In a serendipitous coincidence, my across the street neighbor, Todd Stevenson, is a Planner with the Monroe County Dept. of Environmental Services. I asked Todd if he knew about the project. Not only was he instrumental in its success, he wrote the plaques! Todd kindly fills us in on the background.
You mentioned that the project was completed in 2011 and that there was always discussion about explanatory plaques. What precipitated the decision to put up the plaques now?
Phase 1 of the Buckland Creek restoration project (at the High School) was constructed in 2011. Initially we didn’t do signs because of concerns about vandalism. But as the years went by we realized that with the project being so visible in the community, and accessible to pedestrians, that we were missing out on an important educational opportunity. So we applied for and received a small grant from the Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Water Environment Association to pay for the signs.
When you wrote the plaques, what where the key messages you wanted people to know?
The key message in the signs is that the native vegetation that grows along a stream plays an important role in protecting water quality and that the project was designed to look very natural. We also wanted people to know that the project was inspired by the students who had been monitoring water quality in the stream for more than 10 years. The students, along with community volunteers, helped plant the project. The actual construction of the project was done by the Town and paid for by a grant that Monroe County received from New York State. So it’s really been a community effort.
Phase 2 of the Buckland Creek restoration project is located between the Middle School and the Administration Building adjacent to Monroe Avenue. Phase 2 was also constructed by the Town and paid for by a grant from New York State.
We talked about how the restored areas are now filled with ducks and frogs. Local children seem to delight in catching (and hopefully returning) the frogs with nets or lacrosse sticks. Would this wildlife be there if not for the restoration? Is there any future restoration that might take place?When we were planning the project we visited it many times and never saw any wildlife. Most people at that time thought of it as a ditch rather than a stream. Now every time I’m there I see lots of wildlife especially birds but often frogs and butterflies as well. When I was developing the plant list for the project I purposefully chose native plants that provide food and cover for wildlife.
There are other sections of Buckland Creek that might have potential for restoration. For the moment, we’re focusing on promoting rain barrels, rain gardens, and other practices that residents can do around their homes to protect water quality in the Creek. We have a website with lots of information: H2Ohero.org
You mentioned that George Smith, a teacher at Brighton High School, was instrumental in the preservation. Do students continue to do ongoing work on the preservation?
George Smith and his students the High School continue to monitor the health of the Creek, pick up litter, and remove invasive non-native plants.
The creek has an inauspicious place in my life and a warm spot in the magazine. In Middle School, at the end of gym class, I impulsively kicked a kickball into the creek. For the one and only time in my career, I was sent to the Principal to explain my bad behavior. In High School, a bully threw me into the creek. Alas, my nerdy friends looked on in sympathy but did not take on the bully. And next to the creek I froze during the 1976 Brighton Little League All Star game.
At same time, there is a dramatic picture of me leaping the creek at its Roby Drive section, and an essay on how Brighton boys floated (and destroyed) model aircraft carriers during the 1970s. See The ground breaking of the Brickyard Trail in Brighton and “Memories of the Crab Apple battles”
Also, the creek is next to our Game at Corners. Many a time, we’ve had to scoop balls from the creek (unless we can get kids catching frogs to do the honor).
And, in From BG with Love we saw BG trapped and saved under the bridge.