Hudson Highlands

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

Image Credit: Greg Miller

NEW YORK, NY (July 14, 2021)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the recipients of its 2021 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, local 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.”

From left to right: Marguerite Royo, Kate Walters, Olivia Roberts, Isabela Leon Ferrer, Andrew Randazzo, Lindsay McGrath

The 2021 recipients of the McHenry Awards and their project descriptions are as follows:

Kate Walters is working in Newburgh with the Fullerton Mansion Center for Culture and History on a project called “makerBoards 2.0” to set up a series of community public art projects. The makerBoards will be installed on streets and in open spaces and will prompt members of the community to contribute toward and help co-create the public art displays. Kate is pursuing an urban studies and education degree from Vassar College.

Olivia Roberts is working in the Hudson Valley with the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance on a project called “Creating Land Ownership Access for BIPOC Farmers through More Inclusive Land Conservation Practices.” The aim of the project is to compile research that will assist Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers in maintaining and securing landownership. The project will also explore tools land trusts have at their disposal to stem the loss of BIPOC-owned farmlands. Olivia is pursuing a Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School.

Lindsay McGarth is working in Saratoga County with Saratoga PLAN on a Palmertown Range geological inventory. The Palmertown Range, located at the southern foothills of the Adirondack Park, is a 40,500-acre green corridor. The project will provide an in-depth look into the unique geologic features found throughout the Palmertown Range and guide the development of educational and interpretive materials. Lindsay is pursuing an environmental studies and geology degree from St. Lawrence University.

Isabela Leon Ferrer is working in Beacon and Newburgh with Land to Learn (formerly Hudson Valley Seed) to create a new environmental education curriculum, facilitate summer lessons, and maintain three school gardens. The curriculum, aimed at third through fifth graders, will help increase the organization’s teaching capacity. The lesson plans are intended to be garden-based, promote ecological literacy, be culturally relevant to diverse student communities, and bring learners outdoors. Isabela is pursuing an adolescent education degree with a concentration in Biology from SUNY New Paltz.

Andrew Randazzo and Marguerite Royo are working in New Paltz with Mohonk Preserve and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust to develop and revise forest and protected land management plans that will aid both organizations. The plans will help the organizations prepare for and address the negative impacts of climate change on forested ecosystems and monitor and remove invasive species from protected lands. Andrew is pursuing a Masters of Natural Resource Management from Oregon State University and Marguerite is pursuing a geography with environmental conservation degree from SUNY New Paltz.

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 $314,000 to 57 McHenry Award grantees working in support of the Hudson Valley.

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