At the Passaic River Coalition we're doing our part to help Save the Frogs (see yesterday's post to learn about Save the Frogs Day). When our Land Trust preserves undeveloped land along rivers and in wetlands, we're also preserving wildlife habitat. Below is an American Toad found on our recently preserved Decker Tract in Bloomingdale. Despite its suburban location, Willow Hall actually has quite a few amphibious residents because of its proximity to Speedwell Lake. Last summer our interns found American Toads (photo below), Pickerel Frogs, and Southern Leopard Frogs. At the next Board meeting, we'll be discussing adopting landscaping policies that will protect our resident frogs and toads. The photo below of frog eggs was taken at the Stanford Tract in West Milford, a 200+ acre property we are working to preserve. You can help the Passaic River Coalition save the frogs, toads, and many other wild creatures by making a donation to our Land Trust. While state and county funds pay for the land itself, we rely on funding from donors to cover ancillary costs such as surveys and appraisals. Will you help Save a Frog today? Photo Credits: Kelly Halloran, Greg Stavish, and Dana Skwirut. Also, a special thanks to New Jersey Conservation Foundation for telling us about Save the Frogs Day!
Frogs are disappearing! It’s a little-known fact that nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Faced with environmental problems such as pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting, frog populations will continue to decline, causing drastic repercussions for the planet’s ecosystems and human population. . . Unless we do something to help the amphibians! Frogs are important because they are: - an integral part of the food web - bioindicators of pollution in the environment - consumers of ticks, mosquitoes, and other "pests" You can help: - Don't use pesticides - Build a frog pond in your backyard - Conserve water - Eat locally grown, organic food Suggestion for wildlife lovers: Another way you can help save the frogs is to create a Certified Wildlife Habitat. By providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young--and by incorporating sustainable gardening practices--you not only help wildlife, but you also qualify to apply for certification! Visit the Garden for Wildlife site to learn more!
We’ll be the first to tell you that “going green” can take some time. It’s a process where we adjust our lifestyles (or office-style in our case) to be more considerate of the environment. It’s also something which might never be finished as our understanding of the environment continues to grow and new technology becomes affordable. Take our water usage at Willow Hall for example. There are four bathrooms in Willow Hall. When we were almost ready to move in last summer, our plumber informed us that two of the four toilets were broken beyond repair. While this posed a bit of a problem for the staff, it provided an excellent opportunity to install more efficient equipment in the two bathrooms. The apartment toilet is in proper working order (for now) so we’ve decided to hold off on replacing it. The downstairs toilet is another story (see the photo below). Besides that obvious aesthetic issue that the toilet, sink, and bathtub are black and never look clean, the toilet tank is huge and uses at least 5 gallons per flush. (The current standard for toilets is 1.6 gallons per flush and high efficiency toilets use 1.28 gallons or less.) Needless to say, as an organization that works to protect water supplies, we’re not particularly proud of that toilet. But there are plans to replace it with a more efficient toilet when we get funding to make the whole bathroom ADA-compliant. In the future we would also like to upgrade our faucets with more efficient models as well. Like we said, it’s a process. Efficiency is an important component of reducing our water usage. There are some behaviors we can’t stop doing, such as washing our hands or flushing the toilet (unless you have a composting toilet). But we can minimize the impact of those behaviors by using efficient fixtures that let you do the same thing with less water. Though it’s important to note that even with efficient fixtures, 30 minute showers are still a waste of water.
In honor of Earth Day this week (April 22) we’ll be highlighting some of the ways we at the PRC are trying to practice running an environmentally friendly office here at Willow Hall. The official description for our preservation of Willow Hall is an adaptive re-use project. This means that we are preserving a historic site by using for a new purpose. In this case, we took a residential home and now use it as office space while still maintaining its historic integrity. This type of project represents a marriage of historic preservation and sustainability. Demolishing a building that was in fine working order to just build a new one in its place would have been a tremendous waste of resources. By working with what already exists, we conserve natural resources and protect a piece of our heritage.
Apparently, green beans are self pollinating. Which is very good news since Allyson planted the green beans seeds far too early and a few days ago they started blossoming in our greenhouse/bathroom. It's a good thing the frost season should be done soon.
Baby green beans
In other horticultural news, Susan's Hibiscus is blooming again while she is not here.
Summer at the Passaic River Coalition means intern season. This summer we would like to have four college or recent graduate intern with us. The intern descriptions are available on our website. The summer internship is a 10-week full time position with a $2,500 stipend. Interested students should contact Matt Polsky at, email@example.com.