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Trees, animals, birds, plants, forests, mountains, lakes and rivers - everything that exists in Nature are in desperate need of our kindness, of the compassionate care and protection of human beings. If we protect then, they in turn will protect us.

- Amma

Nature as Art - Pumpkin Cake
Frog Cake
Continuing with the theme of Nature as art, Sonali wrote this insightful article on pumpkins.

"To celebrate Halloween, I made a simple pumpkin patch themed cake. I went to a pumpkin patch and used the picture as an inspiration for the pumpkins on the cake. To make the pumpkins, I wrapped orange and white fondant around store bought chocolates. Then, I used a toothpick to create the indents in the side. Lastly, I used green colored fondant and wrapped it around a toothpick to create curly vines. Once the green fondant had dried, I was able to place them around the pumpkins on the cake!

When I was making this cake, it made me wonder: What happens to all those pumpkins used for Halloween?

Shockingly, an estimated 1.3 billion of the 2 billion pumpkins grown in the US each year end up trashed in a landfill. When these scraps decompose in a landfill, they do so without oxygen and release methane instead, one of the greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

How can we avoid Halloween pumpkin waste? One way is to either find a local collection center or zoo that will properly dispose of your used pumpkins. Many zoos accept these donations as they provide nutritional value that many of their animals need. You can also compost your pumpkins, especially if they have mold as it can be potentially harmful to animals.

Additionally, you should clear out all the pumpkin seeds before composting to avoid germination and growing more pumpkins inside. If you don’t have a compost bin, you could let it decompose naturally. If the pumpkin is uncarved, clean out the insides which you can use for cooking or put the seeds into a bird feeder after drying them for birds to enjoy. Remove any decorations from the pumpkin such as candles. Smash your carved pumpkin and let it rest somewhere in your backyard, ideally with sun. Lastly, cover your pumpkin with a coat of leaves or soil and nature will do the rest. The pumpkins will enrich the soil and nourish any other plants nearby once they have broken down."

Source/More information:

https://www.sciencealert.com/an-astonishing-number-of-pumpkins-are-wasted-for-halloween-each-year

https://sustainablefoodcenter.org/latest/gardening/oh-my-gourd-how-to-compost-your-pumpkins

https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2018/10/the-pumpkin-feeding-tradition-at-american-zoos

https://www.dwellsmart.com/pages/how-to-compost-pumpkins

See more nature cakes from past Pacific Northwest GreenFriends newsletters:

Pumpkin Patch

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Nature as Art - Frog Cake
Frog Cake
A cute frog cake surrounded by daisies and colorful mushrooms!

Sonali has contributed to the PNW newsletters with nature based cakes that bring awareness to environmental/ecosystem preservation.

"The decorations for this frog cake were all made from buttercream frosting mixed with different colors of food coloring. I used different frosting piping tips to achieve the mushrooms, bottom grass border, and top star tip border.

My favorite part of this cake is the frog resting on top of the mushroom covered base! I made the frog by shaping fondant into an oval shape, covering it in green buttercream, and adding details like the facial features and limbs. The hardest part of this cake was cutting it and destroying the frog’s serene habitat!

Thankfully, cutting a frog-themed cake doesn’t have any real impact on our ecosystems, but unfortunately, a lot of frog habitats are being destroyed in the real world causing a decline in the frog population. One of the primary causes for this downward trend is due to human activity such as urbanization, industrialization, tourism, mining, oil gas drilling, etc.

Many potential consequences would happen if there were no more frogs. For example, disease outbreaks would be inevitable as mosquito populations would rocket. There would be a lack of nutrients for vegetation if there were a lot of insects living off trees. The food chain would be disrupted, and water in many ecosystems would no longer stay clean if there weren't any tadpoles to feed on the algae.

A few ways you can help save the frogs are by expressing your concern to local, provincial, and federal government representatives; promoting the initiation of captive breeding and national parks; and funding conservation proposals by biologists, evolutionists, and pathologists."

Source/More information: Save the Frogs (friendofthesea.org)

See more nature cakes from past Pacific Northwest GreenFriends newsletters:

Sakura cake Robin cake Bee cake
Sakura cake from the April 2021 newsletter
Robin cake from the August 2021 newsletter
Bee cake from the March 2021 newsletter

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