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Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards Nomination Process

Nick Zungoli View From Boscobel

The Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards are grants awarded each year to four exceptional young leaders in the fields of environmental conservation, historic preservation, the arts, and tourism. To mark our 10th anniversary, OSI is seeking applications for a fifth category, “Healthy Communities,” to support projects engaging specifically in food access, environmental justice or sustainability in the Hudson Valley. The awards, of up to $5,000 each, provide financial support for undergraduate and graduate students to pair with nonprofit organizations and execute exemplary projects in the Hudson River Valley.

In addition to the $5,000 awarded to McHenry Recipients, The Open Space Institute also awards $1,000 to their sponsoring organizations for supplementary expenses.

The Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards were created in 2007 to honor the extensive contributions of environmental philanthropist and conservationist, Barnabas McHenry. Barney is passionate about preserving the scenic and environmental importance of the Hudson River Valley, celebrating its vibrant historical, artistic, and cultural resources, and supporting young leaders who embody this same passion.

Compelling Proposals and Applicants

The Open Space Institute awards grants to young leaders who conduct projects that celebrate the scenic and historical value of the Hudson River Valley, educate local and academic communities, promote awareness, and invoke change.

An advisory committee selects McHenry Awardees in each of the four disciplines based on the following merits:

  • Young leaders who demonstrate an excellence in their chosen field and a passion for their distinctive project.
  • Projects that produce tangible benefits to local communities in the Hudson River Valley.
  • Projects that impact a student’s respective college or university, introducing thought-provoking and compelling conversations to academic communities.



Any nonprofit organization working in the Hudson Valley may nominate a candidate and the project that he or she will conduct. Eligible candidates must be undergraduate or graduate students. The project itself may be either a summer internship or a year-long endeavor.

How to Apply

Student Resources

Are you an undergraduate or a graduate student with a compelling project proposal but lack a partnership with a nonprofit organization? Here is a list of nonprofit organizations in the Hudson River Valley you can contact about applying for a summer or year-long internship funded by the McHenry Award.

As a student candidate, your own college or university can also nominate you. The project would then be conducted in collaboration with either a professor or faculty member in place of a nonprofit organization.

Organization Resources

Are you a nonprofit organization in the Hudson River Valley looking to work with a bright, young leader on a compelling project but lack partnerships with undergraduate and graduate students? You have the ability to reach out to college professors with potential internship opportunities for their students. Here is a list of colleges and universities in the Hudson River Valley area to get you started.

Colleges in the Hudson River Valley 

If you want your organization or college to be listed under student or organization resources  please email Jessica Watson at with a brief summary of your organization’s mission and how a McHenry Award project directed by a young leader could further that mission. (Maximum 1 paragraph) 

Application Process

Applications must be completed by March 10, 2017 and include:

  1. On-line application  completed by the nominating organization.
  2. Letter from the candidate
    1. Explain the importance of this project to you;
    2. Explain why you are qualified to do this project;
    3. Letter must not exceed one page, single-spaced;
    4. Candidate’s Resume (including academic achievements);
    5. Project Budget.


The application submission deadline is 5:00 pm on March 10, 2017. Application must be submitted online.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Any additional questions can be emailed to Jessica Watson at 

Local Community Impact

Over the past seven years McHenry projects have had a significant impact on the Hudson River Valley. Recipients have educated and inspired members of local communities through their projects and community outreach strategies.

McHenry projects can directly impact local communities by culminating in a tangible community resource. McHenry fellows also generate an indirect influence on local communities through local newspaper publications, panel discussions, and public education projects.

“When an undergraduate receives an award like this, it’s life changing. It really changes one’s view about their work and the value of it” - David Jakim 

Successful McHenry Projects

David Jakim, a recipient in 2008, conducted a habitat-mapping project that culminated in a well-received community presentation.

Erin Hoagland, a recipient in 2012, constructed a public access arboretum to be used as an educational resource for school field trips and summer camps.

Christina Ritter, a recipient in 2013, produced education toolkits to promote interactive learning environments. Her lesson designs and templates are still being used in local classrooms.

Academic Impact

McHenry Award fellows and projects have a meaningful impact on academic communities. Many recipients have discussed their McHenry projects in academic papers and presentations, theses and dissertations, and even at academic conferences.

“[My McHenry project] helped give me a leg up. A published work on the table just opens doors” - Michael Diaz

The Open Space Institute strongly encourages McHenry recipients to reach out to their academic communities and looks to support McHenry fellows in their academic and professional endeavors. McHenry recipients will receive updates for conferences and calls for papers in the northeast after project completion.


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