Art for the Rainforest: Ann Kruglak’s Artistic Mission

Ann Kruglak
Parrot Clock by Ann Kruglak
Chameleon Clock by Ann Kruglak

Ann Kruglak of Boulder, Colorado, uses art to follow her passion of rainforest conservation. Through the creation of vibrant, fanciful, and eco-friendly pieces, Ann expresses her love of nature and manifests her desire to protect the world’s last rainforests. The sale of her artwork, which is made from polymer clay, glass, and other natural materials, has helped protect more than one thousand acres of rainforest, as all the proceeds from her rainforest projects are donated to Rainforest Trust.

“I see this work as a cooperative effort between myself and the earth, through the materials and guidance it provides,” said Kruglak. “All proceeds go to charities that benefit humanity and the earth.”

Rather than use a kiln at 1000-2000 degrees for several hours to dry her artwork, Kruglak has adopted an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient process that requires only the use of a conventional oven for twenty minutes. The lower temperature of a conventional oven allows Kruglak to incorporate many types of materials, such as metal, glass, wood, stone, bone, fabric, plastic, and even paper, into her work.

Kruglak’s artwork and her passion for rainforests have inspired others in a variety of ways. People have shown support by purchasing her works, collecting and donating raw materials, as well as sponsoring exhibits and workshops.

“Art has touched me deeply all of my life, and I have come to realize that is because beauty is a reflection of divinity. I create art because it connects me to my spiritual center, and the greater mystery of the universe. My dearest hope is that my art will serve that same purpose for others and inspire them to bring their gifts of service into the world,” said Kruglak.

Kruglak’s art is characterized by its playful and inspirational nature, which draws on bright colors and whimsical designs to lift the spirits of its viewers. Her work has been displayed in Colorado galleries, in juried shows and festivals, and in publications such as The Polymer Arts Magazine, Polymer Revolution, and American Style Magazine.

Kruglak’s current project, aptly entitled “Time to Save the Rainforest,” has resulted in the creation of a series of rainforest-themed ceramic clocks. These clocks expand on her previous work which has included jewelry, home decoration, and other art pieces. You can visit Kruglak’s web site or her Etsy shop to purchase her artwork.

Winners of Earth Day 2013 Art Contest

1st place Susie Grady1st Place: Susie Grady
2nd place brittany rininge2nd Place: Brittany Rininger
3rd place chloe burch3rd Place: Chloe Burch

To mark Earth Day 2013, Rainforest Trust sponsored an art contest for high school students in Warrenton, Virginia. We challenged the students to demonstrate their understanding of Earth Day through artistic expression. Submissions were judged last Friday and we now have our winners. Our congratulations go to the following students:

1st Place: Susie Grady
2nd Place: Brittany Rininger
3rd Place: Chloe Burch
Honorable Mention: Raven Grandberry

To celebrate Earth Day, we have donated six acres of rainforest in honor of our winners. As an added bonus, the first place winner won a gift basket of eco-friendly goodies.

Many of the entrants came from Fauquier High School located near our office in northern Virginia. Dawn Brown, who teaches art classes at Fauquier High, threw her support behind Rainforest Trust’s  contest and encouraged her students to participate. To prepare submissions, students researched rainforest ecosystems, chose suitable subjects, and created their work using a variety of mediums, including: paints, crayons, and colored pencils.

The finished artwork was judged by Nikki Whipkey, Professor of Art at George Mason University and Adjunct Professor at NOVA Loudoun Campus.

The level of creativity, insight, and concern demonstrated in all entries was impressive and we want to commend each participant for their artistic efforts.

To learn more about ways that students and school groups have made a difference, visit our  Rainforest Ambassadors (formerly, Kids 4 Rainforest) page, which includes success stories and ideas for future projects.

Check out all of the entries on flickr!

Rainforest Trust Partner Rainforest Site Reaches $100,000 Donation Mark

Blue-throated Macaw
Golden Poison Frog

A milestone in Rainforest Trust’s partnership with the Rainforest Site was reached last week as contributions from the online organization passed the $100,000 mark. Support from the Rainforest Site, which has been a Rainforest Trust partner since 2008, has helped protect thousands of acres of imperiled tropical forests. These acres have been instrumental in providing critical refuge for endangered animals like the Golden Poison frog and the Blue-throated macaw, among other fast-disappearing species.

The Rainforest Site, which is owned by GreaterGood.org, harnesses the internet’s potential in a simple way that makes protecting the environment as easy as a mouse click. By opening a link that includes advertisements from site sponsors, visitors generate advertising revenue which is then donated towards rainforest conservation. The Rainforest Site also supports Rainforest Trust by featuring buy-an-acre appeals that allow visitors to learn about current campaigns while donating to Rainforest Trust projects.

On reaching the $100,000 mark, Liz Baker, Executive Director of GreaterGood.org, said that, “GreaterGood.org is thrilled to partner with an organization whose good work makes such a real and meaningful impact for our planet. Rainforest Trust ensures protection for a diverse array of plant and animal life.”

About the Rainforest Site
Founded in 2000, the Rainforest Site is dedicated to protecting the world’s rainforests. The site has saved thousands of acres of tropical forests each year from destruction. In addition to receiving donations, the Rainforest Site helps fund conservation projects through the sale of fair-trade and environmentally friendly items. The site is one of eight managed by GreaterGood.org; each is directed towards a specific goal, ranging from hunger to literacy. GreaterGood.org has campaigned successfully for a variety of environmental, health and humanitarian concerns in the past.

A Mistake Not to Make With One of the World’s Most Poisonous Frogs

Lucy Cooke
Lucy Cooke
Golden Poison Frog

The following story was written by Lucy Cooke and featured online for the digital media company, TakePart. Lucy joined Rainforest Trust CEO, Dr. Paul Salaman, in February 2013 on a trip to the new “Rana Terribilis Nature Reserve” in the heart of the Colombian Chocó region, eventually coming face-to-face with one of the world’s deadliest creatures. Lucy is an award-winning doc filmmaker, best-selling author, National Geographic explorer, zoologist, TV presenter, blogger, and frog lover.

heart of the Colombian Chocó regio

 

I press an inky thumb down on the disclaimer. The soldier has clearly explained the dangers: This is a high-risk area for malaria and yellow fever, so I must watch out for being attacked by mosquitoes, not to mention lethal, aggressive bushmaster snakes and guerrillas. Not the furry kind.

It’s January 2013 and I’m in Colombia’s wild west: a forgotten land of steamy jungles and hot politics. For decades this has been the centre of Colombian conflict, kidnap, and cocaine as warring factions of guerrillas fight over control of coca plantations and illegal goldmines.

Pandas might be cute, but they can’t cure cancer. However, frogs might.

This is my most dangerous expedition yet, and there seem to be a dozen ways to die. But who would have predicted that an amphibian would be what nearly kills me?

My mission is to find one of the world’s most toxic animals. No, not Paris Hilton, but a small banana-colored frog no bigger than my thumb, whose skin contains enough poison to kill two bull elephants.

Phyllobates terriblis, the golden poison frog, lives in an amphibian El Dorado—the wettest place on Earth. Everyone talks about saving the Amazon, but it’s the soggy Choco forest that harbors the world’s greatest biodiversity; it’s home to almost ten percent of the world’s species. Many, like terriblis, are found nowhere else.

It’s no place to be without a seriously savvy guide, and I’m joining Dr. Paul Salaman of Rainforest Trust and Alonso Quevedo, president of ProAves, two of the only conservationists fighting to save this rich but troubled land.

Paul and Alonso are my heroes. Not only are they braving a war zone to save an extraordinary endangered species, but they’re also doing it on precious little funding. Frogs might be my greatest passion, but saving them isn’t considered sexy. Studies have shown that the charismatic mega-fauna—pandas and polar bears—command 500 times more conservation money than animals like endangered amphibians.

This has always struck me as shortsighted. Pandas might be cute, but they can’t cure cancer. However, frogs might. The toxins they produce are blueprints for cures for everything from HIV to Alzheimer’s. Almost half of the $640 billion pharmaceutical industry is based on natural genetic diversity. And much of it from unfuzzy micro-fauna like frogs and fungi.

Which is why Professor John Daly, a sort of Indiana Jones of chemists, came in search of the legendary terriblis back in the 1970s. He’d heard how the local Embera Indians used a frog to poison their darts—which remained capable of killing a jaguar up to two years later.

When he discovered terriblis, he noted its skin secretions “made strychnine [pesticide used to kill rodents and small birds] look like table salt.” The secretions are now being developed as a local analgesic and a cure for arrythmia.

During his expedition, Daly took great care to dispose of anything that had touched the frog, but the next morning the rubbish bin was strewn with several dead chickens and a dead dog. Handling something so deadly is a dangerous game. Even experts have accidents. Let alone amateurs like me.

I always have a rush of adrenalin whenever I find a frog. But handling terriblis for the first time is in a different class. My heart feels like it might burst out of my chest, and my hands, protected by rubber gloves, are shaking. I feel like I’m holding a loaded gun.

But terriblis is as beautiful as he’s deadly. And I’m struck by how sad it is that an animal that’s evolved such a unique defence system now needs to be protected or face extinction in less than 15 years.

Tears start rolling down my face and without thinking I go to wipe them away. Everyone screams, “STOP!” My gloved hand, hovering an inch from my eye, is covered in the most potent neurotoxin known to man. A microgram entering my blood stream would kill me. In three minutes flat.

My stomach shrinks and the prickle of fear flashes under my skin as I realise what an incredibly close shave I’ve just had. But the irony does not escape me, and I can’t help but laugh with relief. Death from an outpouring of amphibian love would be a particularly tragic way for this frog fan to go.

Want to learn more about the golden poison frog?

Click here to watch Dr. Paul Salaman discuss the importance of the golden poison frog.

Click here to read the original article.

Click here to read more about how you can help save the golden poison frog.

expound on the importance of this project while holding the world’s deadliest animal in his hands!  – See more at: https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/tropical-rainforest/preventing-extinction-golden-poison-frog/#sthash.KBf6IVIC.dpuf
expound on the importance of this project while holding the world’s deadliest animal in his hands!  – See more at: https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/tropical-rainforest/preventing-extinction-golden-poison-frog/#sthash.KBf6IVIC.dpuf
expound on the importance of this project while holding the world’s deadliest animal in his hands!  – See more at: https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/tropical-rainforest/preventing-extinction-golden-poison-frog/#sthash.KBf6IVIC.dpuf