Baldwin resident David Viana has received the 2011 American Legion School Award for his volunteer work to help preserve the community’s 35-acre Coes Neck property.

“I have always had a passion to protect the environment, and improve Baldwin, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do both,” said Viana, 17, a recent graduate of St. Mary’s College Preparatory High School in Manhasset.

The American Legion Post 304 in Manhasset presented Viana with the award during a ceremony on Memorial Day in the Manhasset High School auditorium. The award is given to students who possess “courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service.”

Viana, who will be attending Stony Brook University in the fall, helped the Baldwin Oaks Civic Association distribute information about the property to residents and created the association’s website,

The Coes Neck property is just east of Coes Neck Road and south of the Southern State Parkway. It was designated as a perpetual preserve in December 2008 after community opposition to earlier plans to lease it to Molloy College for new athletic fields. It was once an asphalt plant and had become an illegal dumpsite for debris from the demolition of the Garden City Hotel in 1973.