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2012 Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards to four young leaders

NEW YORK, NY — April 22, 2012 — Today the Open Space Institute announced the four 2012 winners of the Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards, which are funded by an endowment raised by OSI. Every year, OSI makes awards of up to $5,000 to four young leaders who partner with regional nonprofits to complete projects in the fields of environmental conservation, historic preservation, the arts and tourism. 

OSI established the McHenry Awards in 2007 to recognize young leaders with the exceptional vision to help create the Hudson Valley of the future. Since then, the organization has invested more than $85,000 in the future of the region.

The awards are named for OSI Trustee Barney McHenry, a longtime Hudson River Valley leader and environmental champion.

“The proposals for the 2012 awards were encouraging and will be rewarding for the historic sites and the other institutions in our majestic Hudson River Valley,” McHenry said. “It will be most interesting to see the progress of this year’s extraordinary variety of winners—they were really some of the best so far.”

The 2012 recipients of the McHenry Awards are:

Sarah Parks will work with the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance to generate and analyze GIS maps which are core to the Rensselaer Plateau Regional Conservation Plan. Sarah is also working to develop a Community Values Mapping effort that will provide additional data for the Conservation Plan. She is currently a PhD student in Ecological Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Sarah’s project will provide critical environmental, ecological, recreational, and economic information to assist the 11 municipalities and numerous other stakeholders of the area in their planning and conservation initiatives, specifically through their use of the Rensselaer Plateau Regional Conservation Plan. 

In the tourism field, Erin Hoagland, a Marist College student studying Environmental Science and Policy, will work with the Winnakee Land Trust to develop an arboretum at the Winnakee Nature Preserve in Hyde Park. Erin’s project will educate visitors about tree identification and environmental issues facing Hudson Valley forests. 

The benefits of Erin’s work will be several-fold. Local residents will learn about their landscape and how different actions influence it, while tourists can learn how the property fit into Franklin Roosevelt's education in sustainable forest management and how it influenced future programs. School groups also will be introduced to biodiversity, climate change effects, invasive species and forest management.

In the historic preservation field, Marissa Unger, a Bard College student majoring in Art History, will help Olana organize a symposium to explore the concept of views and viewsheds in a national context. The symposium, the third in a series, will continue a conversation about how art and architecture have established the Hudson Valley’s signature character—a character that is now increasingly being preserved as a “sacred place” for visitors to enjoy.  

The symposium will compare the Hudson Valley to other areas in the nation with similarly qualities, and examine how these areas and their related environs reflect a growing national awareness of views and viewshed as critical to an integrated sense of place. Building national awareness and educating the public will encourage viewshed protection and land preservation, and promote advocacy for these efforts. 

Meredith Clavin-Marquet, an Orange County native who is currently a Media Studies student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, will partner with the Orange County Citizens Foundation in the field of the arts. Meredith will digitize and catalog more than 400 original photos and letters from painter and sculptor Kurt Seligmann to mark the presence of Surrealism in Orange County. 

This project will allow visitors to gain more insight into the Surrealist movement in America, and the Hudson Valley. Interviews and performances by notable Hudson Valley artists that relate to Surrealism also will be archived. The editing and dissemination of this material will contribute to building an arts-tourist base in the Hudson Valley.

“This year’s McHenry Award winners were chosen from an extremely competitive field of applicants,” said OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman. “We believe the four winners possess the initiative to help their respective organizations craft the Hudson Valley of the future—a valley that we’ll all be proud to call home.”

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