08/30/18

On the Brink of Extinction: Preserving the Frog Population in the State of New York

It is difficult to believe that such an adaptable species would ever be at risk of extinction. Many people attribute the decline in the frog population to climate change; however, wood frogs have proven to be adaptable in a variety of climates. Researchers have found that the wood frog population native to New York are capable of freezing themselves during the winter, stopping their hearts and all brain activity, only to thaw out in the spring and begin to search for food and a mate. Frogs can locate their food source virtually anywhere, but they always mate in water. Therefore, in order to attract frogs to your garden this spring, a small area with water such as a pond is a necessity.

Bullfrogs - Photo by Ken Goulding on Unsplash

Photo by Ken Goulding on Unsplash

Adaptation and Survival

Due in large part to the recommendation of Lili Winkelman, a fourth-grade student from Syracuse, the wood frog has been unofficially named as the State amphibian for New York. While the wood frog has shown an uncanny ability to adapt to its environment, according to the United States Geological Survey, many other species of frog are in a severe state of decline due to climate change, pesticides and disease. Welcoming frogs in to your garden can help to provide them with the safe and stable environment that they need in order to stabilize and rebuild their population.

How Frogs Help 

While you attract wood frogs to your garden, thereby helping to preserve and grow the frog population, they will help to preserve your garden. Frogs can be particularly helpful in a vegetable garden because they consume pests and insects. A single frog can consume up to 10,000 pests and insects in a single season. This can help preserve your garden naturally, while saving you money on pesticides. A natural and environmentally friendly space is particularly important to the survival of frogs because they breathe through their skin; therefore, pesticides are particularly toxic to them since they can be easily and unintentionally ingested.

Welcoming frogs in to your garden will not only help to grow their population locally, it will also help your garden grow naturally and economically. By building a small pond and shelter, you can help prevent the potential extinction of a species while helping your garden grow in a safe and natural environment, without the use of chemicals or pesticides.

Guest blog by Jennifer Dawson

07/25/18

‘Save All Frogs’ Initiative Launched!

Save All Frogs‘ Initiative Launched!

Matt Ellerbeck – Frog Advocate & Conservationist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save All Frogs - Matt Ellerbeck
 

06/28/18

Salamander from the Rainforest painted on Catch Basin

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

 

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

Swati Rastogi and Susan Newman salamander catch basin jersey city heights

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

Here’s what Swati wrote about this project:

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

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

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

Thank you for choosing me as your artist!.”

– Swati Rastogi

 

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

Adopt a Catch Basin Frog Art

05/26/18

Frogs Are Green at Jersey City City Council

On Monday, May 21, 2018, Susan Newman addressed the Jersey City City Council about Frogs Are Green’s mission and the children’s artwork up in the Caucus room. A curated selection of the 2017 winners in our Annual kids’ art contest.

Below is a transcript and the video of that event.

“Good afternoon Council President Lavarro and Jersey City City Council members. I am deeply honored to be here today to talk for a few minutes about Frogs Are Green.

We are on an awareness mission to educate the public about the threats to frogs and amphibians. Frogs are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and disease. Because they breathe and drink through their skin, they are extremely sensitive to an unhealthy environment. Chemicals, pesticides, ozone, and UV are dangerous, even deadly, to them.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species, a third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction.

This spring marks our tenth year and our voice grows stronger each day. Through blogging, interviews, social media and a variety of annual events we have reached millions of people.

Every fall, Frogs Are Green holds a kids’ art contest for ages 3-17 and a photo contest, open to all ages. Hundreds of entries come in from over 30 countries and as close as Hoboken and Jersey City and this number increases every year. I’m proud to say that this is a yearly project in the JC public school system and the students have entered for the last 4 years.

Children are naturally curious about nature and can express themselves through art in a way they cannot always express verbally. To inspire them we change the theme each year. This past year we received close to a 1000 artworks and the selection on the walls in this caucus room were curated from the winners in 2017. The theme was Amphibians & Reptiles. The contests will open again in September and we will have a new theme and a new selection of judges. I’m very excited about this fall as we will partnering with another organization to raise funds to save the frogs and the rainforest. We do not charge any fees to enter.

In addition to our annual contests and spring exhibitions, we design and publish books for adults and children to learn from and enjoy. These are a few of the books we’ve published and we have more in development.

Our New Jersey nonprofit organization is called FROGS ARE GREEN because we believe that healthy frogs mean a healthy planet. By saving the frogs, we will also save our planet—and ourselves.”

Susan Newman, Founder and President
Frogs Are Green Inc.

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

04/8/18

Amphibians and Reptiles Art Exhibit at Jersey City City Hall

Frogs Are Green is proud to showcase artwork by children around the world in collaboration with The City of Jersey City and the JC Office of Cultural Affairs for the 4th consecutive year! Just in time for Earth Day on April 22.

The curated exhibition from the annual kids art contest is up in the City Hall caucus room, so it will be visible in the City Council videos for the month of April. The best days to see the artworks are Mondays and Fridays. Just call or stop by the City Council’s office on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

Below is a list of the young artists in the exhibit.

Antariksha Sethiya, 14 yrs old, India
Claire Lee, 10 yrs old, California, USA
Elcin Sefer, 13 yrs old, Turkey
Eylem Konuklar, 10 yrs old, Turkey
Fatemeh Tabrizi, 16 yrs old, Iran
Gegea Bianca, 15 yrs old, Romania
Giwoo Kim, 14 yrs old, California, USA
Ipek Liva Gurses, 5 yrs old, Turkey
John Rama, 17 yrs old, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
K.C.J. Perera, 12 yrs old, Sri Lanka
Luniva Joshi, 12 yrs old, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Lynn Sun, 9 yrs old, USA
Margaret Kelly, 7 yrs old, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Mina Buyukgonenc, 9 yrs old, Turkey
Minh Khanh Truong, 6 yrs old, Vietnam
Ng Yin Hei, 7 yrs old, China
Paulus Ong, 5 yrs old, Indonesia
Rachel Paulus, 9 yrs old, Florida, USA
Richard Alicea, 17 yrs old, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Ritvik Patra, 9 yrs old, California, USA
Shrushti Chavan, 12 yrs old, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Tanvi Gadre, 13 yrs old, India
Viktoriya Kukarekina, 10 yrs old, Texas, USA
Yanbo Feng, 14 yrs old, Michigan, USA

Any questions about this show, just let us know.
info@frogsaregreen.com

 

Sponsored by:
Remco Press of New Jersey

 

 

 

 

 

Strawesome - creating glass straws to replace plastic one