“When an undergraduate receives an award like this, it’s life-changing. It really changes one’s view of their work and the value of it.” - David Jakim, 2008 McHenry Scholar
Each year, we present our Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Awards to up to four exceptional young leaders in the fields of environmental conservation, historic preservation, environmental justice, the arts, and tourism.
Created in 2007, these awards honor philanthropist and conservationist Barnabas McHenry, a longtime OSI Trustee. Barney is passionate about supporting young leaders who share his appreciation for the Valley’s vibrant historical, artistic, and cultural resources.
Read on to learn more about the McHenry Awards, their legacy and impact, and how to apply.
- Read more about the program's first ten years.
- Sign up for McHenry Application Information.
- See the Story Map about the program.
The awards, up to $5,000 each, provide financial support for undergraduate or graduate students to pair with nonprofits in the Hudson River Valley region. Projects should educate local and academic communities, promote awareness around the history and environment, and invoke change. See a list of previous McHenry fellows.
Applicants should show:
- Demonstrated excellence in a chosen field and passion for their distinctive project.
- Tangible benefits to local communities.
- Impact on a student’s college or university that raises compelling dialogue.
Nonprofits receive $1,000 for sponsorship expenses.
Any nonprofit organization working in the Hudson Valley may nominate a candidate and his or her project. Eligible candidates must be undergraduate or graduate students. The project itself may be either a summer or a year-long internship. In addition to the $5,000 awarded to McHenry recipients, the Open Space Institute also awards $1,000 to their sponsoring organizations for supplementary expenses.
Nonprofits can also reach out to college professors with potential internship opportunities to pass along to students. Here is a list of colleges and universities in the Hudson River Valley area.
Our McHenry scholars’ projects and outreach have educated and inspired local residents, often leading to tangible community resources like a food bank or historical archive. Other projects have impacted the Valley through local newspaper publications, academic theses and dissertations, and community panel discussions.
How to Apply
Are you an undergraduate or a graduate student with a compelling project proposal but lack a partnership with a nonprofit organization? Here is a list of nonprofit organizations in the Hudson River Valley you can contact about applying for a summer or year-long internship funded by the McHenry Award.
As a student candidate, your own college or university can also nominate you. The project would then be conducted in collaboration with either a professor or faculty member in place of a nonprofit organization.
If you want your organization or college to be listed under student or organization resources, please email Jessica Watson at [email protected] with a brief summary of your organization’s mission and how a McHenry Award project directed by a young leader could further that mission. (Maximum 1 paragraph)
Applications are due online by 5 pm, March 31, 2022.
Applications must include:
- Online application completed by the nominating organization.
- Letter (not exceeding one page, single-spaced) from the candidate
- Explain the importance of this project to you;
- Explain why you are qualified to do this project;
- Include a resume (including academic achievements);
- Include a project budget.
See a list of Frequently Asked Questions.