In northern New York state, where A Frog House is located, the spring peepers are less indicators than wishful harbingers of spring. They had begun their raucous symphony a few weeks before Save the Frogs Day on April 27. The frogs were ready to celebrate, and we had worked for months to please them. In high hopes that the fine weather of the day before our event might hold, we readied to set up. In retrospect, the days after and before the event were warmer, beautiful and sunny.
One with Mother Nature
On the morning of April 27, in the back gardens of A Frog House (located on the banks of the Erie Canal) we had detailed plans. At least 40 organizers, friends, and volunteers were working hard as biologists, donors, contributors, musicians, and general helpers. But our tents, sandwich boards, sponsor banners, portable tables, signs, books, information sheets, games, green bagels, children’s lawn games, and our jackets went flying in the wind, ultimately toppling and getting soaked by the snow and sleet storm that blew our way.
One of our seven core steering committee members had repeatedly warned us that we needed to have a backup plan, but who has time to listen and follow through? Instead, we naively paid attention to the Farmer’s Almanac and even the local weather reports the day before. A Frog House, however, remained standing! Our volunteers were stalwart and dedicated from the first concept meeting to the last flake of snow, and we kept on.
The show must go on!
We made good use of four sheltered areas: the main residence on the property, its spacious covered porch, a utility garage, and A Frog House itself. Some activities and materials remained out in the cold. Hilariously, the rolling-cart full of custom green ice cream kept cold in the sleet. Intrepid visitors with good humor ate quite a bit of it!
At the Lily Pad Café—reestablished on the back porch—visitors enjoyed not only green ice cream, but vivid green bagels that looked extraordinarily like fat frogs. Equally delicious cookies and apple cider stayed cool there too. This entire feast came from generous business donations.
Our two environmental experts set up materials for sale and giveaway, frog recordings, and slide shows, both at the SAVE THE FROGS! table in the garage and inside A Frog House, where it was coziest.
In the SAVE THE FROGS! area, we distributed posters, wristbands, lots of teaching materials, some books, and other Save the Frogs Day material. A Frog House sold frog-themed collectors’ items, toys, a print of the founder’s artwork for her book, Froggy Family’s First Frolic, and a copy of the book itself. We saved our auction and raffle items for a sunnier, more populated event.
Most of the visiting kids and their parents left much wiser about frogs in our region to watch and listen for. Families played observation, environmental, and table frog games, and engaged in guessing contests. Outdoors, the frog toss lawn game delighted guests during the patchy-cloudy breaks, with hoots at both victory and defeat. In the main house, color sheets with frog images (and lots of vivid crayons) and search games kept kids happy and learning.
We postponed our plans to build make-and-take toad abodes until next month, storing the materials safely for warmer weather! The photo booth, now just a couple of folks with cameras, roamed a little haphazardly instead of staying stationary, but the photos were great. A few scheduled musicians demurred because harsh weather is hard on instruments, but one group stayed to play in the living room, treating visitors to witty fish and aquatic songs.
Local officials support our efforts
Notably, both Mayor Rob Corby of the Village of Pittsford and Town Supervisor Bill Smith of Pittsford (each proudly sporting a Save the Frogs Day/A Frog House shirt) made proclamations of commitment to A Frog House goals. Their intent to collaborate in saving the only remaining village and adjacent town green space in the area is clear, in writing, and now reinforced in petitions signed by nearly a hundred guests at our event, who requested cooperation, transparency and planning between the Village of Pittsford and the Town of Pittsford; keeping development in compliance with state regulations; protection of remaining wetlands; and use of only Organic Materials Review Institute lawn maintenance materials within town and village limits.
These successes and everything we learned overrode our disappointment! At the end of the day, the spring peepers came to call out their okay.
Our snow date
Sunday, June 9, from 1 to 5 PM—THIS WEEKEND—we are featuring Make and Take a Toad Abode, a project of Friends of Pittsford Village.
Children of all ages can stencil paint and take home one of 150 clay pots generously donated by Galleas Tropical Greenhouse and Nursery. They will get ideas on how to make their own little frog gardens to control mosquitoes and other flying insects naturally, AND there will be many other fun things to do and see, and cookies.
Will you support our efforts?
Our mission is to inspire children and adults to learn more about frogs, why we need them, how to identify them, even by call, where they live, how to protect their habitat and encourage them to breed in the wild. Learn more on A Frog House. Put your own photos on Frog. Please like us and come on Sunday afternoon!
Click here to help A Frog House continue its educational endeavors.
We look forward to seeing you!