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

04/6/15

The Benefits of Frogs in Your Garden

Frogs and toads, just like so many other animal species, are suffering a decline in numbers. This is due to environmental problems, climate change and human factors and show that the changes we are seeing in the environment are signs that something is wrong.

What many people should realize is that frogs need to be viewed as an important part of the ecosystem.

The Benefits of Frogs in Your Garden

Frogs and toads are not only very beautiful and diverse (Frogs per Wikipedia – approximately 4,800 species); they can also prove to be very beneficial for your garden.

  • Every ecosystem is comprised of multiple species that create a chain. It is what keeps the balance in nature and what maintains life as we know it. As such, frogs and toads have their place under the sun and should be protected. This is the reason why you will do very well to ensure that frogs can find shelter in your garden. If you provide the right conditions and features for these amphibian creatures, they should appear.
  • Frogs are good bioindicators. There is a lot that you can learn from the frogs in your garden. Frogs can show you that something is wrong in the area, or if they are happily breeding and living in the area, then everything should be okay. If you are dedicated and want to have a perfect garden, you can use the indications from frogs to know if the conditions in your garden are good, or if the frogs that used to dwell there suddenly go missing, you will know there is a disturbance.
  • Pest control – frogs are amazing at cleaning the garden from harmful insects. If you are having such problems, you can easily eliminate them by introducing frogs among your plants. A single frog can eat over 100 insects, such as caterpillars, sow bugs and cutworms and more. These can destroy your entire garden if left unchecked. With frogs around, you won’t need to use harmful pesticides, either.

Toads and frogs can be one of the best solutions for your garden. Not only will you have a garden safe of bugs and insects, but you will also have very pleasant amphibians hopping around.

Tree Frog and Bug from EarthRangers.com

Tree Frog and Bug from EarthRangers.com

Guest post by Ella Andrews granted on behalf of: an excellent cleaning in Ruislip.

02/8/15

Frogs and Water Quality

Yesterday, in class with the Cloud Institute and Sustainable Jersey (NJ Learns), each student got to briefly share their project, so I was describing the Frogs Are Green mission and projects on the agenda for 2015.

My teacher Jaimie P. Cloud, challenged me with this question. “Much of what Frogs Are Green is about is bringing awareness to the public, but is there a change I want in the public’s behavior?”

It made me think about one specific area that we can focus on which would help frogs and amphibians as well as other wildlife and humans, and that is water quality.

We know that there are many issues, such as, pollution and oil spills, pesticides and other toxins, pharmaceuticals, and these aren’t just affecting wildlife, but us as well. It’s humans that are creating many of these problems, so it’s obvious that we must be the ones to correct it.

testing water quality

I did a search on Google for Frogs and Water Quality and was surprised to learn there is currently no standard for water quality as it applies to frogs and amphibians:
“The factors thought to be contributing to declines in frog populations include habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, overexploitation, disease, climate change, and decreasing water quality. With respect to water quality, agroecosystems use 80-90% of the water resources in the western United States, frequently resulting in highly eutrophic conditions. Recent investigations suggest that these eutrophic conditions (elevated pH, water temperature, and un-ionized ammonia) may be associated with frog embryo mortality or malformations. However, water quality criteria for frogs and other amphibians do not currently exist. Here, we briefly review data that support the need to develop water quality parameters for frogs in agroecosystems and other habitats.”
(from this website: PMC1519110/http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1519110/)

What this tells me is that currently the water quality is tested to make sure it’s safe for humans, but there are no regulations in place for it to be safe for wildlife? Doesn’t it matter that it’s healthy for all life?

I’ll be reading much more on this issue and would like to invite you to share your thoughts or links to additional documentation you may have found.

Here’s a video I’d like to share because it shows just how important it is to educate the young with hands-on education from Marie Hartford, Science, 5th Grade Teacher and her students in Redmond, WA on the Teaching Channel about “Measuring the pH as it Relates to Water Quality.”

10/9/14

Robin Moore, Conservationist, Photographer and Author of In Search of Lost Frogs

Exclusive!

Tune in tomorrow, October 10, 2014 at 3pm EST and meet…

Robin Moore, conservationist, photographer and author of “In Search of Lost Frogs.”

*** Now Replaying *** The podcast interview is here:
Webcast: Robin Moore interviewed by Susan Newman

Follow the event and comment on Facebook:

Robin Moore Interview on Facebook with Susan Newman (aka Suzy Brandtastic)

Robin Moore, Conservationist, Photographer, and Author of In Search of Lost Frogs

About Robin Moore:

Robin Moore is a conservationist, photographer and the author of In Search of Lost Frogs (In Search of Lost Frogs).

Since gaining a PhD in biodiversity conservation, Robin has been a powerful voice for amphibian conservation.

He is a Conservation Officer with Rainforest Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the largest global partnership for amphibian conservation.

He is a proud Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (www.ilcp.com), represented by National Geographic Creative, and recently Co-Founded Frame of Mind (www.frameofmind.org), an initiative that empowers youth around the world to connect with their natural and cultural worlds through photography and visual.

_____________________________________

About Suzy Brandtastic interviews:

Susan Newman, an environmentalist and brand visibility designer knows how important it is to tell your “why.” Susan hosts a podcast series, live action video series and a written interview series, all featuring environmentalists, innovators, creatives and small business owners.

11/17/13

Environmental Attorney and Amphibian Activist Talk Issues on Techno Granny Radio

Two weeks ago I was asked to talk about environmental issues on the Techno Granny’s radio show along with Tamar Cerafici, an environmental attorney based in New Hampshire. This show covered many topics under the title “10 Plus Technologies that will help you go green and conserve the environment.”

Some things we discussed:

  • Why frogs are threatened with extinction and the number of issues they’re facing
  • How industries such as paper mills are polluting the water which is affecting frogs and possibly humans
  • Why we should always use FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified paper
  • Can technology really help you go green? Can an attorney really be an environmental advocate?
  • Working in the cloud and how this technology is saving the environment, such as Dropbox, Google docs, iCloud and Evernote, because you can use and access from anywhere
  • How to have a paperless office and how courtrooms are embracing this new technology

11/4/2013 – Link to Techno Granny Radio Show – Environmental Attorney, 1 Activist, 10 Green Technologies

Frog conservation poster

Tomorrow morning  (11.18.2013) we will meet for round 2! Tamar and I will join the broadcast again at 10 am EST, after the Techno Granny (Joanne Quinn-Smith) received so many comments asking us to talk about additional topics.

Some of the topics to be discussed:

  • The effect pesticides have on the environment (pollution): water, animals, soil, humans
  • Atrazine: The 21st Century’s DDT (Roundup)
  • Chlorothalonil is the most commonly used synthetic fungicide in the USA, commonly applied to peanuts, tomatoes and potatoes. (what are we eating?)
  • Alternatives to using Pesticides, Green Farming?
  • Organizations talking about this and trying to spread awareness. (Save the Frogs, National Pesticide Information Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Frogs Are Green)

Resources for more information:

http://npic.orst.edu/envir/

http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/Issues/Pesticides.cfm

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ecosystem/

http://savethefrogs.org