Open Space Names McHenry Scholars

Student from Philipstown among winners

The Open Space Institute has announced the recipients of its 2016 Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards, which provide grants of up to $6,000 to undergraduate and graduate students to work with nonprofits on projects related to the Hudson River Valley. Since 2007, the Open Space Institute has awarded nearly $260,000 to 38 McHenry Award grantees. The 2016 recipients are:

Niemisto, Montroy, Pidala and Ohle (photos provided)

Niemisto, Montroy, Pidala and Ohle (photos provided)

Nicole Pidala, an undergraduate at the University of Vermont whose family lives in Garrison, 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. First compiled in 2006, the data is intended for use by residents, local boards, project applicants, nonprofit land conservation organizations and state agencies to guide protection of ground and surface water, biodiversity, community character and recreation.

Allison Montroy, a graduate student at Clarkson University, will work with the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries to create an educational exhibit about the Hudson River. The exhibit at the Institute’s Sensor Place will integrate digital art and real-time data from the River and Estuary Observatory Network — an observation and monitoring system of New York’s Hudson, Mohawk and St. Lawrence river watersheds.

Maija Niemisto, a graduate student at Stony Brook University, will partner with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater to research the distribution of fish and plankton in the estuary via sonar. Combining fish sampling data collected from the organization’s historic sailboat with sonar data, Niemisto hopes to reveal insights into the fish food chain and how it might be impacted by factors such as climate change and habitat loss.

Otto Ohle, an undergraduate at SUNY Purchase, will work with Prattsville Art Project Inc. to develop a series of multimedia digital workshops for rural youth. Hosted by the Prattsville Art Center, the workshops will explore the experiences of young people growing up among the forests and mountain valleys of the northern Catskills. Ohle’s project will culminate in a film festival.

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