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

01/28/18

Winners of the 2017 Kids Art Contest

Announcing the Winners of the Frogs Are Green 2017 Kids Art Contest!

We want to thank all the students, teachers, and parents from across the United States and around the world! We are proud to reach more countries each year and 2017 includes entries from over 30 countries and half the states in the USA.

In addition, children continue to show their creativity and inspiration, encouraging us to protect the environment and the biodiversity of life!

Thanks to our Judges (Devin Edmonds, Beverly D’Andrea, Jerome China, John Dunstan, Gaye Dunstan, and Sam Pesin) who I’m sure had a rough time choosing! Bravo to all the winners. (Wait for images to load).

Contact us to receive your winners certificate via email. 1st Place winners in age groups only should email us their mailing address to receive prizes.

Download a participation certificate here: Frogs Are Green 2017 Kids Art Contest Certificate

– Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green

__________________________________________________

2017 Winners based on Age Groups

WINNERS – Age Group 3-6

Paulus Ong Jr., 4.5 years old, Jakarta, Indonesia

Paulus Ong Jr., 4.5 years old, Jakarta, Indonesia

Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 years old, Turkey

Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 years old, Turkey

Minh Khanh Truong, 6 years old, Vietnam

Minh Khanh Truong, 6 years old, Vietnam

Chakshana Thilakarathne, 5 years old, Sri Lanka

Chakshana Thilakarathne, 5 years old, Sri Lanka

Sanuka Basnayake, 6 years old, Sri Lanka. Frogs Harmony

Sanuka Basnayake, 6 years old, Sri Lanka. Frogs Harmony

Susanna Simon Almeida, 6 years old, India

Susanna Simon Almeida, 6 years old, India

Lithika Adigopula, 6 years old, Jersey City, USA

Lithika Adigopula, 6 years old, Jersey City, USA

1-Paulus Ong Jr, 4,5 years old, Jakarta Indonesia thumbnail
2-Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 years old, Turkey thumbnail
3-Minh Khanh Truong, 6 years old, Vietnam thumbnail
Chakshana Thilakarathne ,5 years old ,sri lanka thumbnail
Sanuka Basnayake, 6 years old, Sri Lanka. Frogs Harmony thumbnail
Susanna Simon Almeida, 6 years old, India thumbnail
Lithika Adigopula, 6 years old, Jersey City, USA thumbnail

WINNERS – Age Group 7-9

Lynn Sun, 9 years old, NJ, USA

Lynn Sun, 9 years old, NJ, USA

Rachel Paulus, 9 years old, Florida, USA

Rachel Paulus, 9 years old, Florida, USA

Md Matin Bin Md Zulkarnain, 7 years old, Singapore

Md Matin Bin Md Zulkarnain, 7 years old, Singapore

Mina Buyukgonenc, 9 years old, Turkey

Mina Buyukgonenc, 9 years old, Turkey

Ritvik Patra, 9 years old, CA, 3D frogs

Ritvik Patra, 9 years old, CA, 3D frogs

Viara Pencheva, 8 years old, Bulgaria, Crocodile and Frogs

Viara Pencheva, 8 years old, Bulgaria, Crocodile and Frogs

1-Lynn Sun, 9 yrs old, NJ, USA thumbnail
2-Rachel Paulus, 9 yrs old, Florida, USA thumbnail
3-Red eye Tree Frog, By Md Matin Bin Md Zulkarnain, Age 7, SINGAPORE thumbnail
Mina-Buyukgonenc-9-yrs-old-Turkey thumbnail
Ritvik Patra, 9 years old, CA, 3D frogs thumbnail
VIARA PENCHEVA, 8 years old, Bulgaria, Crocodile and Frogs thumbnail

WINNERS – Age Group 10-12

Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Viktoriya Kukarekina, 10, Texas, USA

Viktoriya Kukarekina, 10, Texas, USA

K Chathushka Jeewantha Perera, 12 yrs old, Sri Lanka

K Chathushka Jeewantha Perera, 12 yrs old, Sri Lanka

Defne Akkaya, 11 years old, Turkey

Defne Akkaya, 11 years old, Turkey

U. K. Samadhi Anjanaa, 12 years old, Sri Lanka. Sampath Rekha International Art Academy

U. K. Samadhi Anjanaa, 12 years old, Sri Lanka. Sampath Rekha International Art Academy

Luniva Joshi, age 12, MS4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Luniva Joshi, age 12, MS4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Eylem Konuklar, 10 yrs old, Turkey

Eylem Konuklar, 10 yrs old, Turkey

Seah Hong, 10 years old, CA, USA

Seah Hong, 10 years old, CA, USA

1-Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
2-Viktoriya Kukarekina, 10, Texas, USA thumbnail
3-K-Chathushka-Jeewantha-Perera-12-yrs-old-Sri-Lanka thumbnail
Defne Akkaya -11 years old, Turkey thumbnail
U. K. Samadhi Anjanaa, 12 years old, Sri Lanka. Sampath Rekha International Art Academy thumbnail
Luniva Joshi, age 12, MS4, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
Eylem Konuklar, 10 yrs old, Turkey thumbnail
Seah Hong, 10 years old, CA, USA thumbnail

WINNERS – Age Group 13-17

Gegea Bianca, 15 years old, Romania

Gegea Bianca, 15 years old, Romania

Richard Alicea, 17 years old, Liberty HS, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Richard Alicea, 17 years old, Liberty HS, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Tanvi Gadre, 13 years old, India

Tanvi Gadre, 13 years old, India

Fatemeh Tabrizi, 16 years old, Iran

Fatemeh Tabrizi, 16 years old, Iran

Antariksha Sethiya, 14 years old, India

Antariksha Sethiya, 14 years old, India

Vanessa Gong, 13 yrs old, USA

Vanessa Gong, 13 yrs old, USA

1-Gegea Bianca, 15, Romania thumbnail
2-Richard Alicea 17, Liberty High School, Jersey City, Nj, USA thumbnail
Tanvi-Gadre-13-India thumbnail
Fatemeh Tabrizi, 16 years old, Iran thumbnail
ANTARIKSHA SETHIYA, 14 years old, India thumbnail
Vanessa Gong, 13 yrs old, USA thumbnail

Specialty Categories:

WINNERS – Best of China

Lau Yat Hei, 5 years old, Hong Kong, China

Lau Yat Hei, 5 years old, Hong Kong, China

Ng Yin Hei, 7 years old, Hong Kong, China, School of Creativity

Ng Yin Hei, 7 years old, Hong Kong, China, School of Creativity

Chan Po Chi Angelo, 4 years old, Hong Kong, China, School of Creativity

Chan Po Chi Angelo, 4 years old, Hong Kong, China, School of Creativity

Chau Tse Yin Celine, 4 years old, Hong Kong, China, School of Creativity

Chau Tse Yin Celine, 4 years old, Hong Kong, China, School of Creativity

1-Lau Yat Hei, 5 yrs old, Hong Kong China thumbnail
2-NG-YIN-HEI-7-yrs-old-Hong-Kong-China-School-of-Creativity thumbnail
3-CHAN PO CHI ANGELO, 4 years old, FROM SCHOOL OF CREATIVITY, HONG KONG, CHINA thumbnail
4-CHAU-TSE-YIN-CELINE-4-yrs-old-Hong-Kong-China-School-of-Creativity thumbnail

WINNERS – Best of Turkey

Elcin Sefer, 13 years old, Turkey

Elcin Sefer, 13 years old, Turkey

Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 years old, Turkey

Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 years old, Turkey

Ceren Gunaydin, 9 yrs old, Turkey

Ceren Gunaydin, 9 yrs old, Turkey

Kaya Yuzseven, 12 yrs old, Turkey

Kaya Yuzseven, 12 yrs old, Turkey

Aysel Nur Akar, 8 yrs old, Turkey

Aysel Nur Akar, 8 yrs old, Turkey

1-Elcin Sefer, 13, Turkey thumbnail
2-Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 years old, Turkey thumbnail
3-Ceren Gunaydin, 9 yrs old, Turkey thumbnail
4-Kaya Yuzseven, 12 yrs old, Turkey thumbnail
5-Aysel Nur Akar, 8 yrs old, Turkey thumbnail

WINNERS – Best of Jersey City

Shrushti Chavan, 12 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Shrushti Chavan, 12 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Vibha Jain, 7 years old, Jersey City, NJ

Vibha Jain, 7 years old, Jersey City, NJ

John Rama, 17 years old, Liberty HS, Jersey City, NJ, USA

John Rama, 17 years old, Liberty HS, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Misally Dillard, 17 years old, Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Misally Dillard, 17 years old, Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

1-Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
2-Vibha Jain, 7 years old, Jersey City, NJ thumbnail
3-John Rama 17, Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
Misally Dillard, 17 Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail

WINNERS – Best of Hoboken

Margaret K, 7 yrs old, Wallace School, Hoboken, NJ USA

Margaret K, 7 yrs old, Wallace School, Hoboken, NJ USA

Mickael Silvestre, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Mickael Silvestre, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Beatrice Holder, 7 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Beatrice Holder, 7 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Molly Lamb, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Molly Lamb, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Penelope Sprague, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

Penelope Sprague, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017

1-Margaret-K-7-yrs-old-Wallace-School-Hoboken-NJ-USA thumbnail
2-Mickael Silvestre, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017 thumbnail
3-Beatrice Holder, 7 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017 thumbnail
Molly Lamb, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017 thumbnail
Penelope Sprague, 6 years old, Wallace Elementary, Hoboken, NJ, USA 2017 thumbnail

WINNERS – Best 3D Art

Ritvik Patra, 9 years old, CA, 3D frogs

Ritvik Patra, 9 years old, CA, 3D frogs

Leyla Zehebi, 13 years old, Turkey

Leyla Zehebi, 13 years old, Turkey

Bartek Burda, 12 years old, Scotland Polish Saturday Primary School

Bartek Burda, 12 years old, Scotland Polish Saturday Primary School

Olek Zoblunda, 4 years old, Scotland Polish Saturday Primary School

Olek Zoblunda, 4 years old, Scotland Polish Saturday Primary School

Thanumi De Silva (3 Years old) & Upali Gunasekara (57 Years old), Sri Lanka

Thanumi De Silva (3 Years old) & Upali Gunasekara (57 Years old), Sri Lanka. (We included this child/elder project).

1-Ritvik Patra, 9 years old, CA, 3D frogs thumbnail
2-Leyla-Zehebi-13-years-old-Turkey thumbnail
3-Bartek-Burda-12-years-old-Scotland-Polish-Saturday-Primary-School thumbnail
Olek-Zoblunda-4-years-old-Scotland-Polish-Saturday-Primary-School thumbnail
Thanumi De Silva (3 Years old) & Upali Gunasekara (57 Years old), Sri Lanka thumbnail

WINNERS – Best Environmental

Ansh Gupta, 15 years old, Edison, New Jersey

Ansh Gupta, 15 years old, Edison, New Jersey

Sharanya Sharma, 10 years old, India

Sharanya Sharma, 10 years old, India

Luniva Joshi, age 12, MS4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Luniva Joshi, age 12, MS4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Stop Pollution by Arnav Gandhi, 11 years old, India

Stop Pollution by Arnav Gandhi, 11 years old, India

Varnika Pujari, 5 years old, Jersey City, NJ

Varnika Pujari, 5 years old, Jersey City, NJ

1-Ansh Gupta, 15, Edison, New Jersey thumbnail
2-Sharanya Sharma, 10 years old, India thumbnail
3-Luniva Joshi, age 12, MS4, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
4-Stop Pollution by Arnav Gandhi, 11 years old, India thumbnail
5-Varnika Pujari, 5 years old, Jersey City, NJ thumbnail

WINNERS – Best Typographic

Lynn Sun, 9 years old, New Jersey, USA

Lynn Sun, 9 years old, New Jersey, USA

Muneeb Alam, 13 years old, Jersey City, NJ

Muneeb Alam, 13 years old, Jersey City, NJ

Anagha Chimmalagi, 6 years old, New Jersey, USA

Anagha Chimmalagi, 6 years old, New Jersey, USA

Ceren Gunaydin, 9 yrs old, Turkey

Ceren Gunaydin, 9 yrs old, Turkey

Miriam Kimani, age 12, MS #4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Miriam Kimani, age 12, MS #4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

1-Lynn Sun, 9 yrs old, NJ, USA thumbnail
2-Muneeb Alam, 13 years old, Jersey City, NJ thumbnail
3-Anagha Chimmalagi, 6 years old, New Jersey, USA thumbnail
4-Ceren Gunaydin, 9 yrs old, Turkey thumbnail
5-Miriam Kimani age12 MS#4 Jersey City,NJ USA thumbnail

WINNERS – Best Amphibian Art

John Rama 17, Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

John Rama 17, Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Claire Lee, 10 years old, CA, environmental

Claire Lee, 10 years old, CA, environmental

Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Claire Kim, 9 years old, CA, USA

Claire Kim, 9 years old, CA, USA

Priya Neil, 16 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Priya Neil, 16 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Sarah Sheik, 9 yrs old, Jersey City, NJ

Sarah Sheik, 9 yrs old, Jersey City, NJ

Tanvi Gadre, 13 years old, India

Tanvi Gadre, 13 years old, India

1-John Rama 17, Liberty High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
2-Claire Lee, 10 years old, CA environmental thumbnail
3-Shrushti Chavan, 12, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
4-Claire Kim, 9 years old, CA, USA thumbnail
5-Priya Neil, 16 years old, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
6-Sarah Sheik, 9 yrs old, Jersey City, NJ thumbnail
7-Tanvi Gadre, 13, India thumbnail

WINNERS – Best Reptile Art

Yanbo Feng, age 14, United States, Michigan, USA

Yanbo Feng, age 14, United States, Michigan, USA

Rachel Paulus, 9 yrs old, Florida, USA

Rachel Paulus, 9 yrs old, Florida, USA

Elcin Sefer, 13 years old, Turkey

Elcin Sefer, 13 years old, Turkey

Aneira Pereira, 13 years old, United Arab Emirates

Aneira Pereira, 13 years old, United Arab Emirates

Janna Gapuz, 15 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Janna Gapuz, 15 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Vibha Jain, 7 years old, Jersey City, NJ

Vibha Jain, 7 years old, Jersey City, NJ

1-Yanbo Feng, age 14, United States, Michigan thumbnail
2-Rachel Paulus, 9 yrs old, Florida, USA thumbnail
3-Elcin Sefer, 13, Turkey thumbnail
4-ANEIRA PEREIRA, Age 13, UNITES ARAB EMIRATES thumbnail
5-Janna Gapuz 15 McNair Academic High School thumbnail
6-Vibha Jain, 7 years old, Jersey City, NJ thumbnail

WINNERS – Best Black and White Art

Giwoo Kim, 14 years old, California, USA

Giwoo Kim, 14 years old, California, USA

Tanvi Gadre, 13 years old, India

Tanvi Gadre, 13 years old, India

Justin Tan Chi Yang,11yrs old,SJK(C) Sin Min A,Sungai Petani Kedah Malaysia

Justin Tan Chi Yang,11yrs old,SJK(C) Sin Min A,Sungai Petani Kedah Malaysia

Luniva Joshi, 12 years old, MS #4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Luniva Joshi, 12 years old, MS #4, Jersey City, NJ, USA

Vitomir Certic, 14 years old, Serbia

Vitomir Certic, 14 years old, Serbia

1-Giwoo Kim, 14 years old, CA thumbnail
2-Tanvi Gadre, 13, India thumbnail
3-Justin Tan Chi Yang,11yrs old,SJK(C) Sin Min A,Sungai Petani Kedah Malaysia thumbnail
4-Luniva Joshi, 12 years old, MS #4, Jersey City, NJ, USA thumbnail
5-Vitomir Certic, 14 years old, Serbia thumbnail
04/27/16

The Bully of All Toads

Currently in Madagascar there is a bully. But, this is not your typical bully. This bully is the Asian toad, also known as Duttaphrynus melanostictus. The toads are threatening rare wildlife and frightening locals.

Madagascar provides a niche-like haven for these primarily lowland dwelling toads. Photo © Arthur Chapman Courtesy of Amphibians.org - Amphibian Survival Alliance.

Madagascar provides a niche-like haven for these primarily lowland dwelling toads. Photo © Arthur Chapman Courtesy of Amphibians.org – Amphibian Survival Alliance.

The theory on how they got to Madagascar is that they hitched a ride in some shipping containers from Asia between 2007 -2010. While Madagascar doesn’t have native toads, people who saw these bullies roaming knew something was wrong. And still no one knows why they have decided to make Madagascar their new home.

These toads are endangering locals, harming snakes, lemurs and exotic animals that are unique to the island. If they feed off these toads they will be poisoned, since these toads are known to be very poisonous. Smaller animals can shrink in size and as species, become extinct.

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone.

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone.

Scientists are still trying to come up with ideas on how to get rid of these toads and such measures wouldn’t be horribly expensive. It would cost about $2 million to $10 million (the effort would need only a wealthy backer from the West) — but that’s really just a guess. No one knows exactly where the toads are or precisely how many are in Madagascar. There’s no easy way to find them, and there’s no quick method of dispatching them, at least not in the numbers necessary for eradication.

And then there’s the fact that no one has tried to remove invasive toads on such a scale before. There have been three successful removal projects, but they were all in much smaller areas.

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone, close up

Asian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar by Franco Andreone, close up.

So it looks like eradication won’t be possible, the scientists conclude, at least without a lot more research that would let managers and the government overcome many hurdles. And by that time, the toads will probably have become so numerous that, like in Australia, any such efforts would be impossible.

 
Leight-Ann BradyGuest post by Leigh-Ann Brady, who resides in NJ with her 8 year son. She is an artist and writer who is also concerned about the environment.

06/9/15

Lemur Conservation Network – Eco Interview with Lynne Venart

When was your organization founded? Please tell us a bit about its mission, goals…

We are a very new organization; we began social media in December 2014, and just launched our website in February 2015! The website launch marked the one year anniversary of the lemur action plan, published in the journal Science. This action plan was authored by over 100 international primatologists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, and targets 30 priority sites across Madagascar with urgent conservation strategies aimed to save lemurs from extinction. The plan was developed by the key minds in lemur conservation, but it has yet to be fully funded.

That’s where the Lemur Conservation Network comes in. We formed to raise awareness about the importance of lemur conservation, and to encourage everyone to help. Our network unites over 40 organizations working on the ground in Madagascar to protect the land and its unique species. We aim to educate the public about Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, and urge all friends of lemurs, conservation, and the earth to support the cause and the projects in the action plan. We embrace all lemur fans, no matter your age, educational background, or location. It’s important to engage everyone who is curious about science and these fascinating creatures: we need more cheerleaders for conservation!

 Coquerel's Sifaka mom and baby in Madagascar

Coquerel’s Sifaka mom and baby in Madagascar

What is your educational background and what led to creating this organization?

I come to lemur conservation from a very different background than my colleagues at the Lemur Conservation Network, who are all PhD scientists. I have been a consultant for a variety of nonprofit organizations in branding, marketing, and web design for over 15 years.

And there is no cause I care more about than lemur conservation. I’ve been fascinated by lemurs and Madagascar for almost 20 years because of the extreme biodiversity on the island. I saw a unique need in lemur conservation for my professional skill set. A lot of people don’t know much about Madagascar or that the lemurs and other animals that inhabit it are facing an extinction crisis. A lot of people also don’t know just how cool these animals are! It can be difficult for scientists and conservation leaders to speak in a way that your average person will understand and find interesting. I bridge the gap between the science and the general public.

What are some challenges you have faced and how did you deal with them?

At first, it was difficult for our member organizations to understand what we wanted to do with the Lemur Conservation Network. In essence, we are a member organization, but we do not accept fees from our members because we want all of them to be equal, and we don’t want to take funds away from their important work on the ground in Madagascar. I think it was difficult at first for people in the field to understand that we existed because we wanted to help them by promoting their work and gaining more lemur fans who will support them.

Since I was not a known person in the field (my nonprofit consulting has been in a variety of fields like health care, education, and community engagement, but not lemur conservation), it was just so out of the blue.

It helped that, before much work had been done on the project, I gained the support of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group who published the lemur action plan. I knew it was important to have the backing of respected scientists in order to be taken seriously. They also guided the project a lot in the beginning to ensure that it would be useful for organizations on the ground. Their help was invaluable.

Black and White Ruffed Lemur in Madagascar

Black and White Ruffed Lemur in Madagascar

What can people do to help? Donate, and contribute to your cause? Other ideas?

At the Lemur Conservation Network, we recognize that we need everyone’s help to protect lemurs and their habitat! We thrive on participation.

How you can help:

  1. Support conservation in Madagascar and the lemur action plan by donating to one of our member organizations.
  2. Organize charity events in your area for us or one of our member organizations.
  3. Learn about volunteer opportunities that support conservation in Madagascar on our website.
  4. Read our blog to learn more about lemurs, life as a scientist, and more.
  5. Get inspired and tell your friends!

How do you reach your targeted audience? Is it through your website, advertising or social media or another route? Which is most effective and why?

We have an active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, where we share news about lemurs and Madagascar, publicize our blog posts, and share information about lemur science and quick facts about various lemur species. We also have a robust photo archive from our members. There are over 100 species of lemur, and tons of unique chameleons, frogs, geckos, birds, and plant species in Madagascar, so there’s a lot of material to pick from!

How do you keep the audience engaged over time?

Our blog is key in engaging our audience. We have posts from scientists working on the ground in Madagascar, but also from zookeepers, travelers, and high school students with a passion for conservation. This variety of viewpoints keeps the content fresh and appealing.

Tell us about your events around the world and some of the campaigns you have started.

Our launch party in March in Washington, DC welcomed over 150 guests. We had a ton of really fun raffle prizes, like lemur ties, handmade crafts from Madagascar, and even lemur bobbleheads! At our launch, we randomly selected two member organizations to receive donations at the event, and raised over $1,000 for them!

We also hold networking happy hours around the world. Our first was recently in Washington, DC, and we have two more scheduled for the coming months at science conferences around the world. We also recently participated in a Discover Madagascar festival in the DC area, which was attended by hundreds of Malagasy people who now live in the United States. It was great fun to share stories about lemurs and Madagascar with those native to the country.

We encourage our supporters to hold fundraising events where they live as well. One of our bloggers recently raised over £1000 at a charity race in the UK supporting one of our members, the Aspinall Foundation. There is interest in the London area to begin holding more fundraising events.

What is in the works for the future? What haven’t you yet tackled, but will want to do soon?

We are currently building up educational resources on the unique species of Madagascar, and have a couple of other educational webinars in the works. It’s important to spread our enthusiasm about lemurs and Madagascar to everyone, young and old!

We are also building an in-language Malagasy version of the website, so we can better reach the community in Madagascar.

We are a very new organization, but we have received a ton of support from all over the world. We are blown away by what we have accomplished in just a few short months. We hope to keep the enthusiasm going, and to continue to build up the lemur fan base. Lemurs rock!

Lynne Venart, Project Manager & Creative Director, Lemur Conservation Network

Lynne Venart, Project Manager & Creative Director, Lemur Conservation Network

***A podcast with Lynne Venart, interviewed by Susan Newman (Suzy Brandtastic), is coming very soon.***

Contact Info:

Website: www.lemurconservationnetwork.org
Support Conservation on the Ground in Madagascar: http://lemurconservationnetwork.org/support-conservation/
Blog: http://lemurconservationnetwork.org/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lemurconservationnetwork
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LemurNetwork

06/4/15

DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015

GIORNATE DEL MADAGASCAR 2015 / DAYS OF MADAGASCAR 2015
The island of Marco Polo

June 12 and 13, 2015
Venice, Museum of Natural History

Isolated from Africa to many tens of millions of years, Madagascar has developed its own peculiar fauna and flora, dramatically different from that of other land masses, near and far.

Similarly colonization by man, which took place on a massive scale only for two thousand years, has seen the mix of elements Africans, Asians, Arabs and Europeans who have forged a culture of “metissage” composed of no less than 18 ethnic groups each with its particular history and traditions, have in common the basic language of Indonesian origin and the cult of the dead, called “famadihana”.

Unfortunately Madagascar is also a land of great contrasts, with widespread problems of social and economic. The days that pay special attention to aspects concerning the natural wealth and cultural diversity of this island, home to the intervention of researchers that deal with biodiversity and personnel working in health, showing how much Italy is engaged in this country.

In collaboration with the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali) of Turin and the Association “Malagasy Miray.”

Amphibian courtesy of Franco Andreone

Video below: Interview of Franco Andreone (herpetologist) at Andriamanero, Isalo National Park.

This video is in Italian: #madagascarexpedition2013: Betampona Rainforest
 


 

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION OF THE INITIATIVE (.ppt 12.3 MB) >>>

PROGRAM

Friday, June 12, 2015 20.30 – Cinema Giorgione

Screening of the film in English “Island of lemurs in Madagascar” by David Douglas and Drew Fellman, with narrated by Morgan Freeman and with Patricia Wright

Introduction and presentation of: Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)

Entrance to the Cinema Giorgione free until all available seats

Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Natural History Museum

10.30 Welcome and opening of the day
Gabriella Belli (Director Civic Museums Foundation of Venice)
Paola Casagrande (Director of the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin) Randrianantoandro Solofo Theophile (Minister Counsellor Embassy of Madagascar)

Franco Andreone (Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin)
Madagascar: stories from a biodiverse land biodiverse

Giuseppe Donati (Oxford Brookes University)
Survive the next day: the lesson of lemurs

15:00

Riccardo Bononi (IRFOSS Padua)
Life, death and disease in the ancestor worship

Italian volunteers in Madagascar
Friends Amici di Jangany
The Italian volunteer in MadagascarVolontari Italiani in Madagascar

Olga del Madagascar
Culture, nature and music: songs taken from ‘album “Ma nature”

Tasting The with Malagasy vanilla

Hours 10:00 to 18:00 – Gallery of Cetaceans

Photo exhibition “Madagasikara” by Franco Andreone: throughout the day and until August 2, 2015 will be exhibited suggestive images dedicated to the nature, history and traditions of Madagascar.

Information points: voluntary associations will be on hand to talk about their experience in Madagascar

WORKSHOPS:
appointment until all available seats

Hours 10:30 to 12:00 and 15:30 to 17:00
Children aged 7 to 11 years

“The nature of the island”, edited by Coop. Silty
“Sounds and rhythms of Madagascar”, edited by Olga del Madagascar:

10:15, 11:30, 15:00, 16:15
For children 4 to 6 years accompanied by their parents

“The chameleon says narrates, animal stories and legends of Madagascar” by Barchetta Blu

INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS:

The day is free entry until all the places available, except for laboratories that require an admission ticket to the museum (free for residents and people born in Venice, upon presentation of a photo ID).

To book workshops call 041 2750206

The photo exhibition will be open for free only on the occasion of this day and until August 2, 2015 is required to be in possession of a ticket to the museum.

 

Information shared by:

Franco Andreone
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali
Via G. Giolitti, 36
I-10123 TORINO – ITALY
website www.francoandreone.it
Facebook www.facebook.com/franco.andreone
Twitter @francoandreone
Youtube Betampona
Youtube Isalo

04/5/15

How Awareness Really Catches Fire

The phone is ringing and a friend is excited to tell me there’s a discussion about frogs right now on WNYC radio. Robin Moore, the author and photographer of “In Search of Lost Frogs,” is being interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show (The Conservation Efforts Trying to Keep Frogs From Going Extinct). At the same moment, a Jersey City colleague is emailing me about the same thing and writes that she’s left a comment about Frogs Are Green and our kids frog art project on WNYC’s website.

During the interview they discuss many of the issues that frogs face today, including the deadly Chytrid Fungus and climate change. One caller asks about the drought situation in California and its toll on frogs. They also talk about how many frog species have gone extinct in the wild and at the same time new species are being discovered, as close as New York. They also talk about how important the medical research is as they test the poisonous skin of dart frogs.

dart frog by devin edmonds

Dart Frog courtesy of Devin Edmonds

Almost every day, Facebook friends post on my timeline or the Frogs Are Green page, or Tweet at us about frogs and/or the environment.

I’m sharing this because it was six years ago this May that I founded Frogs Are Green, and so many people laughed at this cause. They’d say, “Frogs? … Who’s going to care about frogs?”

I’m happy to tell you that in six years we have reached over a million people. Each month we have 13,000 visitors who look at more than 32,000 pages, which gives us an amazing bounce rate of 1.8 %. Yes, that is not a misprint, we have a 1.8% bounce rate. These stats have been holding steady for years and are again on the rise.

We didn’t used to post on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn (groups) and Twitter every day, but in 2014 we made a commitment to do so and reach more people than ever.

As the above story shows, our mission is working. Awareness really begins to catch fire when others know you so well that they support and advance your campaign goals without hesitation.

It all comes from zeroing in on a niche and being consistent by sharing every day. By being “top of mind” on a particular thing that’s so different, so unique, they just see frogs and think of Frogs Are Green.

10 Tips for building your nonprofit’s awareness and following

  • Make sure that your website (the nucleus of your online presence) is 100% on target in expressing your mission and goals. On your homepage be brief and entice, don’t overwhelm with too many calls to action. Make sure your brand and mission are crystal clear. Be sure you are blogging and/or adding new, valuable content consistently.
  • Be sure when you blog, post, or tweet, you are adding an appropriate and eye-catching photo that will prompt others to share it, not just “like” it.
  • Be sure you are using #hashtags but don’t go crazy with them, lest no one will see or read your post… (I see this a lot on Instagram; so many hashtags I can’t find the message!)
  • Don’t try to sell all the time with posts/tweets about buying products, classes or donating to your cause. Once in a while is all right, but you will really build your audience by sharing significant information. As they move around your website reading articles they will come to respect your efforts and just may click that donate button on their own.
  • Your “competition” organization is your friend. Remember, you are both trying to help others, save wildlife and the environment, and so those that follow those other organizations may follow you too! Be kind and retweet.
  • If you are planning to boost or advertise, make sure you are being selective about the information and target audience. Do your homework and know where your target is, both online or offline.
  • Remember that your target audience can be in many different places. Be sure to review your Google Analytics each week and identify if what you are doing is working. For example, if you are spending most of your social media time on Facebook but when you look at your stats you have more people visiting your site from Twitter, you should tweet more often than you are!
  • People consume content in many different ways, so be sure you are creating video for YouTube, audio for Podcasting, Powerpoint (for Slideshare or LinkedIn), photo galleries on Flickr, Pinterest and Facebook, blog posts that can embed these other media files, graphic images, and more… (and then share across social sites).
  • When you have new media to share, don’t post on every social site at the same time and then not post for a week until the next post. Schedule different places each day so your content is circulating all the time.
  • Be sure to alert the local media about events and other important news so that they can write about you. If you don’t tell them yourself, how do you expect them to know? Publicity helps awareness and begets more publicity.

Frogs Are Green was fortunate to interview Robin Moore on a podcast also. Listen here >> Robin Moore