Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

NHT Current Projects & Partnerships

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NHT's 50th Anniversary

2018 was a special year as we marked the 50th anniversary of the Natural Heritage Trust. As one of New York State's oldest and most experienced not-for-profit partners, we celebrated decades of achievements and accomplishments as a trusted collaborator with New York State agencies and businesses, along with partnerships with private groups and individuals.

Connecting Kids to Parks

Connect Kids has continued to shine as part of a series of initiatives introducing inner city youth to New York State parks lands and historic sites. Connect Kids is an integral component of the free recreation programs that children and their families can participate in at parks and sites statewide.

Many schools have now institutionalized the program in their curricula, offering field trips to parks and historic sites as a popular annual activity. The NHT has raised over $450,000 in support of Connect Kids initiatives. To date, the Connect Kids to Parks Field Trip Grant program has awarded 2,344 field trip grants and served over 108,000 public school students.

Environmental Education Center at Green Lakes State Park

On October 12, 2018, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the completion of a $6 million renovation of the Green Lakes State Park waterfront, featuring a new year-round Environmental Education Center. The project converted a deteriorated 1940s boat house on the lake into a modern facility to house park events and enhance environmental education programming. The historic boathouse materials were disassembled and meticulously rebuilt away from the water's edge. This new 1,100 square-foot Center includes indoor classroom and multipurpose space, an outdoor classroom, lakefront boardwalk, canoe and kayak landing with an ADA-compliant launch, a new boat rental booth, storage racks and trail signage.

The NHT assisted with fundraising efforts for the Environmental Education Center's interactive exhibits. The public-private partnership with the Central Regional State Parks Commission raised over $1 million in donations and grants for the project. Click here for more on the opening.

$6.5M grant from the Robert C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for Western New York Trailways

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation awarded a $6.5 million grant to the NHT to expand the Empire State Trail initiative in Western New York. Over the next three years, this funding will be used to enhance the trail with gateways, signage, kiosks, bike racks and other amenities, as well as helping to complete the Shoreline Trail and adding trail amenities from Buffalo to Niagara Falls. Read more here!

Nature and Energy Education Center at Jones Beach State Park

A new $18 million year-round facility will be built at Jones Beach State Park and will feature exhibits and programming that encourages visitors of all ages to become good stewards of the environment and smart energy consumers. The project is part of a public-private partnership with PSEG Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority, New York Power Authority, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The Nature and Energy Education Center continues the State's revitalization of historic Jones Beach State Park, which is part of the Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 Plan, a multi-year commitment of $900 Million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020.

The NHT is excited to be part of the private fundraising effort for this landmark project at one of the state's most visited and iconic parks! Click here to learn more!