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Healthy Yards


  • Develop a corridor of well-connected, high-quality habitat throughout the town of Pittsford where our local wildlife can find food, shelter, mates, and places to nest. 

  • Encourage and inspire residents to convert at least some of their lawn to a diverse selection of pollinator-attractive native plants.

  • Advocate for native plants to be planted on town, commercial, and farm properties.


  • Pittsford Pollinator Pathway: The Town of Pittsford and Color Pittsford Green have come together to create a program to help educate and encourage residents and businesses to plant native and avoid pesticide use. 

    • Visit the page here for more details​ 

    • Print out the list of suggested native plants and other guidelines

    • Check off your existing native plants and any newly planted natives (at least 10 total needed)

    • Submit your completed form at the Spiegel Pittsford Community Center

    • Collect the Pittsford Pollinator Pathway sign to display on your property showing you plant native and have a pesticide free yard.

                          Take the Pittsford Pollinator Pathway Challenge and Plant Native!

  • Monroe County Pollinator Pathway: All residents in Monroe County are encouraged to participate in our Healthy Yards campaign. With the information provided below start creating a native garden and yard. Then, register your yard once the guidelines have been met.



It’s clear that the world’s ecosystems must be repaired and protected from further degradation if we humans are to thrive into the future in the face of declining biodiversity and climate change.  


Rather than be overwhelmed by the global enormity of this task, each of us CAN take effective action locally - in our own yard - to restore our own community’s biodiversity, ecological health, and beauty.  Inspiration for this campaign came from entomologist Doug Tallamy, whose work and findings you can learn more about here.


Here are guidelines and some helpful resources for rethinking your yard as a healthy habitat for wildlife, and to get on the map as part of an expanding connected corridor for pollinators.

  • Reduce your lawn by planting a diversity of native trees, shrubs, and flowers. You can start small, and consider replacing more lawn gradually each year. As Doug Tallamy suggests, walkways and paths of grass can be used to define flower beds and groves of trees/shrubs. A successful pollinator garden should contain primarily native species ( a rule of thumb is 7 out of every 10 plants should be native).

Methods for grass replacement  

Shopping guide:  Habitat Gardening in Central New York Native Plant Shopping Guide 

  • Make keystone trees a priority in your yard. Keystone trees are those that host more native insect species than others, and are therefore essential to support successful food webs. Our local keystone trees include oaks, birches, and cherries.  Find more keystone species here.  

Look at Native Plant Finder by Zip Code   


  • Choose a diversity of native flowering plants that bloom at different times so that pollinators have food available in spring, summer, and fall. When choosing plants, buy those that are identified with the original species name. For example, choose coneflower — Echinacea pupurea — rather than Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus' (which is a hybrid (or 'nativar') rather than the original native species).  Include one or more of these keystone perennials — goldenrods, asters, sunflowers — since these fall-blooming plants are an important source of food for pollinators that overwinter. 

-Look at Native Plant Lists for additional ideas.
-The perennial list on the Cornell Cooperative Extension site includes bloom times.

-WildOnes article on Nativars and other resources here

-Pittsford Pollinator Pathway guide gives a great starting list for trees, shrubs and perennials here


  • Fall, winter, and spring clean-up should benefit the wildlife. Fallen leaves provide not only nutrients for the soil but also shelter for caterpillar cocoons and pupae that overwinter.  So it’s important to leave the leaf litter under trees, around rocks, stumps, edges, and on the ground where your perennial native flowers die back for the winter. They will continue to decompose come spring and summer.

           Articles: Don’t spring into garden cleanup too soon!
                            Leave the Leaves!
                            Nesting and Overwintering Habitat Xerces.o

  • Learn to identify and remove invasive plants in your yard. There are many beneficial native alternatives to the non-native species that have been inadvertently planted or have invaded our yards. 

          Articles:  Invasives Overview
                            Invasive Plant Disposal

                            Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants

  •  Avoid use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers!  These chemicals kill soil microbes that keep soil and plants healthy.  They also kill insects that are important food for birds, especially in the spring. Their use is antithetical to the goals of growing a healthy and diverse ecosystem. Use organic compost and fertilizers.   More information on pesticides and pollinators.


Want more inspiration and information? 

Explore Doug Tallamy’s Homegrown National Park website!


Whether you already use these practices, or you are newly adapting your yard to native plantings — once you have accomplished these guidelines to your satisfaction, we want you on the map to contribute data towards the goal of connectivity of native plant habitat gardens in our communities.

 >Please let us know by registering your yard using the button below

Demonstrate to friends and neighbors your commitment and accomplishment by certifying your garden, and/or placing a sign in your yard identifying it as a native plant habitat garden.  Your achievement will encourage others to join in expanding healthy ecosystem recovery!

  1.  Pittsford Pollinator Pathway sign for Pittsford Residents

  2.  Audubon Bird Friendly sign

  3.  Xerces Society sign

  4. Work towards certifying your garden under the Master Gardeners of Monroe County Pollinator Friendly Garden Certification Program, and get their sign

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