Anne Todd Osborn and Fred Osborn III serendipitously met in 1969, and after 52 years of marriage, three children and 10 grandchildren, their story is still being told. Conservation, advocacy, and service are the fabrics that weave this family together throughout generations. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is proud to be a slice of this history and to include their family as part of our legacy.
In 1953, Anne’s family donated more than 100 acres to the Nature Conservancy, creating what is now the Mianus River Gorge Preserve. This was the first land acquisition by the Nature Conservancy, and it was also the first National Natural History Landmark designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Ancestors of the Osborn family were instrumental in creating public-use lands, including the Garrison School Forest — 181 acres of wooded lands that includes a state Revolutionary War historic site — and portions of the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, whose trail network is maintained by the Trail Conference. In the 1960s, the family helped found the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference to fight the proposed construction of an enormous pumped-storage power plant along the Hudson River. The “Scenic Hudson decision,” which blocked construction of the plant, is considered to be the start of the environmental movement.
Fred and Anne have both honored their families’ traditional roots of land preservation and conservation, serving on the boards of various organizations within the greater Hudson Valley. Fred helped initiate the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, which continues to play a prominent role in their protection today. He is also proud to serve as a Commissioner for the Taconic Region of New York State Parks, enabling him to be an active participant in matters affecting parks, recreation, and historic preservation. Anne was one of the founders of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and took on an increasingly involved role with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, chairing its board for some 11 years. Anne's relationship with Clearwater helped make them a valued partner for our aquatics program with the Lower Hudson PRISM.
As visionary environmental leaders, their shared commitment and affinity to conserve, protect, and advocate for the precious lands around our region was a natural segue to the impact they’ve had at the Trail Conference.
The Osborns have been an integral part of our Trail Family for nearly four decades as volunteer supporters, serving on numerous advisory boards and volunteer committees. Fred’s experience in his 35-year career as the Director of Philanthropic Services for the National Episcopal Church enabled him to assist with the search for a Trail Conference Development Director in the early 2000s. Having earned a Masters degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, Anne served as Science Committee Chair, helping to lead the invasives efforts and to design the program now known as Invasives Strike Force. Anne also served on the Trail Conference Board of Directors for several terms, and as a member of the Steering Committee for the restoration and renovation of the Darlington Schoolhouse as our new, permanent Headquarters in Mahwah, NJ. Over the years, the couple opened their home, “Cat Rock,” in Garrison, to host gatherings to bring awareness to and raise funds for land acquisition efforts in the Hudson Valley.
Continuing their legacy by passing down the environmental values that were installed in them to safeguard our shared spaces, their son, Hank Osborn, is writing the next chapter of this family’s rich history in conservation and advocacy as the Director of Programs at the Trail Conference. Hank continues to build off the legacies of those who came before him with the creation of our Trail Stewards Program, which is being implemented and replicated at high volume trailheads to mitigate ecological impacts in natural areas. Hank’s daughter Lila is also joining the family tradition, earning a Masters in Environmental Planning from the University of Montana and now serving as the Senior Planner for Butte-Silverbow County, MT. Also on the path are grandchildren Freddy and Maya, who are National Outdoor Leadership School graduates.
The Osborns’ service in advancing the Trail Conference’s mission is commendable and deserving of a special celebration as the honorees at our 2023 Annual Gala on October 13th in Garrison, NY. Please join us! Tables and individual tickets can be purchased at nynjtc.org/gala23.