New York, NY — October 23, 2008 — A new book, Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition (Earth Aware Editions, October 2008), counts among its 40 stories of conservation successes the Open Space Institute’s campaign to protect the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties in New York State. Described as “an extraordinarily varied landscape, with windswept cliffs, talus fields, secluded glens, ice caves,” the Shawangunks are a focal point of OSI’s conservation efforts in the Hudson River Valley. OSI has protected more than 26,000 acres atop and around the ridge since 1986.
Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition by Tom Butler, with a foreword by Tom Brokaw, is a testament to the bountiful and wide-reaching legacy of the global conservation movement. Butler, a seasoned conservationist and author, archives the fascinating history of pioneering nature-oriented philanthropists and the unfolding stories of their modern-day counterparts.
With world-class landscape photographer Antonio Vizcaíno, the book takes readers on a visually spectacular tour of protected natural areas saved through private initiative by conservationists. From California’s Muir Woods to Tierra del Fuego, and over the course of a century, people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe have used their personal wealth and energy to save wild places, creating state and national parks, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and private nature sanctuaries.
The selection of the Shawangunks as one of 40 highlighted success stories made perfect sense to author Tom Butler. “Upstate New York may not have the sort of iconic grandeur as the Tetons or Alaska, but the Shawangunks offer great beauty, exceptional natural communities, and an outstanding conservation opportunity, which is rather amazing for such a long-settled landscape,” Butler said. “The story of how OSI is expanding and linking up conservation lands along the Shawangunk Ridge Greenway is to me one of the most inspiring current examples of conservation dollars and creativity in action. It was a natural for the book.”
OSI is the leading conservation organization working atop the magnificent Shawangunk Range, which stretches 245 miles from New Paltz, NY, to the Delaware Water Gap area of New Jersey and beyond into Pennsylvania. For 22 years, OSI has been working to protect a 50-mile corridor from Kingston to Port Jervis, NY, and efforts there have secured 2,500 acres at the Awosting Reserve, 5,500 acres at Sam’s Point, the 5,400-acre Lundy Estate, and created the Shawangunk Ridge State Forest and Huckleberry Ridge State Forest while also adding thousands of acres to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
Wildlands Philanthropy tells OSI’s story from the unique perspective of long-time OSI staff member Bob Anderberg, who has focused on Shawangunk protection for the last 30 years.
“Bob’s role here is absolutely immeasurable,” said OSI President Joe Martens. “I have no doubt that future generations will look back and recognize the genius of protecting this very special landscape and the dedication that it took to make it happen.”
OSI Vice President External Affairs