Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Your Environment Podcast

Kim Elliman speaks about how OSI is finishing the year with a bang on the
monthly Your Environment podcast. Stream and listen to Your Environment
on the Mid-Hudson News website: www.midhudsonnews.com.

Kim Winter Web Header

December 1, 2014 – The holiday season has arrived again, that time of year when we join friends and family to show appreciation for the gifts and bounty of another year. It is no wonder so many look forward to the holidays, because when you honor and acknowledge others through thought, word or deed, you cannot help but feel good.

Beyond greeting-card pleasantries, many studies have shown that when we humans honor and help others, our good intentions pay dividends in the form of better physical and mental wellbeing for ourselves.

Which is why, here at the Open Space Institute, we are all feeling pretty positive this December.

As 2014 draws to a close, the Open Space Institute is celebrating another successful year: we are on track to conserve over 17,000 acres in seven states and two countries. That’s a rate of nearly 50 acres each day of 2014!

Hand-in-hand with these impressive numbers go the benefits that open space provides to you.

Natural lands save millions of dollars in flood control and water purification, food and clean air. They also provide us that indescribable feeling when we escape our busy lives, even for a few hours, to ramble amongst the trees and streams. Outdoors, many of us forget about rushing from Point A to Point B, and feel the relief of getting to view once again the Bigger Picture: our interconnectedness with nature, and the timelessness of conserved land.

Contributing to something larger than ourselves is what motivates us here at the Open Space Institute. Just last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State reached an agreement to acquire a conservation easement for the nearly 4,000-acre Black Rock Forest in Orange County—the largest Hudson Highlands conservation easement ever!

The new easement which the Open Space Institute is purchasing will allow park visitors the uninterrupted space of nearly 60 miles of trails and 8,600 acres of protected land, with sweeping vistas of dramatic ridges, forest-ponds and reservoirs.

Meanwhile, just south of New York City in Morris County, New Jersey, the Open Space Institute is putting the finishing touches on the preservation of 165 acres of the former Giralda Farms property within the watershed of the federally protected Great Swamp. Completed just in time to prevent residential developers from building on the land, this is a big deal in many ways: one of the largest undeveloped parcels remaining in the county, the largest transaction ever completed in Morris County, one of the largest ever completed in New Jersey itself—and our first one in the state.

This holiday season, when you consider what you’re thankful for, I hope you will include the natural world—and places like Black Rock Forest and Giralda Farms, now preserved forever. Take your family to visit a favorite local park or conserved area this holiday, or better yet show your appreciation with a donation to the Open Space Institute or another environmental organization of your choice. We appreciate your contribution and the good it helps us do.

Happy holidays, everyone!


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