Please Skip Black Friday: Celebrate Green Monday Instead

Black Friday is almost upon us, and at Frogs Are Green, we’d like you to consider skipping this obnoxious super-shopping day and to participate instead in Green Monday, sponsored by the Nature Conservancy.

Rather than joining the throngs at the mall or the big box stores, why not feel good about the season by contributing time or money to a worthy organization, buying merchandise from these animal/conservation/green organizations, or giving a donation in someone’s name. Especially during a recession, these organizations really need our help. Here are some we came up with. Please let us know in the comments if there are others you would recommend:

Save the Frogs. Dr. Kerry Kriger is a one-man frog advocate. Go to the Save the Frogs site to check out all the activities going on there. How about adopting a frog for a frog-loving friend or family member?

Sea Turtle Conservancy. While you are it, why not adopt a sea turtle, too? When you adopt a sea turtle from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, you get a lovely personalized certificate, a plastic turtle, get to name the turtle, track where the turtle is online, and it all comes in a beautifully designed folder. This makes a really nice gift—Susan and I have given them to friends and family.

Continuing the herpetological theme, The Sea Turtle Restoration Project has some really nice sea turtle items. Who needs a Lacoste polo when you can get one of these nifty sea turtle polo shirts. Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go toward sea turtle conservation:

The National Wildlife Federation. The NWF has some great gifts: cards, plush animals, plant-a-tree jewelry, books, and so on. Here’s a book we liked for the gardeners in your family. It’s full of information about gardening for wildlife (including our amphibian friends), as well as information about everything you need to know to create a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Consider supporting Heifer International. This makes a great group gift from a school, Scout troup, church, or synagogue. It’s a fun and meaningful project for kids to raise enough money to buy, for example, a gift of a heifer ($500). When a family receives a cow, every morning there’s a glass of rich milk for the children to drink before heading off to school. Classes are paid with the income from the sale of milk, and there’s even enough to share with the neighbors. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing, and home improvement. Less expensive gifts include a “Flock of Hope” ($60).


image courtesy of Heifer International

Support your local animal shelter. Animal shelters need volunteers to walk dogs, socialize cats, raise funds, etc. Of course, you might end up with a new member of the family, just in time for the holidays. An alternative to bringing an animal home is to sponsor a special-needs animal from the North Shore (NY) Animal League or another shelter.

So many of our posts this past year came from Conservation Organization’s Lost Frog Campaign. They are doing wonderful work around the world to save amphibians. While they don’t have a store, you can donate money to honor someone and they will send a personalized e-card.

You might want to Adopt an Acre for someone (from The Nature Conservancy). Here’s one we liked: an acre in Costa Rica, where “howler monkeys greet the break of dawn with a thunderous roar while scarlet macaws wing over treetops as the sun begins its slow trek across the sky. The rainforest is alive with a wealth of magnificent plant and wildlife, including jaguar, puma, sloths, tapirs, poison-dart frogs and four species of monkey.”

Adopt an Acre in Costa Rica

The Farm Sanctuary. I visited The Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, with my family last fall and I can’t imagine a more bucolic place, with the most contented animals I’ve ever seen. We felt as if we were in a children’s picture book, but it was real. This organization provides a lifetime sanctuary for rescued and abused farm animals. Here’s their store, with books, apparel, etc.

A happy pig at the Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY. Photo by Mary Jo Rhodes

Give your support to other less well known organizations: We were moved by last week’s guest post about The Beautiful Frog Association’s efforts in the Czech Republic to save the European Green Toad. Why not help support this cause or another cause that isn’t a household name, where your money will make a big impact? Some other causes we’ve featured on Frogs Are Green: Global Amphibian Blitz, Amphibian Rescue and Conservation ProjectThe Endangered Western Leopard Toad (South Africa), and The Frog Caller.

We would also appreciate any help you can give us here at Frogs Are Green. This year, for example, our kids’ art contest really took off. We’ve received entries from children all over the world, and we’re proud that we have been able to spread our message to so many new people. How about buying a few wristbands as stocking stuffers for your frog-loving friends or family, or buying one of our lovely posters, 2012 calendar, or the Ribbit t-shirt below? Your purchase will help us as we develop our offshoot organization, Frogs Are Green Kids.

Please enjoy a lovely, stress-free, and GREEN holiday!


Guest post: Saving Toads in the Czech Republic

We were so excited to receive this guest post and photography from Jan Knizek in the Czech Republic. Please read about the efforts of Krásná žába, o.s. [Beautiful Frog Association] to help preserve the breeding area of the European Green Toad.

European Green Toad portrait


Krásná žába, o.s. [Beautiful Frog Association] is a non-profit organisation that was founded with the aim to save one of few rare areas in Prague, Czech Republic, where European Green Toads can still breed.

2 month old baby toad


In 2010, we had discovered a dwindling but still surviving population of the toads at a future building site, in an area where the toads once proliferated. However, due to development projects like the one we are currently fighting to stop, their population has been continually displaced.

Discovering a small surviving population of these admirable animals, which had practically disappeared from here years ago, was a great and joyful surprise, and we are determined to do everything we can to save their last remaining breeding ground in the area, which is vital to the survival of the animals.

Stopping a development project involves a lot of effort. We need to convince local authorities that giving preference to the environment over a developer’s interest is vital in this case, last but not least because the European Green Toad is on the IUCN red list of endangered species and protected within the EU. Bringing about the destruction of the local population of toads by wrecking its breeding ground would be a crime.

amplexus green toad


We have therefore filed an application to have the area listed as a place of significant environmental interest and supplied authorities with plenty of photos and documents to prove that the green toad population is indigenous (i.e. it has not been attracted to the area only after the building site had been set up), and that the development project is in breach of the law and needs to be stopped.

We are also in close cooperation with the Czech TV Channel (Česká televize) who have made a documentary on the issue and aired it on the national TV Channel 1.

We have also found support amongst local people who took part in a charity musical event we organised to help us fund our activities, since many of them do know the area very well and are interested in its preservation for a whole range of reasons, last but not least the toads.

Organisations supporting our activities include the Czech Union for Nature Conservation (ČSOP) who have also provided a little financial contribution to our association.

Once we achieve an official recognition of the site as a natural reserve, we are planning on maintaining it in a condition that would be ideal for breeding of the local European Green Toads who come here every spring to lay eggs in seasonal pools of rain water. Preventing access of traffic and any adverse intervention into the toad’s natural habitat is vital. Another important thing is further education of local people who absolutely should be aware of how precious an area they live in.

So far we’ve been addressed by a number of organisations who were curious to know more about what we do, including an environmentally-focused youth club interested in a lecture on this local issue.

We have encountered displeasure on the part of some local authorities and developers, but we have also encountered a lot of interest and support amongst local people who would feel badly betrayed if the local government preferred financial interests (i.e. the developers’) over public welfare, an indispensable part of which is protection of the environment and conservation of nature.

croaking male green toad


At the beginning, there was an unsightly building site and a development project in progress. Local people were unaware of any problem and authorities were reluctant to listen.

At the moment, there is still an unsightly building site, but a part of the development project has been suspended and another part of it reduced so that the toad’s breeding ground we are most concerned about would not be affected. Many locals know about the European Green Toad now, have educated themselves about the development project, and are in support of our activities. Authorities have started communicating with us and have actually shown the first spark of interest in supporting our cause.

In the future, we hope there will be a beautiful green area where local people can come on a warm spring evening to sit and listen to the melodic croak of this exceptionally beautiful toad, smell the flowers and trees, and enjoy a small oasis of nature in the middle of a bustling city – that is our mission.

You can find more information about the European Green Toad and our activities at our website.

And if you have any questions, you are of course welcome to contact us any time.

tadpole microterritories green toad

flighting male green toads