"He was an amateur forester. He planted specimen trees at Cat Rock. He wanted the school to have access to Forestry training," said Gen. Osborn's grandson, Fred Osborn III, who lives in Garrison.
"His intention was to provide a resource for children of the community to be environmentalists, to learn about nature," Osborn said. "He felt the best way to do that was to give the school some land and have them use it."
Osborn explained that his grandfather met with the Sloan and Gunther families who owned some of the land that he envisioned as part of a school forest. "I think he mapped out what would be a useful plot. Some corners of it were owned by other families. He may have bought some pieces," Osborn said. "He was a very persuasive person. He made things happen."
Gen. Osborn and Samuel Sloan Duryee, the grandson of railroad executive Samuel Sloan, gave 135 acres of land, including the South Redoubt, to the Garrison Union Free School District in 1956. The two men also persuaded other family members and neighbors to contribute or sell to Gen. Osborn other pieces of land located in the mountainous area to the east of the South Redoubt. Between 1956 and 1961, Gen. Osborn acquired a total of 185 acres that he deeded to the Garrison School for use as an educational laboratory for children.
“He didn’t want it ever to be developed or sold,” Osborn explained.
The donors of the School Forest are: Samuel Sloan Duryee, Gen. Frederick Henry Osborn, Frederick H. Osborn Jr. and Anne Pell Osborn, William H. Osborn, Elizabeth D. Ballard, Alice O. and Newell Brown, Virginia O. and Morris Earle, and Herbert P. and Minette H. Gunther.
Photograph of Gen. Frederick H. Osborn. "Oral History Interview with Frederick Osborn." Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.