Happy Earth Day!

We are happy to announce the winner of our first FROGS ARE GREEN Earth Day contest, in which we asked people to send in ideas about how to help the environment, using the following words as inspiration: renew, rebuild, reconnect, or rethink. We received lots of great ideas and it was tough picking a winner, but without further ado, the winner is:

Dee Dee DisBennett

Her winning entry is a way to reuse dump truck tires as raised beds to grow tomatoes:

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.

We liked this idea because tire disposal is a huge environmental problem. Landfills won’t accept them and so using one as a raised bed seemed like a great idea to us!


Sample tire planters

We got lots of other great ideas. Honorable mention goes to the following people:

Katie Matz suggests that teachers use both sides of the paper before recycling so that the paper filling up recycling bins would be used completely. She also suggested that teachers send assignments and receive homework via email to save paper.  As she says, “Less paper equals more trees, more trees equals more wild life living in rainforests, including those cute and slimy frogs.” We agree!

Lisa Crain-Butler: Lisa suggested ideas for celebrating her daughter’s Earth Day birthday (happy birthday, Madalie!), including planting a tree, giving her a set of gardening tools, and creating a birthday garden. She also has great ideas for reusing cans and other materials.

Kristine Garcia: Kristine’s idea is to skip the mall and go to a park instead and make it fun by creating nature scavenger hunts. We all definitely need to spend less time in the mall and more time outside so this is a great idea!

Alka Mehta suggests creating an environmental club to build a pond for frogs, educate people about not using chemicals in their school, workplace, or home, and performing a play or making a video about environmental topics. (Maybe a FROGS ARE GREEN club!)

Trish Szymanski suggests forming neighborhood associations to remove those items that can’t be left curbside for recycling. This is a big problem in cities. I have a whole basement full of this type of material.

Linda Labowitz suggests saving lids from plastic bottles and using them for drainage at the bottom of flower containers. Mix compost and potting soil to put on the top of plastic lids. I’m going to try this with my garden plants.

Nancy Rielle suggest reducing paper waste by sending paperless e-cards. She points out that 7 billion paper cards are sold annually in the U.S. That’s a lot of paper!

Robin Rhodes suggests spending more time in the natural world. Say good morning to trees and plants, talk to the birds, pray with the wind. As she says, relationship is one way to increase your connection and commitment to nature.

Our ideas:

Mary Jo’s idea: I have an old-fashioned idea. Buy or make a bird bath and put it in your backyard. Our grandparents often had bird baths, yet so few people seem to have them now (at least around where I live). I love watching birds splash and drink in the bird baths in my backyards. Birds need water (and other creatures, like bees, do too). It’s such a simple way to reconnect with nature. Just be sure to pour fresh water in every day and clean out your bird bath every couple of weeks. Perhaps tires could be reused as bird baths!

Susan’s ideas:
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…

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…

We would like to send to honorable mentions a few of our postcards of a red-eyed tree frog and a wristband. If you’re interested, please send your address to us.

Even if you didn’t enter the contest, we’d love to receive your ideas. Feel free to suggest some more ways to renew, reuse, reconnect, rethink, rebuild or recycle in the comments section.

And be sure to go outside today and enjoy nature—wherever you live!


Celebrate Earth Day & Enjoy PLANET EARTH For FREE!

We’ve blogged about the spectacular new nature series LIFE, a Discovery channel/BBC co-production, which airs on Sundays at 8 e/p. This past week we were contacted by BBC Earth to help spread the word that in celebration of Earth Day, the  award-winning Discovery Channel/BBC Earth series Planet Earth will be available on iTunes in HD with a special, one-time free episode download (“Pole to Pole”) from April 12-26, 2010.  Here’s some information about the episode from BBC Earth website:

PLANET EARTH’s premiere episode, “Pole to Pole,” ties the series together with a fresh understanding of how life in every nook and cranny of the globe is connected — from the highest mountains and darkest caves; shallowest water and deepest oceans; ice-covered lands and great plains; untamed jungles and giant forests; to freshwater and the harshest deserts. The sunward tilt of Earth’s orbit dictates all our lives, creating the seasons that trigger one of the greatest spectacles in the world — the mass migration of animals. It’s a unique view of the majesty of our planet and the amazing creatures that live here.

Planet Earth garnered legions of fans and universal critical acclaim with Oprah Magazine saying, “It is the most beautiful, wondrous and truly majestic series – the best thing I’ve ever seen on TV.”



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