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Open Space Institute announces annual land conservation awards

NEW YORK, NY - November 9, 2005 - Today the Open Space Institute will announce the recipients of its annual Land Conservation Awards at a fundraising event to be held at the Union League Club in New York City. The Open Space Institute is a leading nonprofit land conservation organization that has protected nearly 100,000 acres in New York. 

This year, OSI honors two individuals who have had a significant impact on agricultural conservation, in addition to improving quality of life in New York City through education, community outreach, and waste prevention and recycling. Marian S. Heiskell founded the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) in 1970. And Lys McLaughlin has been CENYC'S executive director since 1978. CENYC promotes environmental awareness and solutions to environmental problems through several programs, including the New York City Greenmarket, which has established farmers' markets at 40 locations throughout New York. 

“This year we are very pleased to honor Marian Heiskell and Lys McLaughlin. More than 250,000 New Yorkers avail themselves of the New York City Greenmarket every week, enjoying fresh, locally grown food. Less visible, but equally important, is the Greenmarket's impact on regional agriculture and farmland preservation,” said Kim Elliman, CEO of the Open Space Institute. According to Elliman, OSI is exploring a program that would assist new farmers in their efforts to locate affordable farmland. 

According to OSI president Joe Martens, OSI has worked with more than 25 farmers to protect thousands of acres of farmland through a multitude of conservation strategies, including the acquisition of agricultural easements. “Today's event affords us an opportunity to pause and acknowledge the efforts of individual farmers---who continue to farm despite numerous challenges---and people like Marian and Lys, who are having a remarkable impact by closing the gap between farmers and consumers,” said Martens. 


“It is an honor to see all of CENYC's work recognized - the 54 weekly Greenmarket farmers' markets in 40 city neighborhoods; the gorgeous community gardens we've helped create that anchor and enliven communities all over the city; the students in our Environmental Education program who have become and are becoming environmental stewards; our noise abatement initiatives,” remarked Marian Heiskell. “We happily accept this award on behalf of the entire CENYC team, past and present members, the staff, and all the program participants." 

The Open Space Institute awards event will feature remarks by R.W. Apple, who, since 1963, has corresponded for the New York Times from over 100 countries, and after extensive world travels, has settled down on a farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with his family. 

This is the 8th Land Conservation Award presented by OSI. In previous years, OSI has honored George V. Grune, retired chairman of the Reader's Digest Association; William T. Golden, of the American Museum of Natural History and Black Rock Forest Consortium; James T. Ottaway, Jr, chairman of Ottaway Newspapers; H. Peter Stern, chairman and President of Storm King Art Center; Christopher J. Elliman, who currently serves as CEO at the Open Space Institute; Jonathan F.P. Rose, real estate planner; and Samuel W. Lambert, chairman of the New Jersey Conservation Fund. 

The mission of the Open Space Institute is to protect scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, and creative partnerships.

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