Osi View To The Shawangunks Michael Nelson 1400

Year-in-Review 2020: Creating Strong Communities

Image Credit: Michael Nelson

OSI’s work touched places both urban and rural — from New Paltz to the Bronx in New York; and from quiet Dillon County to the Charleston, SC region.

To create jobs and jumpstart local economies, OSI continued to raise its voice for land conservation financing on the local, state and federal levels.

In August, after a decade of effort by the OSI-supported Outdoor America Campaign, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law. The landmark win secured permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), our nation’s best tool to create more open space for outdoor recreation — both close to home, and in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.

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This year, OSI's River-to-Ridge Trail hosted the release of more rehabilitated peregrine falcons.
Image Credit: Greg Miller

On the state level, OSI remained strong supporters of New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), calling for the state to maintain funding for environmental programs critical to New York's recovery and prosperity. And in New Paltz, NY, OSI joined local conservation partners and leaders in securing passage of a local open space preservation fund.

Also this year, OSI’s Community Forest Fund helped to expand three community forests — one in Maine and two in New Hampshire — capping a decade-long effort that granted more than $2 million to support the creation and expansion of 25 community forests. In total, these efforts conserved more than 40,000 acres across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Not only did the pandemic lead to increased appreciation for OSI’s celebrated River-to-Ridge Trail, the amenity also hosted several events, including a native tree planting and the release of six rehabilitated peregrine falcons. Additionally, a new partnership between OSI and the Shawangunk Nordic Ski Association will maintain cross-country skiing along the trail starting this winter.

OSI’s Citizen Action groups also provided refuge for local communities during the pandemic. Kelly Street Garden, in urban New York City, provided cooking classes as well as fresh fruits, veggies and herbs for local residents, while Philadelphia-based Honoring the Future continued to harness art to raise awareness for climate change.

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