Environmental Awareness Organization “Frogs Are Green” Hosts Children’s Art Contest

Earth Day PosterOver the years, Jersey City-based web designer and branding specialist Susan Newman has donated her time and talents to many non-profit organizations like the Actors Shakespeare Company at NJCU, CASID, Hudson Theatre Ensemble, Susan G. Komen Foundation. After some time she started to wonder if she could create an organization to support her own passions: environmentalism and animals.

As a result, she founded the non-profit Frogs Are Green in May 2009. The name comes from her belief that the health of frogs dictate the health of the planet and all its species.

“If you looked around my home you’d know, frog clock, planters, figurines, etc. I just love frogs and have since I was a kid when I’d collect them in cans to observe at camp in the catskills of New York,” said Newman.

Newman’s goal is to bring awareness to a critical situation that, in her opinion, wasn’t getting enough attention. Frogs are threatened by habitat loss, global warming, pollution, and disease.

“Because they breathe and drink through their skin, they are extremely sensitive to an unhealthy environment. Chemicals, pesticides, ozone, and UV are dangerous, even deadly, to them,” said Newman.

Each year Newman collaborates with artists and photographers to create Earth Day posters. So far, they have created about 25 unique designs. Another way that Frogs Are Green creates awareness is by hosting an annual children’s art contest, now in its fourth year.

“I believe that the best way to get children to grow up caring about frogs, nature, wildlife and this planet is to draw them in a fun way and at the same time be teaching them valuable information that will shape how they think later in life,” said Newman. “Kids really love frogs too, so what better way than to get them drawing, painting, and sculpting?”

In 2011 Frogs Are Green received over 525 children’s art pieces from 27 countries. In 2012 the organization received 260; the drop in submissions was due to a change in submission process. People from many countries aren’t able to access photo-hosting website Flickr.

“I have about 80 original artworks from children in China from the 2011 kids’ art contest and I would love to show them in an exhibition. They are outstanding paintings,” said Newman.

Frogs Are Green awards winners based on age in these age groups: 3-6, 7-9, 10-12. In addition, children can win awards in various categories like Best 3D, Most Unusual Artwork, and Best Environmental. The first-place winners will receive a Frogs Are Green Poster of their choice. All entrants receive a downloadable certificate. Deadline for submissions is December 15, 2013, and the winners will be announced January 21, 2014.

Frogs Are Green currently has about 10,000 readers a month, with more than 1,400 Facebook likes and 5,000 Twitter followers. The organization has been featured on the Discovery website and other publications. Newman blogs, accepts guests posts, and also hosts an eco-interview series.

“Let’s build the awareness in New Jersey by getting the science, art teachers and principals teaching students about this important issue, and have them enter!” Said Newman.

Image courtesy of Susan Newman

Laryssa Wirstiuk

is a writer who teaches creative writing at Rutgers University. Born and raised in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, Laryssa moved to Jersey City because she was curious about the city where her mother was raised. Check her blog Craft Your Drafts.