Make This Leap Day and Leap Year Be About Frogs (click here)

frog photo: by Robin D. Moore
Conservation International's amphibian expert
Conservation International (CI)

Think of frogs on this leap year’s 366th day. These slimy creatures can perform astounding acts of nature. They’re also in deep water because about a third of the world’s amphibians are leaping toward extinction. When an amphibian species disappears from the planet, it’s the equivalent of a smoke alarm blasting out a warning the minute someone strikes a match. That’s because amphibians with their highly permeable skin are ultrasensitive to environmental changes and actually serve as a harbinger of environmental conditions. So when the poison dart frogs of the Costa Rican rainforest or the striking golden mantellas of Madagascar suddenly stop making noise - it’s time to leap into action. Right now we are in the midst of a horrifying decline in amphibian species. As many as 165 species are already extinct and nearly 33% of all amphibian species are near extinction. Even worse many have gone extinct even within protected areas. And it’s not just climate change and pollution that threaten these beautiful creatures, but a raging fungal disease - Chytridiomycosis - also threatens their delicate future.
Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Frogs
1. The world’s largest frog lives up to its name. The Goliath of West Africa grows almost a foot in length, weighs up to 7 pounds, and can easily clear 10 feet in a single hop.
2. Frogs can kill us. The toxin in a single toxic poison dart frog could wipe out 90 humans.
3. Ladies, can’t decide on a guy? A female gray treefrog picks her mate from the pool of water with the fewest predators.
4. The male gladiator frogs of Latin America use spikes on their forearms to mortally wound other competitors during courtship rituals. (Gentlemen, don’t try this at home!)
5. Toads use their eyeballs to help swallow their prey.
6. Certain frogs in deserts "down under" store water in their bladder and pockets of skin. Their "pee" is an important source of hydration for aborigines crossing the arid outback.
7. In California, due to the popularity of "toad licking," it’s illegal to possess Colorado River Toads, which produce a powerful hallucinogen called bufotoxin.
8. Thanks to chemicals that act as an internal "antifreeze," wood frogs can freeze solid and hop away after thawing out.
9. Call them superfrogs. Southeast Asia’s gliding frogs "hang-glide" from tree to tree using extensive webbing between their toes.
10. Talk about incredible births. The Gastric Brooding Frog from Australia, believed to be extinct, incubates tadpoles inside their tummies until they’re fully developed. Baby frogs then come hopping out of the mouth.


Sunflowers draw lead from the ground,
leaving behind more healthier and fertile soil.

Independent Artists Win Oscars

Oscar Winning Song Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

"Falling Slowly" Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
"Falling Slowly" is a tune from Glen and Marketa’s 2006 independent film "Once"...
Based on their true story.... An Irish singer-songwriter (Glen) performing on the streets of Dublin befriends a young Czech immigrant (Marketa) who is selling flowers to support her mother and child. The pair begin a musical collaboration with the hope of producing a marketable demo, working together easily as they skirt the more difficult issue of the unex
pressed attraction that is growing between them.
Glen Hansard:
Thanks! This is amazing. What are we doing here? This is mad. We made this
film two years ago. We shot on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in front of you people. It's been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all the people who've helped us, they know who they are, we don't need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Thanks.
Marketa Irglova:
Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you.


From Planet Drum

Volunteer in an Eco-City this Fall:
Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador!
Planet Drum Foundation is seeking volunteers for its Ecological City projects in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador for durations from a month to five months during May-September 2008.
Work with our unique revegetation project, planting and maintaining native plants to reduce erosion and create habitats for birds and other animals. Join neighborhood efforts to learn and use ecological practices. Help in renewable energy development. Assist bioregional environmental education groups for children and adults. A background in environmental education and activities, Spanish language speaking ability, and cooperative living experience are desirable. However, willing hands and a desire to help restore our damaged biosphere are most important.
(See for background information and up-to-date reports on activities in Eco-Ciudad Bahia.)
Benefits include free accommodation in a large shared apartment, extraordinary beach and wilderness recreational activities, and opportunities to improve Spanish skills as well as
experience tropical Ecuadorian culture.

Please send a description of your qualifications and interests to:
Clay Plager-Unger,
Field Projects Manager,
For questions email Clay at

The Power of The World

The power of the world always works in a circle,
and everything tries to be round.
The sky is round, and the earth is round like a ball,
and so are all the stars.
Birds make their nests in circles.
The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle.
The moon does the same, and both are round.
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing,
and always come back again to where they were.
The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is
in everything where power moves.

Black Elk

Living Lightly on the Earth

This is a "Habitat for Humanity" Home

Living based on an assumption that every human being has a right to an equal share of physical space on this planet, purely by virtue of being human. What follows from this is the motivation to consume only what is one's sh are, as a citizen in equal standing with all on the planet.

Accompanying this is an instinct, from one's own life experience, that standard of living (material wealth) is not the same as quality of life (how happy one is), and that one can therefore lessen one's material wealth while maintaining or increasing quality of life (and many have already done it).

Indeed, a World Bank study of all countries of the world comparing each country's standard of living to its quality of life, shows that there are a significant number of countries whose standard of living is less than that of the US but whose quality of life is equal to or greater than the US .

Living lightly is the juice one gets from knowing that real skill and creativity in life can be more accurately measured by how little one can consume and still genuinely enjoy life rather than by how much one can buy, use up, and throw away. Using ingenuity to fix something instead of replacing it gives a much greater sense of accomplishment than doing tedious or stressful paid work to replace it...
from the Seattle Community Network

...Find me a place in the sunlight to sit and think and listen
to the sweet inner voice that says so quietly, "Peace. Be still."
Joyce Sequichie Hifler