The phone is ringing and a friend is excited to tell me there’s a discussion about frogs right now on WNYC radio. Robin Moore, the author and photographer of “In Search of Lost Frogs,” is being interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show (The Conservation Efforts Trying to Keep Frogs From Going Extinct). At the same moment, a Jersey City colleague is emailing me about the same thing and writes that she’s left a comment about Frogs Are Green and our kids frog art project on WNYC’s website.
During the interview they discuss many of the issues that frogs face today, including the deadly Chytrid Fungus and climate change. One caller asks about the drought situation in California and its toll on frogs. They also talk about how many frog species have gone extinct in the wild and at the same time new species are being discovered, as close as New York. They also talk about how important the medical research is as they test the poisonous skin of dart frogs.
Almost every day, Facebook friends post on my timeline or the Frogs Are Green page, or Tweet at us about frogs and/or the environment.
I’m sharing this because it was six years ago this May that I founded Frogs Are Green, and so many people laughed at this cause. They’d say, “Frogs? … Who’s going to care about frogs?”
I’m happy to tell you that in six years we have reached over a million people. Each month we have 13,000 visitors who look at more than 32,000 pages, which gives us an amazing bounce rate of 1.8 %. Yes, that is not a misprint, we have a 1.8% bounce rate. These stats have been holding steady for years and are again on the rise.
We didn’t used to post on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn (groups) and Twitter every day, but in 2014 we made a commitment to do so and reach more people than ever.
As the above story shows, our mission is working. Awareness really begins to catch fire when others know you so well that they support and advance your campaign goals without hesitation.
It all comes from zeroing in on a niche and being consistent by sharing every day. By being “top of mind” on a particular thing that’s so different, so unique, they just see frogs and think of Frogs Are Green.
10 Tips for building your nonprofit’s awareness and following
- Make sure that your website (the nucleus of your online presence) is 100% on target in expressing your mission and goals. On your homepage be brief and entice, don’t overwhelm with too many calls to action. Make sure your brand and mission are crystal clear. Be sure you are blogging and/or adding new, valuable content consistently.
- Be sure when you blog, post, or tweet, you are adding an appropriate and eye-catching photo that will prompt others to share it, not just “like” it.
- Be sure you are using #hashtags but don’t go crazy with them, lest no one will see or read your post… (I see this a lot on Instagram; so many hashtags I can’t find the message!)
- Don’t try to sell all the time with posts/tweets about buying products, classes or donating to your cause. Once in a while is all right, but you will really build your audience by sharing significant information. As they move around your website reading articles they will come to respect your efforts and just may click that donate button on their own.
- Your “competition” organization is your friend. Remember, you are both trying to help others, save wildlife and the environment, and so those that follow those other organizations may follow you too! Be kind and retweet.
- If you are planning to boost or advertise, make sure you are being selective about the information and target audience. Do your homework and know where your target is, both online or offline.
- Remember that your target audience can be in many different places. Be sure to review your Google Analytics each week and identify if what you are doing is working. For example, if you are spending most of your social media time on Facebook but when you look at your stats you have more people visiting your site from Twitter, you should tweet more often than you are!
- People consume content in many different ways, so be sure you are creating video for YouTube, audio for Podcasting, Powerpoint (for Slideshare or LinkedIn), photo galleries on Flickr, Pinterest and Facebook, blog posts that can embed these other media files, graphic images, and more… (and then share across social sites).
- When you have new media to share, don’t post on every social site at the same time and then not post for a week until the next post. Schedule different places each day so your content is circulating all the time.
- Be sure to alert the local media about events and other important news so that they can write about you. If you don’t tell them yourself, how do you expect them to know? Publicity helps awareness and begets more publicity.
Frogs Are Green was fortunate to interview Robin Moore on a podcast also. Listen here >> Robin Moore
The young artist’s family and friends step out the cab and walk into the gallery one by one, parents and children of different ages. They begin looking and move down the wall, admiring the variety of each artwork. The young artist turns and as she walks across the gallery I see a shy smile across her lips. Yes, she has spotted her own artwork and moves closer to see it. I ask her if I can take her photograph with her artwork and she agrees. Her family takes pictures also.
We have a conversation about whether she had a lesson in school about frogs and the environment before she did her artwork (statement) on pollution. She tells me that she did some research but just created this based on her own imagination.
It’s a wonderful and sometimes strange feeling when one sees their artwork hanging on a gallery wall. For an artist, it’s what we all dream of. Visibility and the opportunity to share what we think.
As we’re talking, I see the parents and the other children moving around the gallery discussing the other works and taking photographs that will hopefully be shared with the extended family and perhaps on social media.
The youngest of the children takes me around to show her favorite pictures and why. She’s about 4 years old and drawn to the cutest and friendliest of the pictures.
They all say how much they enjoyed the exhibition and will be sure to do more frog art next Fall.
During the afternoon parents and children come by to see the student artworks but some people walk through the gallery on their way to a separate destination and do not even look at the walls, as if there is nothing there.
This baffles me and makes me wonder if there are some artists who think only their art is what’s important. Isn’t being an artist about appreciating self-expression, both your own and others?
Do seasoned artists think that because they are at a certain level of success, a young artist’s vision is of no consequence? Aren’t their artworks worth a look?
I believe that every person has the right to be seen and heard.
Having an appreciation of the arts (in its various forms, from dance and opera, to fine art and yes student frog artwork too) means stepping out of your own little world of self-expression and seeing what others have to say too.
The entire amphibian class is currently afflicted by a global pandemic that is accelerating extinction at an alarming rate. Until now, a few islands like Madagascar were thought not to have been affected. However, an analysis of the latest series of tests shows that the chytrid fungus also poses a threat to amphibians in Madagascar. “This is sad news for herpetologists around the world,” says Dr. Dirk Schmeller of the UFZ, who was involved in analyzing the samples and has, together with Elodie Courtois, detected Bd in samples from Madagascar collected in 2010. “Firstly, it means that an island that is home to a particularly high number of amphibian species is now at risk. Several hundred species live only on this island. And, secondly, if the pathogen has managed to reach such a secluded island, it can and will occur everywhere.”
Prof. Miguel Vences from TU Braunschweig adds, “The chytrid fungus was found in all four families of the indigenous Madagascan frogs, which means it has the potential to infect diverse species. This is a shock!” The study also shows that the disease affects amphibians at medium to high altitudes, which ties in with observations from other parts of the world, where the effects of the amphibian epidemic have been felt primarily in the mountains.
“Luckily, there have not yet been any dramatic declines in amphibian populations in Madagascar,” Dirk Schmeller reports. “However, the pathogen appears to be more widespread in some places than others. Madagascar may have several strains of the pathogen, maybe even the global, hypervirulent strain. This shows how important it is to be able to isolate the pathogen and analyze it genetically, which is something we haven’t yet succeeded in doing.” At the same time, the researchers recommend continuing with the monitoring program across the entire country to observe the spread of the disease. The scientists also suggest setting up extra breeding stations for key species, in addition to the two centers already being built, to act as arks, so that enough amphibians could be bred to recolonize the habitats in a crisis. “We are also hopeful that we may be able to suppress the growth of the Bd pathogen with the help of skin bacteria,” says Miguel Vences. “It might then be possible to use these bacteria as a kind of probiotic skin ointment in the future.” A high diversity of microbial communities in the water could also reduce the potential for infection, according to earlier investigations conducted by Dirk S. Schmeller, Frank Pasmans, and their teams (published in Current Biology).
The outbreak of amphibian chytridiomycosis in Madagascar puts an additional seven per cent of the world’s amphibian species at risk, according to figures from the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA). “The decline in Madagascan amphibians is not just a concern for herpetologists and frog researchers,” says Dr. Franco Andreone, “It would be a great loss for the entire world.”
Guest post by Dr. Dirk Schmeller
Frogs and toads are some of nicest critters you can attract in your garden as they can improve it great deal. They have true and undeniable value but are threatened by the constant increase of urbanization. Their habitats are shrinking at an alarming rate and thus reducing their chance of survival.
So why not take steps in inviting them in your garden today? For one thing, they are amazing pest control predators. They feed on insects, such as cutworms, caterpillars, sow bugs and many more that can do harm to your garden. There have been reports of entire gardens destroyed by these bugs for a single night, and anything that can help prevent that from happening is to be loved and preferred over other animals. A single frog can eat over a hundred harmful insects a day, which is really a lot and enough in most cases to help you control this threat.
In order to ensure that frogs can perform their duty, you will need to create a suitable habitat for them. During the day, they like to sit under shady and cool areas, such as under trees and other high plants. There are many solutions that can be implemented in your garden which will offer not only proper shelter for frogs, but will also give your garden an innovative look. These animals also require water, so a pond of some sort is needed. Many professional and reliable gardeners share the opinion that there is nothing quite like having a garden pond in your backyard. It needs to have shallow edges to allow the amphibians to enter and leave as they please.
Toads and frogs can be a garden’s best friend and save you the need to spray with pesticides and other chemicals to protect from insects. If you like the calming and sometimes gentle sound of frogs, then smile the next time you see one in your garden.
Guest blog by Ella Andrews
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:
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.
We all have something we’re passionate about, and it’s not always easy to get others to share our enthusiasm, but yesterday, Jersey City came out to learn about frogs, amphibians and enjoy the Earth Day / Save The Frogs Day event.
As the event began, we set out all the delicious, healthy food (some came from vegan, organic, gluten-free baker Chef Camillo Sabella), the wine and beverages, and the day’s musical guests, The Gully Hubbards began to play. People started streaming in. Artists, nature-lovers, neighbors, parents and children (some who take Saturday morning art classes at the Distillery Gallery) and everybody would say how great the space was, the music sounded, and how amazing the art was.
At about 5 pm, a reporter from Jersey City 1 TV (JC1TV) arrived and interviewed me about Frogs Are Green, what the Green Dream is about, and why it’s so important to save frogs. Then Mayor Steven Fulop arrived and we took some photos, and talked together about frogs. He was quite informed on the topic, so the discussion was very good. Then the reporter captured the Mayor and I discussing frogs and why we must save them. The Mayor moved around the gallery looking at the art, talking with others and the children also. Then we moved to the back end of gallery along with the two curators, Kristin DeAngelis and Gabriel Pacheco and the Mayor spoke to the crowd about frogs and amphibians, and the three of us spoke as well. The Mayor gave us proclamations, and we gave the Mayor gifts. A painted flowerpot (with flowering plant) by one of the children who is enrolled in the Saturday classes at the gallery, a Green Dream t-shirt, and one of the most recent Earth Day posters from Frogs Are Green, illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault. It was so fantastic to see a crowd so into this.
Afterward, there were two environmental speakers, Michelle Anne Luebke, an instructor at CUNY and an environmentalist and Laura Skolar of the Jersey City Parks Coalition, who spoke. There were so many children at yesterday’s event, some who sat on the floor in a circle and were drawing with chalk and crayons. We did the drawing of the raffle contest and the winner was announced, but wasn’t there, so he will be notified. One lucky child receives a year of art classes at the gallery for free!
The overall harmony of the event was perfect. The people, music, food, and excitement with photographers and TV, made the event a thrill for me and everybody had a fabulous time. There will be many more photos to come (from the official photographer, Danny Chong) as well as video of course, but here are a few, so you share in the event’s success.
— Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green