05/8/15

Frog Art in Jersey City – City Hall Rotunda

The last few months have been very exciting. The international children’s frog art is taking over Jersey City! The next exhibition is up now inside Jersey City’s City Hall Rotunda. It will be up until May 30th and the opening reception is May 20, 2015 at 6-8 PM EST. (You can visit weekdays and weekends, just see the event page for the hours.)

I’m reaching out because I expect the city will send the video team (JC1TV) and they would love it if the students whose work is on the walls could be at the reception. So, if you are one of the students that entered and won, or you don’t live too far away, please join us on May 20th!

3rd Place Winner, Cynthia Cao, USA, Frogs Are Green Kids Art Contest, Best Environmental Art

3rd Place Winner, Cynthia Cao, USA, Frogs Are Green Kids Art Contest, Best Environmental Art

Here’s the link to see all the winning artworks:
https://frogsaregreen.org/winners-of-the-2014-frogs-are-green-kids-art-contest/

Here’s the event for May 20th on Facebook, so you can join and follow the details:
https://www.facebook.com/events/790874864334035/

Here’s a link to all the Frogs Are Green events planned for 2015.
https://frogsaregreen.org/about/events/

06/27/14

Learning About Zero Waste in Jersey City

Did you know that each person produces 4.4 lbs of waste per day? Can Jersey City move towards “Zero Waste?”

Yesterday, I attended the “Jersey City Moving Towards Zero Waste Conference” in City Hall and I have to say it was an eye-opening experience. The speakers and panel discussions were informative and I learned about what some of my fellow citizens are doing right here in Jersey City, as well as what is being done elsewhere.

Mayor Steven Fulop started off the conference by talking about how important this topic is and his commitment to doing what he can and I will say that the food and beverages provided for the event were accompanied by a composting bucket and two separate clearly marked waste barrels.

The Mayor introduced Judith Enck, the Regional Administrator of Region 2 of the U.S. EPA, and we learned about initiatives around the country and the world in comparison to what we aren’t yet doing here. I know that the trash is a problem across this city and something has to be done to change people’s behavior. It’s not enough for a few people to care, but we have to change the way people think about trashing their own neighborhoods, as if there’s someone behind them ready to pick it up. There isn’t.

Did you know that the Jersey City trash is picked up and shipped out of state by rail cars? What a waste of time, effort and fuel.

Here’s a current tv commercial playing about recycling from the “Keep America Beautiful” campaign:


 

Maybe we need a “Keep Jersey City Beautiful” or “Jersey City Proud” brand campaign?

The speakers were: Debra Italiano, Founder and Chair of SustainableJC; PJ Wasinger, Upcycle Jersey City Artist; April Buther Wennestrom, Director, Affiliate Services, Keep America Beautiful; Dennis Whittinghill, Urban Farm Expert, and DamagedWear; Albe Zakes, VP of Communications, TerraCycle; Eric Silverman, Principle, Silverman; Aaron Klein, CEO, Greener Corners; Dale J. Carpenter, Chief Sustainable Materials Management, EPA Section 2; Gary Sondermeyer, VP of Operations, Bayshore Recycling Corp.; Sondra Flite, Environmental Specialist III, Bureau of Recycling and Planning, Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste; and Norman M. Guerra, CEO, Hudson County Improvement Authority.

The big topics of the day were recycling (what and how), what some of these companies are doing to spread awareness and get people involved, and composting.

Until yesterday, I had never heard of “Black Soldier Flies.” It’s not the flies themselves that eat the waste, but the larvae. Pretty interesting!

From Wikipedia:

Black Soldier Fly Larvae Composting

320px-Hermetia_illucens_Black_soldier_fly_edit1BSFL composting quickly converts manure or kitchen waste into an organic compost. In a compost bin, it can take only twenty days to start to compost. The resulting compost can be used for soil and fertilizers. After the conclusion of the compost process, the larvae can also be harvested as feed for poultry, chickens, and possibly dogs. On average a household will produce a little under a kg of food waste per day. This food waste can be composted at home using black soldier fly larvae much much faster than worms can do it. The BSFL will eat kilograms of scrap food a night in small composting units, eliminating your food waste before it can even begin to rot. This is probably the fastest composting technique. BSFL often appear naturally in worm bins, composting toilets, or compost bins. They can also be bought online. Without much added cost, these devices could be designed to also harvest BSFL.

About Composting from Wikipedia:

Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria and fungi manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. The ammonium is the form of nitrogen (NH4) used by plants. When available ammonium is not used by plants it is further converted by bacteria into nitrates (NO3) through the process of nitrification.

Compost can be rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses). Organic ingredients intended for composting can alternatively be used to generate biogas through anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is fast overtaking composting in some parts of the world (especially central Europe) as a primary means of downcycling waste organic matter.

— Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green

Are you recycling and composting? Please share what you are doing to keep your neighborhood beautiful.

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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03/23/14

Bringing Earth Day to the Jersey City Community with Green Dream

The stage is set.

Green Dream posters are in shop windows in Jersey City Heights and downtown Hoboken. This week, they will go up in uptown Hoboken and downtown Jersey City. More postcards are on the way and the newspaper advertising is about to begin.

This is all very exciting! Frogs Are Green, an environmental awareness organization, has mostly been an online presence in the last 5 years, so it’s wonderful to see shop owners embrace the cause and smile when they see the poster. They read what the Green Dream exhibition is about, and say, “Wow, how cool, Earth Day… Save the Frogs Day… Yeah!”

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Green Dream is about bringing awareness to the Jersey City community, who may not know what’s happening to frogs on our planet and that frogs everywhere are disappearing. By showcasing selected artworks created by children around the world this April, local schools and after school arts programs in Hudson County will have the rare opportunity of seeing what children in far off lands think about frogs and the environment.

Some of the countries represented in this first exhibition at The Distillery Gallery and Artspace are: Hong Kong, Serbia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Thailand, The Philippines, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lithuania, Macedonia, South Africa, Kenya, Poland, Canada, Sri Lanka, Latvia, India, Indonesia, Australia, Tanzania, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Bahrain.

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I hope you will share this extraordinary event with others and support our Indiegogo fundraiser…there are just 6 days left!

Link to Campaign: http://igg.me/at/green-dream

— Susan Newman, founder, Frogs Are Green

03/2/14

My Green Dream – Children’s Appreciation of the Arts

Each Fall Frogs Are Green hosts a Kids’ Art Contest. It gives me such a thrill when hundreds of children from around the world answer that call.

These children are enrolled in after school art programs. Their parents must realize how important it is to enrich their child’s education and encourage them to express themselves through art.

I grew up in Queens, New York, and my parents enrolled me in ballet and piano lessons, and my father, an accountant by day and an artist by night, would sit with me and teach me how to draw a house or a tree. He was so excited when I chose art as my career and began my higher education at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

My brother and sister and I were introduced to a thriving cultural world. We would get dressed up and head into New York for the circus, Ice Capades, ballet, museums, Broadway theater and opera. This gave me a rounded appreciation for the arts that I still feel.

Is this culture missing in children’s lives today?

I will tell you that the submissions to the 2013 contest yielded 450 entries, but only a few came from the USA. My only conclusion is that children in this country are not being taught arts appreciation the way I was decades ago. Is this due to the digital age of games and apps, or the economy and arts classes/programs being cut? When children spend their days watching TV and playing games that others have created, and they are not learning how to express themselves, this will hurt them later in life. I’m sure of it.

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When I see the artwork that comes in from kids between 3 and 12 from Estonia, Australia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, South Africa, Macedonia, Serbia, India, China and so many other countries it’s clear from their skills that they are not learning just about art but conveying their own personal messages about the state of the environment and how they feel about frogs. The USA is just not seeing how important this ability to self-express is, and so it must change for the next generation.

I’m happy to share that The Distillery Gallery & Artspace in Jersey City, New Jersey does have art classes for kids (as do a few other places here) on Saturday mornings, and it is partnering with Frogs Are Green to bring our “Green Dream” to life and show why children need this education in their lives.

Opening on April 4 and running through April 27, “Green Dream” will be an International Children’s Earth Day Exhibition. It will be the first time Frogs Are Green is showcasing the amazing artwork received over the years. Many of the works will be hung on the walls and a digital projector will show hundreds more. The children in The Distillery art classes will also be showing their frog pictures and are creating flower pots.

kids frog artwork ehibition in jersey city

I hope you will celebrate with us on Earth Day (4.22), Save the Frogs Day (4.26) and join us with your children for this extraordinary event. If you would like to learn more and support this effort to increase environmental awareness and heal the planet, visit the Indiegogo campaign here:

Green Dream – International Children’s Earth Day Exhibition – Indiegogo Campaign

 

 

Video by Brandon Somerton, Filmmaker