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The Open Space Institute Recognizes Young Hudson Valley Environmental and Cultural Leaders

2019 Barnabas McHenry Award winners work on projects to protect the Valley’s natural and cultural resources

NEW YORK, NY —The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced recipients of the 2019 Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards, honoring exceptional young leaders who are working to protect and enhance the Hudson River Valley. The five recipients, who represent communities throughout the Hudson Valley, are working this summer with prominent community nonprofits.

OSI established the McHenry Awards in 2007 to honor the extensive contributions of its Trustee Barnabas McHenry, a renowned environmental philanthropist and conservationist. Funded by an endowment raised by OSI, the awards go to graduate and undergraduate students pursuing research, leadership, and community involvement in the Hudson Valley.

“The winners of OSI’s McHenry Award represent the bright future of the Hudson Valley. Each year we are delighted by the applicants, their project ideas, and their passion to improve their communities,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “Through educational, conservation, and cultural projects, these young leaders are adding to Barney McHenry’s amazing legacy of dedication to the Hudson Valley.”

Every year, OSI makes awards of up to $5,000 to each graduate or undergraduate student to partner with regional nonprofits in the fields of environmental conservation, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism, with $1,000 going to the partnering institution. In response to the interest of student leaders, OSI added a fifth award category, healthy communities, in 2018.

Since 2007, OSI has committed nearly $277,000 to 51 McHenry Award grantees working in support of the Hudson Valley.

The 2019 recipients of the McHenry Awards and their project descriptions are as follows:


Grace Alli is working with Hudson Valley Initiative and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation to develop a toolbox that will communicate the policies and processes for turning city-owned vacant lots in Newburgh into temporary or permanent neighborhood amenities. The toolbox will compile the resources residents need to reclaim public spaces, a valuable process in areas where local governments do not have the capacity or resources to maintain or improve vacant properties. Grace is pursuing a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.


Ethan Scott Barnett is working with A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Library to establish Kingston, NY as one of the important African Heritage sites in the nation. In other cities, African heritage sites have helped mediate community relations politically and socially. With so many gaps in African history, the Kingston burial ground will be a case study for establishing a community space where shared memory is honored and illustrated through the tensions of politics, history, and race. Ethan is a PhD candidate at the University of Delaware.


Erin R. Clark is partnering with Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress to analyze the tourism habits of college students and Millennials (19-38 years old) with a survey and analysis of MetroNorth outbound weekend ridership from NYC to the Hudson Valley. The analysis will aid the marketing needs of heritage sites, local business, government, and the MTA itself and strengthen tourism studies in the Hudson Valley. Erin is a Geography major at Vassar College. 


Lindsey Drew is partnering with the Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) to assess and address impacts in the Sawkill Creek watershed, which includes the towns of Woodstock, Hurley, Kingston, and Ulster. The Sawkill waters contribute to the municipal water supply for seven Hudson River communities and more than 100,000 people. The project will continue to deepen WLC's organizational knowledge about water with the goal of sharing that knowledge within the community. Lindsey is pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Policy from Bard College.


Hannah Tremblay is working with National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) to research issues farmers are facing in the Hudson Valley including land access policies designed to address the challenges of high land prices, intergenerational transition, and competition from non-farming buyers. This project aims to engage targeted, farmer-led advocacy for innovative land access policy change. Hannah is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Agriculture, Food and the Environment at Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

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