Today the Open Space Institute (OSI) announced Barnabas (Barney) McHenry as the recipient of OSI’s 2007 Land Conservation Award, presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of land conservation. In addition to the award, OSI also announced the creation of the Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards, funded by an endowment raised by OSI. These annual awards will provide financial support to promising young leaders and exemplary projects that make significant contributions in three main areas—environmental conservation, historic preservation, and the arts—in the Hudson River Valley.
The award and the endowment were announced at OSI’s annual luncheon today at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. Leonard Lauder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event that featured James A. Baker III, 61st Secretary of State, as the keynote speaker. More than 300 people attended.
Barney McHenry has worked to protect the Hudson River Valley—its landscapes, heritage and culture – for more than four decades. As counsel to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest, he was the principal architect of the Wallace Funds, which have contributed to the arts, education, humanities, and the environment throughout the Hudson River Valley. He demonstrated his commitment to the region as a Member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, Chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Co-Chair of the Hudson River Valley Natural Heritage Area, President of Boscobel, and Trustee of both Friends of the Hudson Valley and the Open Space Institute.
The Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Awards were created in honor of Barney McHenry’s extensive contributions and accomplishments, to celebrate Barney’s leadership, and to foster future leaders in the Hudson River Valley. OSI has raised endowment pledges and commitments of $500,000 to date. Additional donations will allow OSI to further expand its support of these important endeavors, cultivating the next generation of regional visionaries and providing for a greater impact in the Hudson River Valley. OSI will administer the endowment, and an advisory committee will be appointed to solicit project nominations, review applications, and recommend award stipends in the arts, historic preservation, and environmental conservation.
To celebrate the launch of the McHenry Hudson Awards, awards were granted in each of the three areas to: Matt Weiner, a student at Vassar College, who will work with Mohonk Preserve in the area of Environmental Conservation; Michael Diaz, a graduate of Marist College, who will do research for Boscobel in the area of Historic Preservation; and Jenny B. Reisner of Croton-on-Hudson, a student at Yale University, who will intern at Historic Hudson Valley in the area of the Arts.
The mission of the Open Space Institute is to protect scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, special loan programs, fiscal sponsorship, creative partnerships, education, and analytical research.
The Open Space Institute has protected nearly 100,000 acres in New York State. Through its Northern Forest Protection Fund and Conservation Finance Program, OSI has assisted in the protection of 1.6 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina.