Town of Perinton Conservation Board chairperson Ken Rainis believes residents have Chris Fredette to thank for much of the open space in town.
“She was tireless in her fight for open space in Town,” he said. “She felt it was incredibly important for the future generations in Perinton.”
Fredette served on the Conservation Board from 1977-2022, including as chairperson from 1985-88. She was also an early member of the Crescent Trail Hiking Association board in 1980 and served as Perinton’s representative on the Monroe County Environmental Commission for decades.
Fredette, who retired this year, will be honored with a plaque at Hart’s Woods trail in the coming months.
“Chris’ involvement and positive impact is apparent all around Perinton,” long-time Conservation Board member Andy Rodman said. “Chris balanced input on land use and the impact on quality of life, economic growth, sustainability, environment and resilience had a positive impact during a crucial growth time for the Town.”
Fredette’s major impacts on Perinton include:
Working with the Town Board on compliance with New York State’s environmental legislation governing the state’s designation of freshwater wetlands, as well as the reviews mandated by State Environmental Quality Review Act regulations.
She was active in volunteer field surveys and breeding season monitoring of anuran species of amphibians (frogs) with the White Brooks Nature Area, which was part of a United States/Canadian survey of the Great Lakes basin wetland bird and frog habitats.
An ardent protector of the more than 35 miles of Crescent Trail in Town.
“Chris has been a capable, enthusiastic, and long-serving volunteer whom I gratefully admire,” said Dave Schaeffer, a found in the CTHA who served with Fredette on the MCEC. “I was fortunate to meet her as a friend and neighbor in the community. Perinton is a better Town because of her actions.”
Fredette is a Chicago native who moved to Perinton in the early 70s with her husband Robert. They raised a son, Robert Jr., and a daughter, Debbie, in Perinton.
Even Fredette’s working career was based around making the environment safe as she worked for the Rochester Committee for Scientific Information.
The organization was formed in 1964 with a nucleus of scientists and concerned citizens, who developed an effective method of working together. It started as a means to explore the problems of water pollution in Rochester and Monroe County area, but quickly broadened to issues all over Upstate New York, including: lead poisoning of children, road salt deicing, air pollution, radiation, transportation planning, consumer issues, environmental safety and health and environmental geology and groundwater issues.
The organization makes suggestions to local and state agencies and organizations and produces reports recommending solutions.
Fredette was known for having a “quiet competence” as well as vast knowledge of parcels, resident owners and conservation easement particulars. She never flaunted her knowledge, just applied it.
However, don’t try to slip something by her in a public meeting.
“I was always impressed with institutional memory and Conservation Board meetings,” Rainis said. “She would ask an applicant a question, the applicant would answer, and then she would correct him about some historical statement – bulldozers in Limited Development Districts come to mind!”
Rodman, who also retired from the Conservation Board this year, spent more than 10 years checking out projects around Town with Fredette.
“I believe Chris’ knowledge, compassion and fairness has bestowed numerous benefits to the residents of Perinton,” he said. “I always observed Chris’ efforts fosters the generosity and passion of an individual who truly loves Perinton and seeks out opportunities to preserve the quality of those resources for future generations.”
Her experience will be missed on the Conservation Board.
“Volunteers like Chris are what have made this Town what it is,” said Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna. “Chris’ dedication and passion for this wonderful community has gone a long toward keeping our balance between development and open space. She was a champion for keeping this Town green.”
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