BETHLEHEM – Friends of Five Rivers, the non-profit support arm of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)-owned and operated Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, was awarded a $27,638 matching grant from the Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership Grants program to increase marketing and outreach throughout the greater Capital Region in order to raise awareness of the Friends’ organization.
Friends of Five Rivers will use these funds to enhance the mission and partnership with Five Rivers, as well as to improve community engagement, membership, and volunteerism. Friends of Five Rivers will have to raise an additional $3,750 in matching funds, for a total of $31,388 to carry out this project.
The grant is one of 27 awards totaling $1.8 million for organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York’s state parks and historic sites, trails, and public lands. The grants will be matched with private and local funding and will support projects to strengthen Friends groups and enhance public access and recreational opportunities.
Friends groups—nonprofit organizations often made up entirely of volunteers—are essential to the stewardship and promotion of our state park system. These dedicated groups raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance tasks, provide educational programming, and promote public use through hosting special events.
The Park and Trail Partnership Grants are administered by Parks & Trails New York, a statewide nonprofit organization, in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Paul Steely White said, “Behind many of our favorite outdoor experiences–hikes, picnics with our family, bike rides–there is a hard-working local organization making that experience possible. These amazing grassroots organizations do so much with elbow grease, expertise, and volunteerism… but they also need the critical financial assistance our Park and Trail Partnership Grants provide. We are proud to work with OPHRP and DEC to ensure these groups, and the crucial work they do for our public lands, are supported in the benefit they provide for our communities. We are proud we’ve helped enable what literally amounts to billions of breathtaking experiences every year in our parks, greenway trails and other public lands.
This year’s cohort of PTPG grant recipients are all pursuing different projects– from trail restoration at Hook Mountain to the installation of an ADA kayak launch at Point au Roche– but they all add up to a healthier, happier New York just in time for the NYS Parks Centennial celebration.”
The mission of Friends of Five Rivers is to support environmental education at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, as well as to enhance the experience of visitors to Five Rivers and to promote the interests of the Center. “This grant will help us in further achieving our mission by raising more awareness in the greater community of who we are and what we do for environmental education,” explained Paulette Doudoukjian, Friends of Five Rivers Executive Director.
“We are honored to be one of the 27 recipients of this competitive grant from Parks & Trails New York and excited for what the year holds for us in part thanks to this opportunity” she added.
Friends of Five Rivers will use the funds to redesign their website and have a brochure professionally designed and produced, and also work on projects for membership engagement and growth, as well as volunteer recruitment through more community engagement opportunities.
To view a list of all Round 9 awardees, please visit: https://www.ptny.org/our-work/support/park-trailpartnership-program/awardees More information on Park and Trail Partnership Grants can be found at www.ptny.org or by calling 518- 434-1583 x3.
This story was featured on page 10 of the January 24th , 2024 print edition of the Spotlight