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:

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



City of Trees: Shop Window Painting on Central Avenue

The Jersey City Parks Coalition, Frogs Are Green, Jersey City Board of Education and the Central Avenue Special Improvement District invite you to take a stroll down Central Avenue on May 26th, 2016 as 110 Jersey City students paint their vision of “City of Trees” on storefront windows. Each student will have a designated boxed space on a shop window in which to replicate their sketch. The artwork should remain up for a few weeks, so all can see and be inspired to learn more.

A few weeks ago Jersey City students answered the call to participate in the “City of Trees” initiative and over 110 students from 10 different schools submitted their artworks which are currently in an online gallery. Now we’re taking those visions to the Jersey City Heights community.


We wish to thank Ann Marley, District Supervisor, Art Programs, Jersey City and the Jersey City Board of Education’s students for participating.


Martina Gebrail of PS 23, Jersey City

City of Trees artwork by Martina Gebrail of PS 23, 8th Grade, Jersey City

After the success of last Fall’s Halloween window painting event by the CASID, which brought out over 100 students and Central Avenue businesses embraced, we’re bringing this outdoor window painting back for an important environmental cause.


A bit of history that inspired this project:

Did you know that the Jersey City tree canopy is at severely low levels?

The City of Trees initiative is our response to the tree canopy study conducted by the Jersey City Environmental Commission, which found that the JC tree canopy is currently at 17%. (The national average is 40% for a mid-sized city.)

City of Trees - logo design by Susan Newman for Jersey City Parks Coalition

City of Trees – logo design by Susan Newman for Jersey City Parks Coalition

The City of Trees initiative promotes healthy trees by educating residents and increasing their role in the care of the City’s trees. Through training workshops, volunteers can become part of our citywide “Tree Lovers Crew” (TLC) and share the responsibility to plant and care for trees in their neighborhoods. Since 2005, the Parks Coalition has empowered residents and volunteers to get involved in greening projects, resulting in healthier and more sustainable communities throughout the City. Beginning with three member parks, the Jersey City Parks Coalition has grown to more than 20 community and parks groups that maintain, beautify and organize programs and activities for their parks and surrounding neighborhoods. The coalition believes in protecting and increasing the care for our precious open spaces. “There is no better tool to bring about change in your neighborhoods than through parks and green initiatives. We’ve learned this over and over again. Our parks are at the center of change.” says Mory Thomas, Vice President of the JCPC.


7 Garden Maintenance Tips in Autumn

watering garden

As Autumn approaches in Melbourne, many householders are starting to prepare their gardens for the colder months and taking care of the little jobs that may have passed them by. The season plays an important role in how well your plants, trees and foliage will do during the winter time, so with 7 simple preparation tips, you can have a clean, lush and bumper garden before the cold weather kicks in.

1. Have a good clear out of your garden

racking leaves in garden

One of the best ways to prepare your garden for Autumn is to clean your garden of any leaves or tree branches that may have built up over the last few months. Autumn is a great time to start to clear out the main base of your garden, allowing you to see and tend to flowers of shrubs in the winter. If you have lots of items to remove, why not start your garden waste removal with the help of a skip bin hire company to handle the majority of the heavy lifting.

2. Maintain your lawn
mowing the lawn

Lawn and garden maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult, as with the right tools and the right approach you can enjoy a lush and green garden all year round. Instead of waiting until the grass is a little too long, why not get the mower out and keep it at the height you best prefer. That way the grass will be at full health and you will minimise the risk of seeing bald patches as the old grass is left covering the newer turf.

3. Clean up your borders

trimming hedges and bushes

Tidying up your borders is a great way to have your garden looking fresh and in top shape. Clear out any foliage that shouldn’t be there and inspect the soil accordingly. If you have any plants that you feel are poorly placed, autumn is the perfect time to get in there and replant them. If any perennials have faded slightly, cut them back to around 5cm to provide them the best health over the coming months.

4. Start your compost harvest


If you have any deciduous trees that are in or overhang your garden, don’t worry about all of the leaves that have fallen and start a leaf mould to add to your compost. The leaves make amazing quality compost in a year or two, so store away all you can and you will have your very own compost to recycle in your garden.

5. The best time to plant evergreen

planting evergreen

Autumn is the best time to plant evergreen varieties due to the soil being still warm and with ever so slightly cooler weather. This greenery makes up the backbone of any quality garden, providing the green backdrop that many gardeners aim for. Plant your evergreen varieties in a way that brings bulk to your shrub borders and adds colour and depth to your main focal point plants.

6. Lift out timid species before the frost
lift out fragile plants in autumn

Autumn is the time when you will need to lift out your most fragile plants such as Dahlias or Begonias and place them into storage in a cool and dry place. Use sand or compost to keep them healthy and ensure that you replant them when spring arrives the coming year. Ensure they are fully covered with just the crowns visible to keep them healthy and happy.

7. Take care of your gardening tools

take care of gardening tools

Autumn is a great time of the year to ensure your gardening equipment is well maintained and in good working order. If you need to purchase replacement tools, check out your local garden hardware store to see if they have anything new and exciting in stock. Oil and clean any motorised equipment you might have, and get yourself ready for the busier months to come!

If you feel that gardening in Autumn is a little too much to handle all by yourself, why not hire a garden waste removal company that allows you to clear out your garden of foliage, branches, cut grass and soil and create for yourself a fresh and bright new garden. Simply have the skip bin delivered at a time of your choosing, fill it up and call for removal for a weekends work, your garden can get a full makeover.



The Perfect Pond for You and the Environment

Garden’s say a lot about their owners. You can see a reflection of the owner’s personality in how their garden is presented. If you see a garden that is frequently maintained and full of life and colour it’s more likely that the owner is a keen gardener, or maybe just has the time to dedicate towards the garden’s maintenance. If you see a garden that is lost and overgrown, then a sense of organisation may spring to mind. The overall look of a garden can also determine the way people look at a house as a whole. The garden is a key element in the overall image and it’s vital to make sure your garden gives viewers the message you wish them to receive. There are so many ways in which you can make your garden stand out amongst the rest, and a perfect way is to add features that are different and exciting. Ponds are a traditional feature that have been around for years. Many people look at ponds and instantly say no to the idea simply because they think that they are more trouble than they’re worth. What people don’t realise is that ponds are actually very useful for pest management, wildlife sanctuaries and also just look great in your garden. They’re easy to maintain and cost efficient, too. There are many different types of ponds you can choose from to ensure you get the perfect pond for your garden.

garden pond lush green and beautiful

When deciding on the type of pond you wish to go for, think about whether you want your pond to be in ground, above ground or partly in ground. Your decision should depend entirely on your garden and what will suit it best. If you have children you may also wish to consider an above ground pond, as this eliminates the risk of anybody falling in or going for a quick swim with the fish. Having an above ground pond also enables you to create your own display, you can use coloured tiles to surround the pond bed and grow plants around the area. Alternatively, if you wanted to go for an in ground or partly in ground pond you can consider the way in which you wish to display this, consider how you wish to contain, surround and line the pond. You can always make the decision that suits your garden type. There is no specific choice when it comes to the details of your pond design, which is another reason why they are so great.

Once you’ve decided on the type of pond you wish to go for, how you will line and contain it, and determined the size of the area, this will determine the wildlife that appears. Ponds are vital when it comes to wildlife, and you can guarantee that your pond will become the centre of attention for beautiful creatures like dragonflies, house martens, ducklings, frogs and more. You could have a range of beautiful fish living in your pond, to add a little excitement but also to encourage other wildlife to visit. Ensuring you feed them and maintain the water, keeping fish is a perfect way to make the most out of your pond, plus they’re like extra pets that you can keep checking on and watch, as they grow in your own garden.

When it comes to the maintenance of the pond there is little you need to do. You must ensure you keep on top of the weeds and algae; you will find most animals living in the pond will use these for hiding so be extra careful when weeding or cleaning these plants. You can use a net to remove excessive, such as leaves, dirt and dead flies. Removing the dead flies will however be done for you by certain animals living in or around the pond. For example, dragonflies and house martens will spend their time swooping down and removing the flies from the ponds surface, along with frogs and toads that will clear the water surface of any tasty little flies they can get hold of.

By Nikolaj Potanin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nikolaj Potanin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Finally, you can consider the overall presentation of your pond. The design of a pond is important for both appearance as well as wildlife. Designing your pond to suit your home is key. You can surround your pond with shrubbery and plants to create your own little sanctuary. Growing plants around the pond may also encourage animals to create a new habitat in the plants or water surrounding. Lighting is another great feature to consider, whether you opt for in-water lighting or lights to surround the pond, they will be a huge benefit to both your gardens aesthetic as well as the nature surrounding the pond. When fitting the lights, remember to use a weatherproof junction box to ensure that you have safe fittings and the lights are protected from any weather. Lighting will add a glamorous effect and highlight your new garden feature, making it stand out and look great. Why not add other little items such as gnomes, fairy figures or magical fantasy items. These are a little bit of fun but also add character and excitement to the pond and its surroundings.

Guest blog by Jasmine Smith.


Additional posts from Frogs Are Green on Ponds:







Protect and Save Liberty State Park

When you live in a city like Jersey City, you yearn for some open space. We’re fortunate to have Liberty State Park nearby. A beautiful park where you can ride your bicycle for miles, and see nature all around, as well as majestic views of the Statue of Liberty, skyline of Manhattan, ships coming up and down the Hudson River, and breathe some fresh air.

The park is just behind Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, and as you ride your bicycle the views continually change, each more breathtaking than the next.

I would hate to see development that doesn’t belong there, ruin such a pristine place.

Please sign the Petition to Save Liberty State Park which will tell Governor Christie that we want our park to stay just as is, so we can continue to enjoy it freely.

Susan Newman in Liberty State Park Bicycle riding

More Details via NY/NJ Baykeeper about Liberty State Park:

The governor’s recent proposals to lease public parkland to private developers for large-scale commercial projects would destroy the beloved park behind Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.

With public open space already so scarce in one of the nation’s most densely populated regions, we can’t let that happen. For forty years, overwhelming public consensus has consistently rejected exactly these kinds of commercialization and privatization efforts.

There’s a reason LSP is known as “The People’s Park” – we’ve won these battles before, and we can win again. But only with your help.

Please sign the Petition to Save Liberty State Park

#SaveLSP Liberty State park aerial view with Miss Liberty

#SaveLSP – Liberty State Park aerial view with Miss Liberty courtesy of Liberty State Park.



Winners 2015 Kids Art Contest

We want to thank all of the students, parents and teachers that helped make this year’s contest so diverse! It’s always exciting to see artwork from as close as our own Jersey City and New York, and as far away as Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Latvia, China, and many other countries. We want to thank the judges and we applaud them in choosing from a field of exceptional artworks: Sam Skolnik-Mullane, Peter Thorpe, Rachel Rommel, Monique Sarfity, Mark Lerer, Caley Vickerman, Coyote Peterson, and Carmine Tabone.

All winners receive a custom certificate based on how you placed, so email us to receive yours.

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

WINNERS by Age Group and Categories

Winners: Age Group – 3-6 years old

1st Place: Chan Yan Kiu Karstyn, 5 years old, Hong Kong, Arttra

2nd Place: Sophie Wang, 6 years old, Edison, NJ, USA

3rd Place: Kwan Sum Yu Rainie, 4 years old, Hong Kong, Arttra.

Honorable Mention: Sanjay Balaji, 6 years old, Sharron Art Center, NJ, USA

Honorable Mention: Vrishas Bolukonda, 4.6 years old, India
Caption:Help Me, Save Urselves; Think Green, Save Green

Honorable Mention: Soumya Sawant, 5 years old, Sharron Art Center, NJ USA


Winners: Age Group – 7-9 years old

1st Place: Kalisha Athaya Mahira, 7 years old, Indonesia

2nd Place: Worth Lodriga, 7 years old, The Phillipines

3rd Place: Stephanie Wang, 7 years old, New York, USA

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Tian, 9 years old, USA

Honorable Mention: Shristuti Srirapu, 9 years old, India
Caption: Give a helping hand to frogs

Honorable Mention: Angelina Wang, 8 years old, Edison, NJ, USA


Winners: Age Group – 10-12 years old

1st Place: Jonathan Qi, 12 years old, USA

2nd Place: Tanvi Gadre, 12 years old, India

3rd Place: Leon Ma, 10 years old, USA

Honorable Mention: Dhanvi Sayani, 10-12 years old, United Arab Emirates

Honorable Mention: Jason Kong, 10 Years Old, New York, USA

Honorable Mention: Emmi Lomakka, age 10, California, USA


Winners: Age Group 13-17 Years old

1st Place: Raisha Alifia Rahmani, 14 years old, Indonesia

2nd Place: Mohsen Abdalla 17 years old, USA, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor: Lisa Schwichtenberg

3rd Place: Nicole Padilla 17 years old, USA, NJ, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor Lisa Schwichtenberg

Honorable Mention: Jeanpierre Roa, 13-17 years, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, Art Specialist-Scott Mallm

Honorable mention: Eanne Chiang, 14 years old, New Jersey, USA

Honorable Mention: Parth Vora, 13-17 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, Art Specialist-Scott Mallm


Best Environmental

1st Place: Mohsen Abdalla 17 years old, USA, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor: Lisa Schwichtenberg

2nd Place: Diego Manosalves 17 years old, USA, NJ, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor: Lisa Schwichtenberg

3rd Place: Kalisha Athaya Mahira, 7 years old, Malaysia

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Qi, 12 years old, USA

Honorable Mention: Nicole Padilla 17 years old, USA, NJ, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor Lisa Schwichtenberg


Best Black and White

1st Place: Lee Xin Yee, 11 years old, School: SJKC Sin Min A, Kedah, Malaysia

2nd Place: Zaniab Ali, 12 years old, Diana Gonzalez, Art Specialist MS#4, Jersey City, NJ

3rd Place: Darius Lim Wei Chen, 9 years old, Singapore

Honorable Mention: Parthi Jain, 7 years old, Bahrain


Best 3D Artwork

1st Place: Dhanvi Sayani, 10-12 years old, United Arab Emirates

2nd Place: Paula Nataniela Roba, 15 years old, “Proteus anguinus”

3rd Place: Seth Medina Assisted by Aida, Grade 8, PS#28, Art Teacher: Susan Ferro

Honorable Mention: Toms Laugalis, 11 years old, Latvia, “Tree frog”


Best Typographic

1st Place: Tanvi Gadre, 12 years old, India

2nd Place: Allie Kong, 8 years old, Sharron Art Center, NJ, USA

3rd Place: Ashley Ko, 7-9 years old

Honorable Mention: Manny Alvarez, 14 years old, M.S. #7, JC, NJ, USA

Honorable Mention: Nishi Patel, 12 years old, M.S. #7, Jersey City, NJ, USA, Art Teacher: Mrs. Jimenez

Honorable Mention: Lynn Sun, 7 years old, Edison, NJ, USA


Best Student / Elder Artwork Collaboration

1st Place: Arriana Rock, age 6 and Mallory Rock, age 31, Frederick, CO, USA

2nd Place: Vrishas Bolukonda (4.6 Yr) – Shalini (27 years old), A frog in the wild, India

3rd Place: Arriana Rock, age 6 and Brian Younger (Grandpa), age 65, Frederick, CO, USA


Best of Jersey City

1st Place: Mohsen Abdalla 17 years old, USA, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor: Lisa Schwichtenberg

2nd Place: Sylvie-Marlene Sobngwi, 13-17 years old, McNair Academic HS, JC, Art Specialist, Scott Mallm

3rd Place: Nicole Padilla 17 years old, USA, NJ, Jersey City Public Schools, Liberty High School, Art Instructor Lisa Schwichtenberg

Honorable Mention: Jeanpierre Roa, 13-17 years old, McNair Academic High School, Jersey City, Art Specialist,Scott Mallm


Best of Hong Kong

1st Place: Lau Wing Sum, 5 Years Old, School of Creativity, Hong Kong, China

2nd Place: Law Hui Laam, 5 Years Old, School of Creativity, Hong Kong, China

3rd Place: Lau Wing Kei Angel, 9 years old, Hong Kong, China

Honorable Mention: Ng Tsz Ying, 5 Years Old, Chong Hok Tong Education Center, Hong Kong, China

Honorable Mention: Bridget Liu,5 Years Old, School of Creativity, Hong Kong, China