Land conservation strengthens communities in countless ways. For example, by helping communities across Northern New England permanently conserve and manage their local forests, OSI’s Community Forest Fund is helping to provide economic stability, while safeguarding valuable natural resources. This year, OSI’s support led to the opening of two new community forests: Richmond Town Forest outside of bustling Burlington, Vermont, and Pine Hill Community Forest, formed on rural New Hampshire land that had been owned by a local family for more than 100 years.
Almost a major subdivision development, a newly-protected property in southeastern Albany County, NY, will preserve a community asset in the historic town of Rensselaerville. The “Hillicoss Family Farm” parcel will also increase the size of Rensselaerville State Forest by 25 percent.
In 2018, OSI continued donating easements to municipalities throughout New York. Our donation of the Mill Creek Conservation Area and Sullivan’s Island will allow enhanced access to the popular recreation area, and commemorates OSI’s original acquisition of the properties nearly 20 years ago, which helped protect the lands from development.
Across New York City and other communities, OSI’s Citizen Action program continues to make a difference boosting grassroots organizations. Among those mentored by OSI this year included “Talk Trash City,” which sponsors competitions for innovators to pitch ideas on reducing the amount of trash in New York City’s landfills; and “Isham Park Recreation Program,” which stewards a natural, outdoor oasis called Bruce’s Garden in the northern most section of Manhattan.
Finally, OSI’s Barnabas McHenry program continued to honor exceptional young leaders working to protect and enhance the Hudson River Valley, including one recipient who made a difference at New York City’s Van Cortlandt Park. He was among OSI’s four 2018 McHenry recipients, seeking either undergraduate or graduate degrees, who worked on topics ranging from environmental conservation to historic preservation to arts to tourism.