New York, NY (June 21, 2023)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the recipients of their 2023 Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards. The awards provide funding to exceptional undergraduate or graduate students for projects that strengthen and improve communities in New York’s Hudson Valley region.
OSI’s McHenry Awards provide up to $5,000 to each student to partner with regional nonprofits in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental justice, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism. The partnering institution also receives an additional $1,000 to cover related costs. This year’s awardees will engage in a wide range of community projects, including building sensory trail stations at a community forest in East Nassau; improving understanding of Revolutionary War Loyalists in Garrision; educating the public on the importance of clean drinking water in Newburgh; and nurturing historic gardens in Hyde Park.
OSI’s McHenry Awards provide up to $5,000 to each student to partner with regional nonprofits in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental justice, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism. The partnering institution also receives an additional $1,000 to cover related costs.
“OSI is proud to support students as they learn from, and engage with, Hudson Valley-based nonprofits. Awardees will pursue unique projects that align with their professional interests, provide extra capacity for a local nonprofit, and fill a need in their local communities. It’s a huge win for everyone involved,” said Jessica Watson, director of the OSI McHenry Award program.
Watson also stressed the importance of providing financial resources to the recipients. “Not every student can afford to accept an unpaid internship, and not every nonprofit can cover the costs associated with student help. OSI’s McHenry Award solves both issues by providing funding to both the students and their organizations.”
OSI established the McHenry Awards in 2007 to honor the extensive contributions of Trustee Barnabas McHenry, a renowned local environmental philanthropist and conservationist. The awards are funded by an endowment stewarded by OSI, intended to provide paid opportunities for exceptional students to partner with local organizations in the pursuit of research, leadership, and community involvement.
The 2023 recipients of the McHenry Awards and their project descriptions are as follows:
Christina Bell will work with the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (East Nassau) to add sensory trail stations and nature play areas to the Albert Family Community Forest (AFCF) in East Nassau. The sensory stations and nature play areas will help connect people of all abilities with nature, including people with disabilities, families with young children, and older adults.
Aidan Emery will work with Boscobel House and Gardens (Garrison) to conduct research on States Dyckman, the original owner of Boscobel House. Emery will catalogue Dyckman’s artifacts, travels, and activities, and explore Loyalist perspectives during the Revolutionary War. The research project also aims to understand how Loyalists' support of slavery changed overtime and will include a focus on Sarah Wilkinson, an African American woman whom Dyckman enslaved and later freed. The project will provide an accurate account of history for Boscobel House and Gardens’ 80,000 annual visitors.
Kathryn McKenzie will work with Outdoor Promise (Newburgh) on a project entitled “Newburgh's Watershed: A Visual Journey.” McKenzie will create an educational visual timeline documenting the current drinking water crisis caused by Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination in the City of Newburgh. PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals found in many consumer, commercial, and industrial products that have been linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals in some scientific studies. The timeline will serve as an educational resource for students, researchers, environmental activists, and policymakers in the Hudson Valley region and beyond. With her project, McKenzie aims to inspire action, stimulate dialogue, and foster collaboration to address the importance of protecting the region's water resources.
Morgan Miller will work with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation (Hyde Park) to help preserve and maintain the Roosevelt home vegetable garden; Val-Kill, the home of Eleanor Roosevelt; and the Farrand Garden at Bellefield. Miller will join National Park Service horticulturists and other volunteers to study and implement best practices for horticultural preservation and maintenance. Miller will also facilitate the creation of educational signage and materials.