We are a volunteer group of residents of Monroe County NY who are passionate about repairing and expanding our region’s biodiversity, with a focus on the critical importance of planting native species and ensuring that areas of native plantings are distributed such that they provide a connected network for wildlife to move about to find food, mates, and shelter.
Healthy Yards Monroe County originated as a collaboration between a couple of members of Color Penfield Green and Color Pittsford Green to publicize the critical importance of native plants in restoring and maintaining our local ecosystems. Their 4-part series of presentations “Encouraging Nature in your own Backyard” attracted many viewers. The Healthy Yards campaigns in Pittsford and Penfield were then developed to encourage homeowners to replace a portion of their lawns (which are remarkably sterile ecosystems) with native plants to provide habitat and food for a diversity of pollinators, other insects, birds, and other wildlife. A registration page for homeowners whose yards meet certain criteria of “healthy habitat” provided a way to keep track of the number and location of these healthy yards.
Additional Color Your Community Green (CYCG) teams from other suburban towns and city neighborhoods have joined in the meantime, linking to the website and registration page, and bringing new ideas and enthusiasm and inspiring the goal of expanding our effort as Healthy Yards Monroe County. A number of other local organizations with similar goals are also in support of these efforts. An additional objective is to involve town and village governments to plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers in public spaces – which would substantially increase the area and connectivity of native habitats. Some have already expressed their support and have planted pollinator gardens in parklands and native trees within their communities.
Although so far (June 2022) we primarily represent suburban towns around Rochester, we recognize that Monroe County encompasses urban, suburban, rural, and agricultural regions. These environments all have different needs and potential for contributing to a truly county-wide network of healthy biodiverse habitat. Visit the Color Your Community Green page for a list of groups by area or contact us for help getting started.