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
11/19/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

12/3/16

How To Get Safer And Cleaner Drinking Water For Your Home

Are you concerned about the safety of your drinking water? The Flint water crisis has brought issues of drinking water quality into sharp focus. We all need water to live – so how can you make sure the water you drink is safe and healthy for your body and the environment?

Earth’s Most Precious Resource

Water is the most precious resource on earth. Around 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in water – that’s the same as the amount of water in our bodies. Without water, there would be no life. From growing crops to drinking to bathing, water is an integral part of our lives.

That’s why threats to water are so serious. Contamination of water supplies can damage human health, and have a negative impact on the earth’s creatures, especially amphibians, such as frogs and toads, and fish, for whom water is a key part of their habitat.

water tap

Water Is Good For You

For the human body, water is a fantastic healer. As experienced water engineer James Boyce of Home Water Filter Guide points out, water isn’t just about quenching your thirst. Water can also:

  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve the condition of skin and hair
  • Help stabilize weight
  • Provide a mood boost
  • Relive fatigue
  • Promote fresh breath
  • Flush out toxins

Experts recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and healthy. But what if you’re concerned with the quality of your water?

What’s In Your Water?

Since 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act has stipulated that all water for public consumption in the USA must be safe to drink. However, even safe water can still contain some pretty nasty things:

  • Heavy metals such as lead
  • Volatile organic compounds such as pesticides
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals

There are literally hundreds of chemicals that could be in your tap water right now. Although there are regulations as to the quantities that are allowed in tap water, that’s still a lot of chemicals going into your body. Exposure to contaminants in water can lead to a range of health problems from sickness and fatigue to cancer.

Making Water Safe Again

Purer water with less chemicals is a healthy choice for your body. Many people turn to bottled water, but this isn’t really the best option. As well as costing you hundreds of dollars a year, bottled water can be contaminated by compounds from the bottles themselves. Not to mention the environmental impact of throwing away all those plastic bottles afterwards.

If you want to drink safe, it’s best to filter your water. Which method is best? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular methods.

Carbon Filters

Carbon filters are a popular water filter choice. Water passes through activated carbon which acts to filer out all kinds of unwanted compounds. They cost around $40 up front, but work out to be a cost effective option in the long run.

Pros: Removes all kinds of chemicals, heavy metals, fluoride and pesticides. In fact a carbon filter can make most water into safe drinking water including water from ponds, rain or even the sea, so it can certainly make your tap water safe to drink.

Cons: Not as effective against bacteria as other filters. They’re also quite bulky, but if you have plenty of counter space, they are a good option.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis filters use a membrane that filters out compounds as water passes through it. Reverse osmosis was originally designed to transform saltwater into freshwater, and is very effective at filtering out chemicals and other things.

Pros: Highly effective at filtering. a good reverse osmosis filter can filter out up to 98% of bacteria, chemicals, and heavy metals, and will also remove fluoride.

Cons: Wastes a lot of water, as for every usable gallon produced, three or more gallons are washed down the drain. It also removes minerals from the water.

Distillation

Distillation makes use of heat to purify water. The water is heated until it becomes team, then cooled until it reverts to a liquid state, minus many contaminants.

Pros: Distillation removes many contaminants, including heavy metals, arsenic and fluoride, resulting in very pure water.

Cons: Doesn’t reduce many chemicals. Home distillation filters are expensive (around $100 for a small one) and can be large and bulky. Like reverse osmosis, it removes minerals.

Under Sink Filters

Under sink filters put water through a multi-stage filtering process which removes many chemicals and contaminants.

Pros: Filters out a wide range of contaminants. Once it’s installed it’s very easy to use with no need to refill or wait for the water to be filtered.

Cons: You may need to hire a plumber to install it under the sink, and you do need the under sink space for the unit as it can’t go anywhere else.

As you can see, there are several options for making your water cleaner and safer to drink. Each has its pros and cons, and each will be more suited to some households than others. Depending on your budget and your needs, you should be able to find the right solution for you so you and your family can enjoy healthier, cleaner water.

___________________________________________________

(Guest Blogger): My name is Toni Stan and I am a blogger and the owner of www.homewaterfilter.guide. I have a passion in all things related to water conservation and I spend most of my time educating people on how to make water clean and safe for consumption.

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.

05/18/16

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.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2947219@N22/

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

https://www.facebook.com/events/467752383415317/ 

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.

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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.