FROGS ARE GREEN Earth Day Contest

copyright Susan Newman

Design © 2010 Frogs Are Green - Susan Newman

I remember the first Earth Day forty years ago. I did a project with my friend Linda about endangered animals. Everyone in the entire school went outside on a gorgeous spring day to pick up garbage on the roads around the school. We were all so excited.

I think people forget that everyone was excited about Earth Day and about helping the environment then. The issue hadn’t become politicized. The country was united after the polluted Cuyahoga River went up in flames.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington supported and passed clear air and water regulations. These new tough laws were incredibly effective. When I was kid growing up on Long Island, you knew you were getting close to New York City because you could see and smell a layer of brown smog above the city. After these regulations were passed, the smog disappeared. Since the Reagan administration, however, tough regulations against corporations and businesses are taboo.

I wish we could recapture this bipartisan environmental effort. President Obama was elected partly because so many young people, motivated by environmental issues, voted for him. It didn’t matter if they were on the right or the left.

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we’d like you to ignore the politics and recapture this excitement about preserving the environment and about enjoying and reconnecting to nature.

To that end, we’re sponsoring an Earth Day contest (open to all ages).  Please send us one simple practical idea by April 19th that we can all use to help the environment or reconnect with nature, guided by these words:





It doesn’t have to be a grand or complicated idea. For example, maybe someone can think of a way for people to remember to bring reusable grocery bags to the store. The winner, announced on Earth Day, will receive either the poster above or below (printed on FSC certified paper) or a 100% cotton t-shirt or onesie, made and printed in the U.S  (their choice):

design copyright Susan Newman, photo by Dr. Kerry Kriger, Save the Frogs

Design © 2010 Frogs Are Green - Susan Newman, frog photograph courtesy Dr. Kerry Kriger, Save the Frogs

16 thoughts on “FROGS ARE GREEN Earth Day Contest

  1. … AND RELATE. Spend more time relating to the natural world. When you walk outside say “good morning” to the trees and plants. Thank them for the photosynthesis they did the night before. Shake hands with the branches and long-leafed plants. Laugh with the bugs. Smell the roses and say “thank you.” Talk to the birds: engage them in inter-species dialogue. Pray with the wind. Relationship is one way to increase connection and commitment. Also, it can be used as a reminder to get your cloth bags for the groceries.

  2. Hello,
    As an educator, I’d like to know if brazilian students can participate?


  3. Dear Luciana,
    Yes of course, anyone can participate! Thank you, we look forward to your ideas!

  4. I’ll go with RETHINK! As an ecard creator, for Earth Day’s 40th birthday, I’m hoping more folks will get on board with reducing paper waste by sending paperless ecards. An estimated 7 billion paper greeting cards are sold annually in the United States, and one year’s worth of U.S. holiday cards alone could fill a football field 10 stories high — gadzooks!

  5. As one of the administrators I see we haven’t been getting many comments, so I’m going to post a few and get the list going…

    1- How about reusing the sleeve from your coffee cup? Each time you go to “Starbucks” or “Dunkin Donuts” take the sleeve off the cup before you trash it and reuse it on the next cup. Perhaps we can convince these coffee bars to start a recycle bin for the sleeves.

    2- How about picking one item each month from your household products and replacing it with a “green” version? I have done this with my dishwashing liquid, surface spray cleaner, etc…


  6. Before I recycle plastic bottles I take the lids and gather them in a jar. When spring comes I use them for drainage at the bottom of my flower containers. I mix compost that I make myself with potting soil to place on top of the plastic lids.

  7. To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump!

    Some appliances and equipment cannot be left curbside for recycling – computers, air conditioners, etc. – they have to be taken to the local refuse collection center, aka “the dump”.

    But in the more densely populated areas, such as Jersey City where I live, many people don’t have cars, and we don’t need any more cars, so what do those of us without cars, a majority really, do?

    I suggest that Neighborhood Associations organize car, van and pickup owner residents to volunteer for periodic pickups of items required to be delivered directly to the waste dump.

    Get your Councilperson involved in getting out the word.

    Clear out items that do not work and make your own space more you-friendly. Nothing clogs up your process more profoundly than looking, day after day, at things you don’t ever use.

  8. Dear Susan,
    I wish to send my practical idea for earth day 2010 contests as stated below.

    We can rethink and create an environment club in our society and ask the members to rebuild a pond for frogs in the backyard and ask them to take a pledge to not to use the chemical pesticides in the home garden,kitchen-garden and in the workplace.We as club members can perform plays and prepare videos to make the people aware of the hazardous effects of chemicals, cutting the woods on the endangered species of amphibians and how we can stop this by using organic fruits and vegetables,by recycling the kids toys,by planting the trees in the backyards.

    Thanking you,
    yours truly,


  9. Pingback: Green Graphic Design, New York City, Jersey City, Environment, Baseball, Eco-Friendly Concepts, Artists, Gardens, bicycling by Susan Newman Design Inc

  10. When was the last time we went to a park over going to the mall or doing something indoors? I recently spoke to someone who said they hated being outside and hated to sweat. I say its time to reconnect to nature. Organize a scavanger hunt with your friends or family at a local park. Encourage them to answer riddles about wildlife to get the next clue.

  11. Dear Mary Jo and Susan,
    I am eager to start this Earth Day Contest. Before I completed reading the entry you guys wrote I had the idea of everybody reusing their grocery bags like my family does but I read further down and saw that one of my ideas happened to be one of your examples. I didn’t want to sound banal so I marked that one off of my list. After a while I went back to your website and saw the topics once more: Renew, Rebuild, Reconnect and Rethink. I thought and thought and thought. Finally I came up with my conclusion.
        What if schools across America used both sides of the printing paper before recycling it? This way all the paper filling up the recycling bins would really be used completely. The students and teachers would be RETHINKING as well as RENEWING the other side of the unused paper.
        After the conclusion above another idea hit me. What if teachers rethought about printing off students homework and just created a website or sent them their assignments via e-mail? This could be RENEWING the young minds of the younger generation to save our world before it comes to and end due to mainly human destruction. This would also obviously cut down on at least 40 pieces of paper per each grade at almost every school across America everyday. This idea could possibly stretch over the world. Just think, less paper equals more trees, more trees equals more wild life living in rain forests including those cute and slimy frogs.
        I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to get my creative juices flowing and think of better ways to help the Earth this Earth Day. I will probably try to convince my school to use some other ideas as well as these ideas. I hope you like these ideas well enough to consider broadcasting one or both of them to many other people. Once again thank you and have a great day.
    — Katie Matz

  12. I am the proud mommy of a beautiful little girl named Madalie. Madalie will have her 1st birthday on April 22, 2010, also known as Earth Day. I think it is so cool that her birthday is on Earth Day and I want to incorporate Earth Day ideas into the celebration! Since its her first birthday, I of course want to make it a memorable and special day. My idea by starting this tradition is to teach her the importance of taking care of our environment and how much fun it can be! One of Madalie’s birthday presents is a set of gardening tools just for her. She will have her own little shovel, hand rake, watering can, and a personalized gardening apron that says “EARTH DAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!” (I made it for her…) To honor her special day and Earth Day, we will plant the first seed in what will soon be “Madalie’s Earth Day Birthday Garden”. I have cleared a small area of my backyard that will be for the garden. Each year, on her Earth Day Birthday we will add a new plant to her garden. We will also plant a tree in our currently shade less backyard on her first birthday. The tree will eventually cut down the costs of cooling our home while providing a nice & cool area to put a picnic bench!

    While writing this, I tried to incorporate the words you suggested, RENEW, REBUILD, RECONNECT & RETHINK but my favorite, which is another “R” word is REUSE. What I have done to take part in renewing, rebuilding, reconnecting & rethinking is REUSE! I saved all of Madalie’s formula cans over the last year. Not only are they great for safekeeping of small items such as toys, crafts, change, etc., I used them to make decorations at her party. I removed the labels and “reused” old wrapping paper to decorate the cans and filled them w/ dum dum suckers to make candy bouquets. They are really cute and the kids will love them! Another use for the cans is for party games. Each child will get their own empty undecorated can when they arrive at the party. They can decorate their can anyway they want to and its a great way to keep all the kids interested and entertained which is sometimes hard to do when its not their birthday… They can fill their can with candy from the piñata and when they have eaten all of their candy they can REUSE that can as a piggy bank! I also saved her baby food jars and plastic “to-go” baby food w/lids. These come in handy for crafts for adults and for children. They are great to keep different colors of paint in, one for water and for mixing to create colors, etc… I could go on and on about the many things that can be reused that you would generally throw away but I must get back to creating Madalie’s table centerpieces for her birthday party decorations…

  13. I was stressing over a pile of dump truck tires and a pile of broken up concrete, rock, and brick that had been in the yard for years. Hauling this stuff to the landfill really wasn’t the problem. What it was going to cost me to dump it was my concern. Well, in my household, I’ve convinced my family that it is against the law to not recycle (hee hee). My 13 year old was trying to think of ideas for these tires – tire swing, shred for playground, boat bumpers at lake, etc. Unfortunately, these tires have steel in them, so their re-use is limited. Placing this on the back burner and moving on to the creation of our 1st garden, the idea hit us like a ton of bricks to use the tires in the garden. We drilled a hole, then jig sawed the sidewalls out of the tires, placed them against the hill, filled them with potting soil and carolina clay and planted tomatos in them. We placed the broken concrete and rocks on the hill behind the tires.

  14. My idea is to use unwanted building supplies – such as those contractors may donate to Habitat For Humanity supply shops – for your next shed, garage, or other small project. It saves you money on materials and it keeps those items from becomgin part of the landfill.
    In conjunction with this idea of saving money and being green – look into practical ways that you might use LED lighting in your home or office, solar panels, wind turbines, hydro-powered micro turbines, or other potentially energy saving devices such as Bloom’s Energy Server (aka Bloom Box) in your companies daily operations.
    It doesnt take much thought nor a huge amount of effort to make things easier and better for everyone – it just takes waking up and deciding that this is what we’re going to do.

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