

Save All Frogs - Matt Ellerbeck
 

06/28/18

Salamander from the Rainforest painted on Catch Basin

Update from the corner of Bleecker Street and Central Avenue in Jersey City Heights!

 

Jersey City’s adopt a catch basin program is thriving! It’s very simple. Sign up to take care of a catch basin (storm drain) and the City of Jersey City will assign an artist to paint something original for you. It’s a win-win situation! The city receives help from the public to keep these drains clear of garbage and snow/ice in the winter and we get beautiful artwork that passers by admire. In addition, because they are of an environmental nature, it helps remind the public to keep the streets clean.

Swati Rastogi and Susan Newman salamander catch basin jersey city heights

Last year I noticed a beautiful artwork done by artist Swati Rastogi and requested her as the artist for my second corner (opposite last year’s frog). I was so excited when she contacted me this week because it was time for her to paint the corner.

Here’s what Swati wrote about this project:

“I never knew what a Salamander was until I was asked by the city to paint one at the corner of Central Avenue & Bleecker Street in Jersey City.

Susan Newman who adopted this catch basin has proudly named it “Biodiversity Matters” and is actively letting the residents know about the program.

Honestly this “adopt a catch basin” campaign is making the city much more vibrant and creating awareness for how important it is to keep the sewers clean.

Thank you for choosing me as your artist!.”

– Swati Rastogi

 

I wrote about this program last year in greater detail, so check out the article about the program and why it’s so important.

Adopt a Catch Basin Frog Art

04/22/18

Protecting Amphibians Through Correct Silvicultural Practices

Recent findings indicate that frogs could be going the way of the dinosaurs. Studies by scientists from the US Geological Survey (USGS) depicted that the number of amphibians is shrinking by an average rate of 3.7% yearly. Despite environmentalists championing for the protection of frogs, hosting amphibian themed art exhibitions and releasing publications to educate, among many other efforts, there is still a significant decline in the number of amphibians, especially frogs. Blame pollution, diseases, climate change and more importantly incessant deforestation.

Protecting amphibians and frogs through the correct silvicultural activities in forests helps in ensuring their continuity. While tree harvesting is essential for electricity poles, fuel, the paper industry, and construction, it should not be done in a way that it leads to the loss of amphibian habitats.

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

The Right Pruning Tools

In forest activities such as pruning, trimming, and the harvesting of firewood, chainsaws are preferably the best tools. Why? Unlike harvesters which fell many trees at a time, chainsaws cut down one tree at a time. This ensures animal habitats are not destroyed during the operation and that seedlings and saplings are protected. These machines are portable making pruning among other activities in various locations easier.

While chainsaws come in different sizes, small chainsaws are preferably the best, especially chainsaws powered by a lithium-Ion battery. These particular type of chainsaws are eco-friendly since they don’t release noxious fumes into the atmosphere when pruning or trimming trees. Furthermore, they don’t cause noise pollution and can be operated easily since they are not heavy. However, when operating a chainsaw it is very important to have the knowledge on how to operate one safely. Other brilliant tools you can use when pruning a tree post include loppers and pole pruners.

Correct Pruning

Pruning is done to remove any overgrown tree branches, stems, and any deformed tree parts. When pruning is done in the correct manner it results in high-quality timber which directly reflects on value and price. Correct pruning, according to A-Absolute Tree Services, involves making sure that a third of the living branches are left after pruning. Right timing on when to prune is critical especially if the area to be pruned is a wildlife shelter. Furthermore, it should be done in a proper way such that the game cover is not destroyed.

Recommended Pruning Techniques

Target pruning is one the best methods of pruning, as stated by Research Gate, since one is able to leave tree parts intact and minimize bole’s tissue damage. Canopy pruning is another recommended pruning technique as it enables light penetration. This allows for the growth of grasses and other plants and this encourages survival of amphibians and frogs. During pruning, the windward side should be taken into consideration as amphibians especially frogs which breathe through their skin, could be easily affected by debris-carrying wind.

Utility Poles

In the United States, most utility poles are made of wood, despite the emergence of steel utility poles. This is because wood is a good insulator and is relatively cheap due to the high availability of trees. Among the trees popularly used are red cedars, Southern yellow pines, and Western yellow pines as they produce straight poles. Poles are selected while still standing in the forest, then the felling process begins.

Most of the times the right procedures and techniques are not used in this process. Unfortunately, flush cutting is observed on pruned trees that are meant for utility poles. Tree topping is also another wrong technique that not only gives an ugly view of the forest but also, has zero considerations for potential wildlife habitats. If the right equipment is not used, the forest environment could be adversely affected. This is why knowledge on the right way of pruning and harvesting trees is key, especially with the high demand for poles and timber.

Amphibians and reptiles make the environment greener. They help in natural pest control and act as food for other wildlife. The contribution of frogs to modern medicine is another reason why frogs are so important. With the above-given statistics, it is evident that more needs to be done in order to care of and protect them. Proper environmental care, especially in the forest, and curbing pollution will go a long way in preserving these species for generations to come.

Written and researched by Jennifer Dawson

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.