NEW YORK, NY—June 8, 2016—The Open Space Institute (OSI) has presented the 2016 Land Conservation Award to The Garden Club of America for its more than 100-year legacy of advocating for conservation across the nation, including its staunch support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF). Approximately 250 people gathered at OSI’s Annual Luncheon, held Wednesday at the Metropolitan Club in midtown Manhattan, to honor the organization.
Douglas Brinkley, CNN commentator, historian and author of the new book Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America delivered a stirring keynote describing the former president’s early wilderness protection efforts and his support of The Garden Club of America.
“Conservation is a founding principle of The Garden Club of America,” said the club’s president, Anne Copenhaver. We are honored to work with the Open Space Institute in advancing environmental protection, preservation of the natural world, and stewardship of public lands.”
“The Garden Club of America’s ongoing support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund is key to the natural and economic strength of communities across the nation,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “As an organization committed to preserving important natural landscapes and the critical resources they protect, OSI is honored to celebrate The Garden Club of America’s invaluable contribution through the years. We are all indebted to the tireless efforts of those seemingly ordinary citizens whose early push for land conservation now forms our nation’s environmental inheritance.”
The Garden Club of America is a national leader in the fields of horticulture, conservation and civil improvement. Founded in 1913, The Garden Club of America is a volunteer nonprofit organization comprised of 200 member clubs and approximately 18,000 club members throughout the country.
Together, The Garden Club of America members passionately devote their energy and expertise to projects in communities across the nation. Supporters also rally around environmental legislation on the federal and state levels, calling local senators and representatives. In 2016, their active advocacy around programs like OSI’s Outdoors America Campaign helped to advance permanent reauthorization of the LWCF, a $300 million program that preserves federal lands around the country and funds outdoor recreation.
During his keynote, Brinkley described President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s support for the state parks movement, his creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps to combat Depression-era unemployment, and his lifelong protection of and identification with the Hudson River Valley.
In 1996, OSI acquired Roosevelt’s presidential residence Top Cottage, in Hyde Park, NY, helping reunite this retreat with the Roosevelt National Historic Site on the banks of the Hudson River in Dutchess County. OSI also preserved adjacent parcels connecting Top Cottage with Eleanor Roosevelt’s nearby retreat, Val-Kill.
Also at the luncheon, OSI honored four recipients of its annual Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards, funded by an endowment raised by OSI to honor Trustee Barney McHenry. The annual awards recognize exceptional young leaders working in support of the Hudson River Valley.
In total since 2007, OSI has committed nearly $260,000 to 38 McHenry Award grantees working in support of the Hudson Valley.
The 2016 recipients of the McHenry Awards and their projects are:
• Allison M. Montroy will work with Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, a nonprofit environmental subsidiary of Clarkson University, to create an educational exhibit about the Hudson River.
• Maija Niemisto will work with the nonprofit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater to research the distribution of fish and plankton in the Hudson River estuary via sonar.
• Otto Ohle will work with Prattsville Art Project Inc. to develop a series of multimedia digital workshops for rural youth exploring the experiences of young people growing up among the forests and mountain valleys of the Northern Catskills.
• Nicole Pidala will work with Hudson Highlands Land Trust and the Town of Philipstown to update the town’s Open Space Index and Open Areas Inventory within its Comprehensive Plan.