Newsletter #7 - September 2021

Hi folks,

It's official: LeapFrog Design had its 2nd birthday this summer. Of course, we didn't see the pandemic on the horizon when we incorporated two years ago. And even in March of 2020, as we headed to Peru for field testing, we were unaware of how COVID-19 would affect our company and all of our lives. However, in spite of the pandemic and the dramatic pivots it forced us to make, we have a lot to celebrate.

We have successfully completed our year-long R&D contract with the National Science Foundation and are getting our first fully manufactured prototypes off the production line from our OEM partner, Orenco. With support from Business Oregon, we are using these new models to expand our field testing efforts. And thanks to the investment from Elevate Capital's state-supported Gap Fund, we have been able to expand our team as well.

Looking ahead, as the western drought stretches on, we prepare for market pilots in advance of next year's sure-to-be hot and dry summer. Check out more details on all our current developments below.

— Adam

Field testing continues

The plants in our ecological treatment system are simply thriving. Canna Lily flowers are blooming and even our mascot is perfectly at home—confirming that our system does indeed provide value and beauty in real-world conditions. We continue to incorporate insights from field testing into prototyping as we prepare our market-ready product.

Moving forward with manufacturing

Our manufacturing partner, Orenco, is fabricating and delivering our first prototype ready for mass production. Very excited to work with the team at Orenco, with their diverse manufacturing processes and expertise they are ready to meet our needs at every stage.

Growing our team

Jackson is leading development on our remote monitoring and management system. With a background in environmental engineering, he also contributes to research and product development. Raised in California, Jackson understands first-hand the challenges of drought and water scarcity in our country.

Jaemie is our new research assistant, conducting water quality testing and analysis and helping manage all our experiments in both the greenhouse and field testing locations.

Summer internship success

We were lucky to be sponsored by the VertueLab Internship Program this summer, which accelerated the development of our remote monitoring and management system while providing a local Oregon student with practical experience and advanced training in their field of study. Our intern, Alyssa, worked on a web app that allows homeowners to monitor their treatment systems and track their water savings each month.

What we're enjoying

Circle of Blue informs global audiences about the growing competition between water, food, and energy in a changing climate. Check out their articles, podcasts, and more.

Guardians of the River shares why removing dams along the Klamath River is critical for restoring healthy environment, clean water, food sovereignty, and justice.

Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers a fresh perspective on invasive species that examines how climate change, habitat destruction, and contemporary land use contribute to their proliferation, and how we can better manage them through holistic, permaculture-inspired practices.

The Overstory is a meditation on our separation from nature and the interconnected experiences of a few people who come together to prevent the destruction of forests.

GroCycle sells a variety of mushroom-growing kits to help you grow your own gourmet mushrooms at home

Featured plant

Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is a tropical water-loving plant that looks great in pots beside sunny patios or porches. Ancient Egyptians famously used Papyrus to make paper, but also sandals, baskets, and entire boats. Interestingly, Papyrus does not grow true leaves, so its green stems do all the work of photosynthesis. In the right conditions, it can grow almost 15 feet high!