Hudson Highlands

Young Hudson Valley Students Encouraged to Apply for Paid Project Work to Benefit Local Communities

Image Credit: Greg Miller

NEW YORK, NY (February 24, 2022) — The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that it is accepting applications for the 2022 Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards. The awards are granted to graduate and undergraduate students pursuing research, leadership, and community involvement in New York’s Hudson Valley. The 2022 application deadline is March 18, 2022.

Each year, OSI selects up to five students in the fields of environmental conservation, environmental justice, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism to receive a McHenry Award.

Under the construct of the program, students partner with local nonprofits and are awarded up to $5,000, with an additional $1,000 going to the nonprofit, to pursue a project that will promote awareness about local history and the environment and invoke positive change. The 15-year-old program is aimed at encouraging and enabling exceptional students to take an active leadership role in the Albany, Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester County communities.

“OSI’s annual McHenry awards help find some of the most civic-minded young people and support them as they engage with their communities to meet local needs, while furthering their individual goals and interests,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “From Westchester to Albany, New York’s Hudson Valley has a rich history and distinct character, and the McHenry Awards are a funded opportunity for young conservationists to help further collective knowledge and appreciation of this vibrant landscape.”

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 15 years, OSI has committed nearly $ 313,000to 57 McHenry Award grantees.

Previous winners have worked on projects that educated and inspired residents, often leading to tangible community resources such as the creation of a local, fresh food market in downtown Newburgh; a resource database to help Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers maintain and secure land ownership throughout the Hudson Valley; a garden-based, environmental education curriculum for third through fifth graders in Beacon; and a forest land management plan to address the negative impacts of climate change in New Paltz. Other projects have impacted the Hudson Valley through water quality assessments, academic theses and dissertations, historical walking tours, and community panel discussions.

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.

OSI's McHenry Awards

Learn more about the Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards and apply today.


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