Bear Mountain Group Photo

OSI Invites Applications for Its 2023 McHenry Summer Fellowship Program

NEW YORK, NY (March 8, 2023)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that it is accepting applications for the 2023 Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards. The fellowship awards are granted to graduate and undergraduate students seeking to partner with Hudson Valley nonprofit organizations to pursue research, leadership, and community involvement opportunities in New York’s Hudson Valley.

The 2023 application deadline is April 3, 2023. Qualified applicants can learn more and apply here.

Each year, OSI selects up to five students to work on projects in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental justice, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism to receive a funded, summer-long fellowship.

Under the construct of the program, students partner with local non-profits and are awarded up to $5,000, with an additional $1,000 going to the non-profit organization, to complete a community project that will increase awareness about local history and the environment and invoke positive change.

The 16-year-old program is aimed at encouraging and enabling exceptional students to take an active leadership role in the Albany, Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester County communities.

“OSI’s annual McHenry awards help find some of the most civic-minded young people and support them as they engage with their communities to meet local needs,” said Jessica Watson, OSI’s Conservation Communities Director and the program lead. “Not every organization has the ability to provide paid internships and OSI’s McHenry Awards provide funding that build the organizational capacity of local nonprofits and support the work of young future conservationists from all backgrounds.”

OSI established the McHenry Awards in 2007 to honor the extensive contributions of Trustee Barnabas McHenry, a renowned Hudson Valley environmental philanthropist and conservationist.

“From Westchester to Albany, New York’s Hudson Valley has a rich history and distinct character, and the McHenry Awards are a funded opportunity for young conservationists to help further collective knowledge and appreciation of this vibrant landscape,” added Watson.

Over the past 16 years, OSI has committed more than $337,000 to 61 McHenry Award grantees.

Previous winners have worked on projects that educated and inspired residents, often leading to tangible community resources such as the creation of a community compost site in Kingston, a local, fresh food market in downtown Newburgh, a forest land management plan to address the negative impacts of climate change in New Paltz, and more. Other projects have impacted the Hudson Valley through water quality assessments, academic theses and dissertations, historical walking tours, and community panel discussions.

OSI has been working in the Hudson River Valley for more than 40 years. The Hudson River Valley is the landscape where OSI got its start and has left one of its largest conservation legacies—protecting more than 100,000 acres in the region. OSI’s work here has created Sterling Forest State Park and Schunnemunk State Park, and more than doubled the size of Minnewaska, Thacher, Fahnestock, and Moreau Lake state parks.

OSI's McHenry Awards

Learn more about the Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards and apply today.


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.


Subscribe to our newsletter

We get in touch once a month with our most important news, stories, and updates.