Five Young Leaders Recognized for Commitment to Hudson Valley Communities
NEW YORK, NY— April 29, 2015 —Today the Open Space Institute announced the winners of the Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards, presented to exceptional young leaders working in support of the Hudson River Valley.
Every year, OSI makes awards of up to
$6,000 each for graduate and undergraduate students to partner with regional
nonprofits and complete projects in the fields of environmental conservation,
historic preservation, the arts and tourism.
over forty years, OSI has worked to protect and preserve the Hudson River
Valley, leaving a legacy for future generations to inherit and cherish just as
we do,” said Kim Elliman, OSI President and CEO. “From enhancing agricultural
efficiencies and opertions, climate change education and issues related to
hunger and community food banks to researching local African-American history,
this year’s recipients are taking on important challenges facing the Hudson
Valley and beyond.”
OSI established the McHenry Awards in
2007 to honor the extensive contributions of OSI Trustee and environmental
philanthropist and conservationist, Barnabas McHenry. Funded by an endowment
raised by OSI, this year’s awards will fund graduate and undergraduate students
to pursue research, leadership and community involvement in the Hudson Valley.
Since the program’s inception, OSI has committed nearly $230,000 to support the
initiative, which has awarded 33 McHenry grantees since 2007.
McHenry has created a broad and lasting influence in the Hudson River Valley.
There are few parks, public places and cultural institutions there that have
not benefited from his vision,” Elliman said. “In keeping with his legacy, the
McHenry Awards identify and encourage the next generation of environmental and
community leaders and we are inspired by their collective commitment.”
2015 recipients of the McHenry Awards and their projects are:
Meehan will work with agricultural nonprofit Glynwood in Cold Spring, NY, to create
a toolkit for the purpose of facilitating the baseline property assessment of
agricultural properties by Partners in the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network. His project
will streamline the process for assessing properties and lead to more thorough
information about the agricultural possibilities of a given property. The
information generated through baseline property assessment, in turn, will
improve efficiencies in matchmaking efforts for partners, landowners and
farmers by providing options and data at the beginning of the matchmaking
process. Mr. Meehan, who is originally from Santa Cruz, California, is pursuing a Masters in Environmental Management at Yale
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Czarnecki and Marissa Porter will work with Marist College to organize a series
of public seminars on leadership in sustainability in an attempt to bridge the disconnect
between the public and climate change through greater awareness. The goal of
their project is to recognize and support best practices to improve
environmental sustainability, including research, collaboration, and
preservation as well as educate the public on environmental and sustainability
practices, and provide information upon which to make sustainable decisions. Ms.
Czarnecki and Ms. Porter are students at Marist College majoring in Environmental
Science, where they have demonstrated a commitment to environmental
conservation through participation in Students Encouraging Environmental
Dedication, or SEED at Marist College. Ms. Czarnecki’s hometown is Wayne, NJ, while Ms. Porter is from West Newbury, MA.
the historic preservation field, Tashae K. Smith will work with Manhattanville
College to research, interpret and present to local and academic communities
the history of enslaved and indentured African-American labor in the physical
construction of the city of Newburgh, New York, with a particular focus on the
period from the Revolutionary War to 1840. This project’s final product will
consist of a comprehensive student-written and supervisor-evaluated narrative
and analytical report that will detail research methods, sources and findings. Ms.
Smith, who is originally from Newburgh, NY, is a History major at Manhattanville College and a recipient of their
highest awarded student scholarship.
Zhang will work with Newburgh Community Land Bank to create a Food Hub in
historic downtown Newburgh that incorporates market aggregation of farm
products in the region, value added processing and food incubator
opportunities. Her project focusing on restaurant/food service operations in
addition to the potential for actual urban agriculture will bring a vibrant mix
of people, businesses and investment to buildings in need of adaptive reuse
concepts. Ms. Zhang will complete a dual master’s program in Architecture and
Environmental Management this spring from the Yale schools of Architecture and
Forestry & Environmental Studies.