Pittsford Is Becoming Greener

By Margot Fass
February 20, 2021

A Frog House 2021 Events, all on Sundays except for

February 25

Don’t miss the fourth and final webinar on Thursday at 7 pm by A Frog House founder, Margot Fass, called “First Frogs in our own Backyard” in the Pittsford and Penfield Library series “Encouraging Nature in Your Own Backyard.” It is not too late to register here.

See more about the first three presentations at the end of this newsletter, and how these experts have informed our plans and goals, and enhanced our mission.

Featured and this Photo courtesy of Kristin Ward, maker of a Frog Pond in her own backyard.

March 28 and May 23

The minute the newly formed CPG group brought up the subject of liking trees, Margot hopped over to approach Rob Corby about using village forest property, designated as permanent green space and a future arboretum, as the beginnings of a permaculture-inspired garden plot. Patty Love of Barefoot Permaculture joined us as our compass in this exciting project, heading up the education and planning process.

We hope that this space will demonstrate fun practices and sound planting principles that our residents can use on their own properties.  It will encourage native wildlife and insects to return to Pittsford, enriching our region’s biodiversity.  Signage and school trips will provide education for students in the entire Rochester region.

The idea was approved by the village board of trustees, and we have our plant list, permit and insurance in place.

Together, volunteers will create a sustainable tiny forest with appropriate native plants in the future village arboretum. Save the dates for March 28, when Patty will hold a webinar introduction to permaculture and site-specific planning ideas, and May 23, when she will be directing the  hands-on planting of our new native growing space. 

Photo Courtesy of Patty Love, Beach Plum in her backyard. If not in the Village Arboretum, I want a set up just like this someday, somewhere.

April 25

Our first Annual Pittsford STF (Save the Frogs) Day event in 2019 was chilly outdoors in the wind, sleet, and snow.

We were cozier in 2020, because our Nature Symposium, originally planned with the Town of Pittsford’s annual Earth Day and the Village of Pittsford’s annual Arbor Day, had to be cancelled because of Covid 19. We quickly substituted a webinar, which you can (re-)experience here. Wouldn’t you know it, it was the first gorgeous warm day that drew everyone outdoors!

This year for our Third Annual Pittsford STF Day event, on Sunday, April 25th, we are pleased to hear from STF! Board member, Michael Horton. His passion is saving land and wildlife including, of course, frogs.  We are sure his lifelong experience and expertise will enhance Pittsford Village’s growth as a model green community.

Photo Courtesy of SAVE THE FROGS!

June 27

Our first Scavenger Hunt, last year at froggies 200 millionth (+/-) and Froggy Founder’s 80th birthday, started at A Frog House. Guided by our volunteer coordinator and armed with their challenge sheets, our contestants went off to participating businesses in Schoen Place and Northfield Commons to match the business with the specific frog image on the premises and on their sheets, and learn a bit of New York State frog information.

This year, we are seeking permits from the town and village to hold a Scavenger Hunt in the new Erie Canal Nature Preserve and the future Village Arboretum on June 27th. Visitors will get to see whatever is growing in our new tiny sustainable forest planted in May. Join us and find natural treasures, learn new information, win prizes, and enjoy refreshments in the not-so-wild wilderness.

Photo of the old Auburn and Rochester Railroad embankment in town and village land, Courtesy of Rob Corby

August 8

What would this year’s event list be without our third annual Froggy Birthday Party?  This year you can walk the grounds and view art submissions for our first annual art contest. Spread a blanket and hear poetry readings selected from poetry contest entries. This is a new program, and although we pretty well know what to do from STF! (SAVE THE FROGS!) past contests, we will be rolling out the details next month. (Drum roll!) Be there to hear the announcement of this year’s winners. As always, we’ll be serving green ice cream and cake, and there will be plenty of photo ops, games and prizes.

“Camouflage”, my own fabric painting done in 2017, made into a card.

October 10

We hope to have an amazing event in store.  We want to arrange a tour, a lecture, and a meal at the Ganondagan State Historic Site, where there are many good trails, a fascinating museum, meeting rooms for one or more powerful speakers, and good native “three sisters” food from our favorite fan caterer, Susan Plunkett’s Fabulous Foods. This could be a particularly relevant ending to the year, because our new awakenings to sustainable ecological efforts are based on the wisdom of indigenous peoples, who honor all life, and live in harmony with the earth, sun, mood and stars.    

Photo from a hike at Ganondagan State State Historic Site with Rob Corby on January 16th.

“This address is recited to show gratitude for ecosystem services provided by the Earth and all other living organisms and to remind the people that these services and other living beings should never be taken for granted.

‘Whenever the statesmen of the League shall assemble for the purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga statesmen shall open it by expressing their gratitude to their cousin statesmen, and greeting them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the animals that serve as food and give their pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds, to the Thunderers; to the Sun, the mighty warrior; to the moon, to the messengers of the Creator who reveals his wishes, and to the Creator who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source of health and life. Then shall the Onondaga statesmen declare the Council open. The Council shall not sit after darkness has set in (see expanded version at Native American Rights Fund)’

“The Haudenosaunee conserved their natural resources not only for the present, but also for coming generations. They made it a habit to always think of the next seven generations before acting upon a decision, no matter what the subject was, they weighed how it would affect those not yet born.”

New ideas

Our focus throughout the year, with our new partners through Climate Solutions Accelerator, is on moving Pittsford closer to the model green community I have dreamed of for the past three years.

A Frog House Board member, Pearl Brunt, has inspired us to work on a wild lawn and garden challenge, based on permaculture and indigenous principles in Pittsford Village. As we learn more, and identify honestly pesticide and toxin free nurseries and maintenance companies to partner with, we have confidence that we can put together clear and professional guidelines for a project at least by next year that will be fun and beneficial in making the village ever more alive and buzzing.

A Frog House started as a newcomer to the sustainability, advocacy, collaboration and non-profit world. One thing for sure, from the beginning we have been encouraging residents to go for backyards that are pesticide and chemical free.

*NB: oops! Bachelor buttons are another European invasive, but not on the NYS list of noxious species. Gotta get them out !

As you can see, there’s quite a bit to look forward to from us in 2021. Make sure you follow us on social media (We’re on Instagram, and have both a Facebook Page and a Group where you can join our online community) so you’ll be sure to hear about our future events. Find details and register online.  In case you are also inspired to donate time or money, we’re thrilled to have you with us.

May your year be filled with joy!

A Frog House

Wild geranium, a native spreading plant.
By Margot Fass