About Us

About A Frog House

Today, the problem of global climate change can be taken for granted, but change can seem inaccessible to the individual. A Frog House makes huge alterations palpable for the greater Rochester community through, you guessed it, frogs! The challenges to and survival patterns of frogs and toads, exploring topics like frogs’ place in the food chain; the impact of pollution and chemicals; and what we can do to help are extremely relevant to all of life. But it’s not all serious at A Frog House; we are also dedicated to learning through play at our charming house on the Erie Canal, making A Frog House a nature destination for the whole family and an easy way to get kids involved in nature.

Vision

Our vision is to encourage and assist Pittsford to become a model community with kindness and compassion toward all. We would like to see an enlightened practice of maintaining chemical free properties, clean wetlands and water, as well as nitrogen fixing native plants, shrubs, and trees, creating an environment healthy for all life.

Mission Statement

A Frog House is a center for local Advocacy, worldwide Collaboration, and ecological Education.

We offer workshops and events for all ages to learn about the crucial role of frogs in the environment. What helps frogs supports all life.

We focus on wellness for our community, collaborating with others interested in ecosystems and, in particular, mental health.

We believe every small collective action for the mighty and important frog can bring big results for our world.

Values

In agreement with Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, we support respect, inclusion, nonpartisanship, collaboration, science, and are committed to social, racial, environmental, and intergenerational justice.

Founder

Margot Fass

A Frog House founder, Margot Fass, is an activist, artist, author, educator, presenter and psychiatrist.

Endangered species, especially frogs, are her passion. Her deep awareness and celebration of the cycles of life, the planet, and its organisms, are reflected in writings about wetland adventures in south and central American countries; her whimsical illustrated children’s book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic; and in her many paintings of frogs seen regionally.

Euphoric for frogs, Margot and her infectious enthusiasm touch children and adults through presentations in schools and organizations, and in every opportunity for public presence. Her lively frog clothes, hat to socks, belie her sophisticated activism, and she works with local politicians and governments in the protection of wetlands and prevention of destructive development. In just a year under her leadership, A Frog House has engaged hundreds of regional supporters to help implement significant protection of our regional environment.

She hopes her work will bring joy, healing and raise consciousness about the preciousness of each unique life.

https://mlfassmd.com/
https://frog-artist.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AFrogHouse
https://www.facebook.com/frogbooks/

Board Members

A picture of Jane G. Coggshall McConnochie, PhD

Jane G. Coggshall McConnochie, PhD

Jane has spent much of her career conducting research, evaluation, and policy analysis focused on preK-12 teaching and learning. As a Principal Researcher at the American Institutes for Research, she provided technical assistance to states and school districts focused on supporting teachers and teaching systemically, equitably, and effectively.

In recent years, she has nursed an abiding interest in native trees and bees, their ecology, biology, culture, and care, and seeks to share that learning with others through high quality educational programming and hands-on habitat restoration projects.

She is a member of the executive council of the Burroughs Audubon Nature Club, the Science Action coordinator for the Park Road Elementary School PTSA, and is a mom of two school-aged boys who (sometimes) tolerate regular family hikes in the woods and wetlands of the greater Rochester area and beyond.

Robert Corby

Robert Corby is a graduate of the Syracuse University School of Architecture and served as the mayor of Pittsford Village from 1993 to 2021. During his tenure as mayor he used his professional experience in architecture, historic preservation, and planning to revive the village’s historic waterfront mill district, integrate preservation into the village’s planning policies, and enhance the village’s public realm.
 
Before his tenure ended, he successfully got 10 acres of Village land declared parkland by New York State, plant x of indigenous trees and x native shrubs, now named the Robert C. Corby Arboretum and Wildlife Habitat by the board of trustees. He  also has functioned on the Executive Board of the New York Conference of Mayors for the last fifteen years. The successful results of Corby’s leadership have garnered numerous awards for the Village. In 2014, the City Mayors Foundation of London named Corby a “Mayor of the Month.”  

He continues to involve himself in the things he loves, such as architecture, the environment, history, and geology.  

Sandra Frankel

The Honorable Sandra Frankel’s credentials include serving as Brighton, New York Town Supervisor from 1992 through 2011. As Supervisor, in partnership with the community, she led the effort to create a town-wide park system. She enlisted the Genesee Land Trust to help negotiate the acquisition of Corbett’s Glen property for a nature park. She negotiated the acquisition of open space in the heart of town for the Brickyard Trail at the Sandra L. Frankel Nature Park, rich with flora, fauna, and history.  These are just two of the eight Brighton public parks and trails on more than 500 acres, proposed, developed, and/or nurtured during her tenure.  She understands that the one of the best ways to protect wildlife, preserve nature, and contribute to the mental and physical health of the community is to create public parks for active and passive recreation and to preserve sensitive environmental areas. Sandra’s interest in the arts (she is an excellent photographer), the environment, and progressive ideas makes her perfect to lend her name as a member of the Board of A Frog House.  She also serves on several community boards and has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. You can still see her keynote speech at our Save the Frogs Day Nature Symposium, which illustrates her commitment to our mission.

 https://afroghouse.org/a-great-leap/, Part III – Government and Sustainability videos.

Bonnie Garner

Bonnie has too many credentials to do more than list! B.S. degree from Lock Haven University, M.S. from Syracuse University, M.S in Administration from Brockport U, taught at Brighton and Pittsford School Districts, retired as Assistant Superintendent of Technology in 2017 after more than 20 years at Fairport BOCES #1, was integral in installing the Challenger Learning Center at RMSC and also subsequently the BUBL Lab at the RMSC.

Recently widowed, Bonnie will continue to enjoy the many church, arts and theater programs that she and Jack supported. Thank you and bless you, dear Jack, for bringing not only your own talents, but Bonnie’s as well, to Rochester in 1970. You are both treasures.

Consultants

­­Bonnie Abrams 

After retiring, Bonnie Abrams performed frog songs at the first Froggy Birthday Party. It was this magical place that coaxed Bonnie out of retirement to become the Event Manager at A Frog House.

Bonnie is perfectly prepared for this task. Upon graduating from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, with a BS in Biology. She worked there as an environmental biologist for three years. 

Changing careers, she enjoyed winemaking with Constellation Brands for 27 years. Bonnie volunteered at the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information (CHAI) of the Jewish Federation of Rochester, performing original songs about her parents’ Holocaust experiences.

She took over the Directorship of CHAI in 2007 until her retirement in 2020,  planning community events and teaching young people to become changemakers.  What more could we ask for? 

 

­­Katherine Denison

Katherine Denison is a wildlife advocate, book designer, and social activist. Katherine designed Margot’s first book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic, and enlisted again for both skills and interests, Katherine is an essential right hand as A Frog House designer of promotional materials, writer, and planner.

Katherine’s ardor for environmental survival compelled her to walk with rangers in the rugged terrain of Tanzania and Kenya to better understand the possibilities and desperate challenges in standing against extinction. First focused on the larger companions on the planet—elephants, rhinos, gorillas, bears, and wolves—now Katherine, seeing the chain of loss from the tiniest to the huge, brings zeal to stopping the extinction of amphibian life and aiding the survival of the essential, delightful, and dangerously diminished creatures we serve at A Frog House.

Matthew Fass

Matthew Fass has built all of Margot’s web sites, keeps her extensive digital portfolio online, and maintains Margot’s current presence on afroghouse.org.

Matthew lives in Kingston, NY and works at as a digital asset manager at Scenic Hudson  and is the lead programmer for Thinking Partners in Red Hook, NY.

Matthew is an accomplished accordionist, specializing in (but certainly not limited to) Balkan music. He and his lively groups keep audiences on their feet and on their toes, dancing to this joyous, humorous and heart-rending music.

When we’re lucky enough to nab him on a visit home, he plays for A Frog House events, charming both adults and youngsters. Likely you’ve guessed, Margot and Martin Fass are Matthew’s parents.

Dr. Kerry Kriger

Dr. Kerry Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, the world’s leading amphibian conservation organization. He conceived Save The Frogs Day, the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action, and has given over 430 presentations on amphibian conservation in 20+ countries.

Dr. Kriger holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. He is a recognized expert on the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, a topic on which he has published 20 articles in peer-reviewed international scientific journals.

Dr. Kriger’s amphibian conservation efforts have been supported by the National Geographic Society, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Patagonia, and various philanthropic organizations throughout the world. Dr. Kriger is also the Founder of Nonprofit ICU, through which he provides consulting and mentorship to nonprofit executives.

Belen Patiño 

Belen is a recent graduate from RIT with a bachelor’s degree in Law and an MS in Business Management. Belen is a bilingual volunteer from Ecuador who is passionate about animals, the environment, and an eco-friendlier world. She is a happy person that loves the sense of community and advocacy for great causes. She helps with the transformation of the wildlife habitat at A Frog House and also plans and organizes some of our must fun events!

Advisors

Lindsay Graham

Lindsay Graham is founder and owner of Car Pal National Car Buying Service. Car Pal saves considerable money for clients who want new or used car purchases (and new car leases). Lindsay is known for her sharp mind, loving soul and witty engagement with her community. Lindsay offers both the land and building for her mother Margot’s newest project, A Frog House.

Occasionally Lindsay opens the doors to her own home on the property, and AFH visitors must guard against stepping on her tiny Maltese pup, Busby. (Busby barks ferociously when people arrive, and then hides, safe inside Lindsay’s roomy jacket, for the duration). Lindsay is a superb matchmaker, bringing social and political change makers, engaged people, and surprising resources to A Frog House. It couldn’t happen without her.

Bill Smith

As Pittsford Town Supervisor since 2013, and previously as town councilman, Bill Smith has advocated for strong community environmental policies. He helped implement Pittsford’s Greenprint Plan, preserving farmland; and led the designation of the town as a New York State Clean Energy Community. He also established a town solar energy program. If it weren’t for his commitment to the regional wetland ecology, dedication to our mission, and cordial good humor, we’d have to call him William.