The right site for the Omega Center for Sustainable Living was clear from the start. The previous owner of our campus had used a portion of the grounds as a landfill site for disposal of materials such as concrete, metals, and old plumbing fixtures. We decided to complete the clean up of the landfill and properly dispose of the materials that had been buried there over the years.
Once the former landfill was safely cleared, the construction site for the OCSL was prepared. We were excited to begin building. But, as part of the site analysis that was conducted, the endangered northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) was discovered on the property. Though it was originally thought that the northern cricket frog's habitat did not extend into the construction zone, it was later discovered that these vulnerable frogs could reach the OCSL's building site.
Before we could continue construction of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, we needed to take steps to ensure the frogs' safety. A three foot frog-proof fence was constructed around the entire OCSL building site and crew members were trained to monitor the fence several times a day. No frogs were ever found, but Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii), a threatened species on the land, were discovered and safely re-routed.
The northern cricket frog served Omega as a reminder of our responsibility as stewards of our natural resources. We learned how important it is to consider all beings—birds, squirrels, fish, frogs, flies, bees—when planning a newly built environment.