03/19/16

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:

https://frogsaregreen.org/keeping-your-pond-alive/

https://frogsaregreen.org/attracting-newts-to-your-pond/

https://frogsaregreen.org/pond-maintenance-tips-for-keeping-wildlife-at-your-pond/

 

 

01/19/16

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.

 

10/29/15

America’s Cleanest and Dirtiest Energy States

This post originally appeared on Modernize.com where you can find comprehensive solar information from industry experts. Frogs Are Green has permission to share this.

America's Cleanest and Dirtiest Energy States

America’s energy policy has been the subject of much recent debate: From the Pope’s public advocacy of environmental stewardship to the EPA’s toughened regulations on pollution from petroleum refineries, the sources that power our society have rarely been so widely scrutinized. Once regarded as a subject best left to the energy sector, the way we fuel our economy has proven its relevance for all citizens, both in America and across the globe.

For our team at Modernize, this subject seems particularly important. We’re dedicated to providing consumers information and opportunities related to one of clean energy’s most promising technologies: solar panels. Our primary interest is in helping individual readers to find environmentally friendly solar options that generate wallet-friendly savings in the long run.

But we’re also paying attention to how whole swaths of the American energy landscape operate. That’s where our project “America’s Cleanest and Dirtiest Energy States” comes in. If you want to know your state’s energy track record or find out which states are leading (and trailing) the push for renewables, you’re going to want to read what comes next.

Our Methodology

For this project, we went straight to the most authoritative source available on America’s energy realities. We gathered data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the federal agency responsible for tracking stats related to America’s energy production and consumption. Lucky for us, they’ve got data dating back to 1960 and as recent as 2013, so we took the long view on each state’s energy legacy. Our work engaged a range of subjects, from total energy production from renewable sources to carbon dioxide emissions over time. Take a look at what we found out:

Not Everything is Bigger in Texas…

Total Renewable Energy Production by State 1960-2013Let’s get something straight: “Renewable” energy sources run the gamut from hydropower to wind, solar, and more. The EIA includes biofuels, such as ethanol, in this category as well. That means that virtually any state can tap into renewables, though some types are more readily utilized in certain natural environments (for instance, the Midwest makes good use of its wind). But that also means oil- and coal-rich states like Texas and West Virginia have historically focused their efforts on sourcing energy from “fossil” fuels, so their output from renewables is relatively paltry.

To see each state’s exact numbers, check out the interactive map below:

And here are the top 10 producers of total energy from renewables:

Top 10 by Total Renewable Energy Production

Maybe Washington, California, and Oregon come as no surprise – we associate them with environmental concern and the geographical variety to embrace multiple renewable technologies simultaneously. But the rest of the states that top the renewables ranking embody a striking mix of size, population, political preference, and socioeconomic standing. If this ranking indicates anything, it’s that success with renewables is possible in any combination of circumstances.

Power Percentages

Now we know the score when it comes to the total volume of energy produced from renewables by state. But some states produce plenty of both, while others have pristine clean-energy records but fall short of the top 10 because their total production is too small to compete. So we also looked at how much of each state’s total energy production renewables account for – call these our Percentage Power Rankings:

Top 10 by Renewable Energy Percentage

Yes, you read that right: Rhode Island, Idaho, Hawaii, Delaware, and D.C. produce virtually all of their energy from renewable sources. Sure, that might be different if these states had been dealt a different hand in the distribution of natural resources (no one’s begging to drill outside Newport), but we can appreciate their commitment to renewable energy all the same. After all, necessity is the mother of invention – and as time goes on, more and more states may find themselves in need.

America's Dirtiest Energy States

Then there’s the cohort above, all of whom derived less than 2.5% of all the energy they produce from renewable sources from 1960–2013. The difference in reliance on renewables couldn’t be starker: Wyoming’s renewable portfolio accounts for roughly one in every 250 BTUs (British Thermal Units – oddly, no longer commonly used in the U.K.) that the state produces. Many of the constituents of this dirtiest energy ranking are too rich in coal and oil to need much in the way of renewable alternatives – but that doesn’t mean they won’t adopt more sustainable technologies in the coming years.

Pollution and Solutions

Perhaps the most concerning byproduct of fossil fuel energy production is pollution. That term covers many kinds of potentially harmful emissions, but the best-known variety is carbon dioxide. The EIA offers carbon dioxide data from 1990–2012, so we’ve tracked the worst emissions offenders over that time:

Top 10 CO2 Emitters by State

Predictably, Texas is at the top – but what about California or New York? Why do states that ranked high in renewable energy production make the list? The answer is simple: Carbon dioxide emissions aren’t just a function of energy production. It’s no accident that the top-ranked states are almost all quite populous; the more people, the more energy they consume. That translates to emissions resulting from cars, heat, and other comforts modern Americans depend upon in daily life. But don’t think emissions are an intransigent evil: Some states are making great strides.

10 Most Improved CO2 Emitters since 1990

Let’s take a moment to commend these states for what they’ve accomplished in just 22 years. New York, Michigan, and Ohio are particularly exciting cases, demonstrating that even states closely associated with major industry can reduce emissions substantially. Additionally, some of the states that ranked high in the percentage of energy generated from renewables appear on this list, making it clear that improvement can always be a priority, whatever you accomplish for the environment.

Speaking of improvement, let’s remember that your own home can contribute to the pursuit of new, clean technologies, no matter which state you live in. Whether it’s turning off the light when you walk out of a room or researching solar options that will also create savings, you can do a lot to promote a cleaner energy world. Who knows? If you and enough of your neighbors make the right choices, your state might just jump up on our cleanest states ranking!

 

09/27/15

Washington Park LIVE 2015 and Frogs Are Green

Frogs Are Green began setting up the organization’s tent at 9 am! This year, thanks to the Washington Park Association, we had an incredible spot in the front of the “Washington Park LIVE” festival with a large tent, grid bars tied to the back, and two tables! One table for displaying educational information such as our books: the teaching resource curriculum, “Frogs, Amphibians and Their Threatened Environment,” and previewing our next book, “Rainforest Frogs,” which features Haiku poetry by Caley Vickerman, illustrations by Mark Lerer, a foreword by Franco Andreone, and designed by founder, Susan Newman. We also had on display materials about the contests being open right now, the 6th Annual Kids Art Contest & the 7th Annual Photography Contest. On the back grid we hung our posters to draw the eyes… and it worked! It was so interesting hearing which posters visitors liked the most… I’ll be ordering a bunch more of each of those!

The second table we covered with some mounted posters which were tapped down, as an inspirational guide of frog image reference for visitors. Those that wanted to draw frogs, they were right there on the table! On hand were colored pencils, crayons, markers, lots of paper and even frog stickers.

We greeted over 130 people of all ages during the day, and everyone enjoyed creating frogart. You’ll see from the gallery of images below both children and adults got into it. This was our most successful event yet as we sold out of our t-shirts and a bunch of posters.

We also enjoyed dancing to the music being played on the sound stage right near us, and there were plenty of food truck vendors for us to taste assorted delights, such as lobster rolls and chocolate treats.

I look forward to seeing the photos by others showing what else was happening around us.

04/21/15

Earth Day Celebrations 2015

Each year as Earth Day approaches, Frogs Are Green goes into high gear.

Sunday, April 19, we celebrated with our local (and not so local) area, as many came out on a beautiful spring day to the Pershing Field Vietnam Veterans Memorial Community Center in Jersey City Heights, to see the winning artworks done by children around the world.

Visit this link to see the whole gallery of the event on Facebook: 2nd Annual Green Dream
laura-skolar-rolando-lavarro-susan-newman-at-green-dream-JC

Pictured above is Laura Skolar, President of Pershing Field Garden Friends; Jersey City, City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. and Me.

 

We’ve published our “Frogs, Amphibians and Their Threatened Environment” six-week curriculum book on Amazon and Createspace!
Pick it up here >> Frog and Art Curriculum

 

We have two new awesome posters: one for “Saving the Bees” with a gorgeous micro close-up by wildlife photographer, Wes Deyton… and our adorable “Naturally FROGADELIC” illustrated by the always original, Mary Ann Farley.

Visit our shop here: Frogs Are Green Shop

Earth Day Buzz - Save the Honeybee

Earth Day Buzz – Save the Honeybee – Photograph courtesy of Wes Deyton.

Naturally Frogadelic - Earth Day Poster by Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green, Illustration courtesy Mary Ann Farley

Naturally Frogadelic – Earth Day Poster 2015 by Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green; Illustration courtesy of Mary Ann Farley.

 

We also want to share that our favorite Frog author, Irwin Quagmire Wart has written a new book and you can pick up a free download 4/21 – 4/25: >> Green Is Good

 

On Saturday, April 25th, Frogs Are Green will visit Liberty State Park’s Earth Day Festival and Sunday, April 26th, we will have a tent/table at the Earth Day festival in front of Jersey City’s City Hall! Children will be able to sit and draw pictures of frogs and nature. Art supplies and frog/amphibian reference on hand.

Swing by and visit us and have a fabulous EARTH DAY (week) and Happy Save The Frogs Day too!

– Susan Newman, founder

04/27/14

Save The Frogs Day Event with Mayor Steven Fulop

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
 

Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop talk about saving frogs!

Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop talk about saving frogs and their importance to our ecosystem.

The Gully Hubbards

The Gully Hubbards play at Green Dream for Save The Frogs day.

Gary Van Miert, Susan Newman, Dave Ace Case

Gary Van Miert, Susan Newman, Dave Ace Case

Thomas Tyburski and John Crittenden at Green Dream

Thomas Tyburski and John Crittenden at Green Dream.

Children drawing

Children gather to draw pictures, maybe of frogs!

Kristin DeAngelis, Susan Newman, Mayor Steven Fulop, Gabriel Pacheco

Kristin DeAngelis, Susan Newman, Mayor Steven Fulop, Gabriel Pacheco at Green Dream in Jersey City.

Proclamation to Frogs Are Green and Distillery Gallery for Green Dream

Proclamation to Frogs Are Green and Distillery Gallery for Green Dream.

Jersey City 1 TV films, Frogs Are Green founder Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop with Distillery Gallery curators

Jersey City 1 TV films, Frogs Are Green founder Susan Newman and Mayor Steven Fulop with Distillery Gallery curators, Kristin DeAngelis and Gabriel Pacheco.

Laura Skolar of Jersey City Parks Coalition

Laura Skolar of Jersey City Parks Coalition speaking to crowd.

Michelle Anne Luebke, instructor at CUNY and environmentalist

Michelle Anne Luebke, instructor at CUNY and environmentalist speaks to crowd.

Susan Newman and Chef Camillo Sabella

Susan Newman and Chef Camillo Sabella, who brought his gluten-free, vegan,organic, kosher-style and low fat macaroons!

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