In northern New York, OSI secured a competitive federal grant to establish Saratoga County, New York’s first locally-owned community forest, which will clean water for the City of Saratoga Springs. The new project will serve as a dynamic community hub for multi-use recreation and offer connections to a larger trail system envisioned for the Palmertown Range, a sector of the Adirondack Foothills that runs from Fort Ticonderoga in the north to Saratoga Springs in the south. And, OSI transferred ownership of a 300-year-old farm in Ulster County to give it a new life as a base for organic heirloom seed production
OSI again welcomed a new round of McHenry Scholars to partner with regional nonprofits in the fields of environmental conservation, historic preservation, the arts, tourism, and healthy communities. This year’s recipients completed projects ranging from empowering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color farmers in maintaining and securing land ownership; and developing school gardens that are relevant to diverse groups of elementary school students.
Hand-in-hand with these awards, OSI also announced a new round of Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund awardees for exceptional Hudson Valley organizations focusing on environmental education. This year’s recipients include a nonprofit that aims to help underrepresented youth build resilience by providing experiences in nature, and another organization that seeks to create a heritage trail highlighting the history of Black and Native American people in the Hudson Highlands.
Finally, OSI’s Citizen Action groups continued to make a difference in communities far and wide. In June, groups such as Christopher Park Alliance and HarborLAB held Pride Month programming that saluted the LGBTQIA+ community and its contributions to wellness and the great outdoors; while the plant therapy kits developed by environmental education start-up iDig2Learn proved to be a popular and effective way to keep New York City residents connected to the land during the pandemic.