OSI 0594

The Open Space Institute Invites Young Hudson Valley Leaders to Apply for McHenry Award Program

NEW YORK, NY (Feb 2, 2024)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) invites graduate and undergraduate students seeking a summer-long internship with a nonprofit organization in New York’s Hudson Valley to apply for its 2024 Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards. The 2024 application deadline is April 15th. Qualified students can apply at: https://www.openspaceinstitute.org/funds/mchenry. Any nonprofit organization working in the Hudson Valley can also nominate candidates and their projects.

Each year, OSI selects up to five students to receive funding towards projects in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental justice, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism. Through the program, students partner with a nonprofit organization to develop a project that matches their interests with the needs of the community and partner organization.

The students are awarded up to $5,000 to complete a project that enriches the community and invokes positive change, with an additional $1,000 going to the nonprofit organization for supplemental expenses.

The 17-year-old McHenry Awards program empowers exceptional students to take an active leadership role in addressing environmental and cultural issues in the communities of Albany, Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties.

“OSI’s annual McHenry Awards support some of the most civic-minded young people as they engage with communities to meet local needs,” said Jessica Watson, OSI’s vice president of Conservation Communities. “Not every organization has the ability to provide paid internships. OSI’s McHenry Awards provide funding that helps local nonprofits fulfill programmatic and staffing needs and supports the work of young conservationists from all backgrounds.”

“I had a lot of ideas for environmental changes I'd like to see in the world, but no clue how to bring them to life,” said Kathryn McKenzie, a 2023 McHenry Award winner. “Through the McHenry Award, I've gained the confidence to fearlessly tackle conservation and community engagement work and, more importantly, I've been able to dedicate my time to creating something tangible and useful for my community. The generous mentorship and support I've been blessed to receive from Outdoor Promise, OSI, local folks, and other organizations has been invaluable. I look forward to continue working to secure clean water for residents of Newburgh and beyond.”

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

Over the past 17 years, OSI has awarded more than $350,000 to 63 McHenry Award grantees.

Previous winners have worked on projects that have led to tangible community resources such as the creation of sensory trail stations for a community forest in East Nassau; improvement and upkeep of a historic garden in Hyde Park; interpretive signs about slavery and the Revolutionary War in Garrison; and educational materials documenting drinking water contamination in the City of Newburgh. Other projects have included water quality assessments, academic theses and dissertations, historical walking tours, and community panel discussions.

About OSI

The Open Space Institute is a national leader in land conservation and efforts to make parks and other protected land more welcoming for all. Since 1974, OSI has partnered in the protection of more than 2.4 million at-risk and environmentally sensitive acres in the eastern U.S. and Canada. OSI’s land protection promotes clean air and water, improves access to recreation, provides wildlife habitat, strengthens communities, and combats climate change, while curbing its devastating effects.

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.

Apply for McHenry Award Program

Learn more and apply for OSI's McHenry Awards

Learn More

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.