Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

STONE RIDGE – SUNY Ulster Environmental Studies student Michael Burke, of Newburgh, was presented one of five 2017 Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Awards offered through The Open Space Institute.

Michael Burke. Photo provided

On Tuesday Mike and the other awardees attended a luncheon in New York City at the Metropolitan Club for the 2017 Land Conservation Award in honor of the Adams family, and met former governor George Pataki, among other luminaries.

Michael 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. Michael states “I am honored to receive this award for myself, but more so for SUNY Ulster. I hope it continues to help after I have gone. I want to thank Jennifer Costello for all of her work and help in attaining this opportunity.”

Michael Burke receiving his Start Here. Go Far award from President Roberts. Photo provided

Mike is in his fourth semester at SUNY Ulster and holds a 3.5 GPA. He is working to earn an associate’s degree in Environmental Studies and plans to transfer in Fall 2018 to SUNY New Paltz to pursue a B.S. in Organismal and Environmental Biology.

Jennifer Costello, SUNY Ulster Adjunct Professor of Biology, states “Michael is a bright, responsible, and enthusiastic student. He was selected for the Rondout Valley Growers Association internship, funded by the 2017 Barnabas McHenry Hudson River Valley Award, not only based on his academic merit but also due to his history of community service.” Michael also recently received a SUNY Ulster Start Here Go Far Award for overcoming adversity.

The Open Space Institute (OSI) Barnabas McHenry Hudson Valley Award honors 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. OSI 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.

The OSI Annual Luncheon honored the Adams family – OSI founding Chairman John, his wife Patricia, and their children Kate, John Hamilton and Ramsay – for their tremendous contributions as individuals and as a family, to the environmental well-being of so many communities, from the Hudson Valley to the Catskills to the Southern Appalachians, and beyond. John and Patricia have passed their love of the natural world onto their children in the amazing example set by John — Founding Director of The Natural Resources Defense Council and the recipient of numerous awards and commendations in recognition of his work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States — the Adams are one of America’s great conservation families.

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