Our story

Founded in 1974, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has grown to become a national conservation leader, partnering in the protection of more than 2.3 million acres across the Eastern US and Canada.

OSI protects land for clean drinking water, public recreation, healthy communities, wildlife habitat, and climate protection, since the intact forests and floodplains we protect capture carbon and protect against extreme weather events.

In addition to strategic conservation, OSI is also committed to making protected land more welcoming to the public; making the outdoors more accessible for all; and, promoting science-based conservation among fellow land trusts and government leaders.

OSI is also a leader in advocating for public policies that promote innovative and effective land protection, including securing full and permanent funding for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

A More Than Forty-Year History of Protecting Our Land's Future

Open Space Institute Programs & Focus Areas

Accelerating Land Protection

In 2003, we launched our Conservation Capital program to accelerate the rate and effectiveness of land protection. Through its loans and grants the program has distributed over $122,823,446 to partner land trusts to protect 2,069,081 acres valued at $700 million, and support land research and planning.

Improving Parks

We've protected more than 10 percent of the acreage in New York’s state parks and worked to make significant park improvements for the millions of park visitors each year. Our strong record of expanding and easing access to nature through recreational facilities, trails, visitor centers, and interpretive programming, has touched countless lives throughout the state.

We also partner with New York State, individuals, organizations, and the private sector to spearhead capital campaigns and park infrastructure projects.

Catalyzing Grassroots Efforts

Through our Conservation Communities program, we offer financial and legal oversight for projects started by concerned citizens whose programs and activities are aligned with our mission. This oversight makes the projects eligible to solicit and receive grants and tax-deductible contributions that are normally available only to 501(c)(3) organizations.

Conserving Land for Good

OSI has protected 151,000 acres of land in New York State, where our work first began more than forty years ago, and other important properties in Maine, Virginia, South Carolina and New Jersey. Through direct acquisition and conservation easements, we protect critical open space habitats, recreation areas, family farms, historic sites, and partner with local and state governments to expand their parks.

Help Protect the Land You Love

Your gift today helps create accessible parks and trails, safeguard our drinking water, create natural places for wildlife to flourish, and support thriving communities — now and for future generations.


What You Can Do

Donate to support OSI’s work

Become a part of our mission to safeguard at-risk places through your tax-deductible gift.


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