Master’s degree students recognized for commitment to Hudson Valley communities
New York, NY - May 1, 2017 - The
Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the recipients of the 2017 Barnabas
McHenry Hudson Valley Awards, honoring exceptional young leaders who are
working to protect and enhance the Hudson River Valley. The five recipients, who
represent communities throughout the Valley, will work this summer with
prominent community nonprofits.
established the McHenry Awards in 2007 to honor the extensive contributions of
its Trustee Barnabas McHenry, a renowned environmental philanthropist and conservationist.
Funded by an endowment raised by OSI, the awards go to graduate and
undergraduate students pursuing research, leadership and community involvement
in the Hudson Valley.
winners of our McHenry Award represent the bright future of the Hudson Valley. Each
year we are surprised and delighted by the applicants, their project ideas, and
their passion to improve their communities,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president
and CEO. “Through educational, conservation and cultural projects, these leaders
of tomorrow are adding to Barney McHenry’s amazing legacy of dedication to the
year, OSI makes awards of up to $6,000 each for graduate or undergraduate
students to partner with regional nonprofits in the fields of environmental
conservation, historic preservation, the arts and tourism. This year, OSI is
featuring a fifth category, healthy communities, to directly engage with the
interests of student leaders. Since 2007, OSI has committed nearly $223,000 to 42
McHenry Award grantees working in support of the Hudson Valley.
2017 recipients of the McHenry Awards and their project descriptions are as
will work with the Rondout Valley Growers Association (RVGA, Inc.) to create a
model of community outreach that engages the next generation in addressing food
insecurity through RVGA’s Farm to Food Pantry Program. The project will use
brochures, community forums and the creation of a raised bed garden to provide
college students at SUNY Ulster with a direct connection to the farm community,
and help create awareness about food access. From Newburgh, NY, Burke is
currently an undergraduate student at SUNY Ulster.
Miranda Fey Whitus
will work with Bard College to create a genealogy and comprehensive history of
the families connected to the historic Montgomery Place estate. Exploring the
association between objects and owners, Whitus will research the heritage and
history of the Hudson Valley by analyzing the design aesthetic, artistic
practices and material possessions of families who lived in the estate during the
19th and 20th centuries. From Tivoli, NY, Whitus is an
undergraduate at Bard College.
Anya Ptacek will
work with Hudson Valley Seed to build four new school gardens at elementary
schools in Newburgh and Kingston in New York’s Hudson
Valley. The project will involve learning about educational garden design and
implementation, designing and building new educational gardens, planting and
maintaining the gardens daily, and teaching healthy eating programs in the
gardens. Ptacek, from Cold Spring, NY, is an undergraduate at Macalester
College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Molly Scott will
work with Teaching the Hudson Valley (a project of Hudson River Valley National
Heritage Area, National Park Service, NYS Department of Environmental
Conservation, and Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College) to create a
comprehensive guide of Hudson Valley heritage sites associated with notable
women or events related to women’s history. The project aims to celebrate the centennial
of woman’s suffrage in New York State by making it easier for K-12 teachers and
educators to incorporate women’s history into their work with students. A native
of Poughkeepsie, Scott is an undergraduate student at Marist College.
will work with Groundwork Hudson Valley Inc. as a youth leader for their Green Team program. As a Green Team alumna, Robinson’s project
will be to lead the Green Team during their weekly shift at the Yonkers’
Farmer’s Market, develop a one hour curriculum surrounding urban agriculture
and healthy communities, and act as a youth mentor for current green team
participants. Robinson, from Purchase,
NY, is an undergraduate at SUNY Purchase.