Bringing concerned parties together to talk about environmental issues is a common practice today, but it has not always been the norm.
Gerald McCarthy, executive director of the Virginia Environmental Endowment was recognized for his leadership in fostering mediation and protecting Virginia’s environment (the picture to the left shows Mr. McCarthy receiving the award from IEN Director Frank Dukes, November 2004).
In honor of McCarthy’s contributions, the University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation has established the Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution. The award, which will be given annually, will recognize an outstanding leader in the effort to protect Virginia’s environment.
The inaugural award was presented to McCarthy at IEN’s 25th anniversary symposium Nov. 19. He was recognized for his varied contributions to Virginia’s environment, including bringing environmental mediation to Virginia and his role in awarding funding for the creation and continued support of IEN. Other groundbreaking work that McCarthy and the endowment have been involved in over the years includes launching the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Office, establishing the Nature Conservancy’s Eastern Shore Office and programs, starting the Izaak Walton League’s Save our Streams program in Virginia, getting the state’s Office of Environmental Education started, and most recently, starting the multispecies, ecosystem based Chesapeake Bay fisheries program at the Virginia Institute of marine Science. It its 27-year history the VEE has made grants totaling almost $23 million to accomplish a variety of programs to conserve natural resources, protect the environment and promote environmental literacy.
“Jerry started the practice of environmental conflict resolution in Virginia,” said Frank Dukes, IEN director, “Through the years he has been active in bringing people together to teach them about the importance of conflict resolution. McCarthy’s leadership has helped to institutionalize bringing stakeholders together to resolve environmental differences in Virginia’s communities, organizations and agencies.” McCarthy said it was a “surprise and honor coming from such a prestigious institution as the University of Virginia — its School of Architecture and Institute for Environmental Negotiation” — to have the award named in recognition of his lifelong commitment to support Virginia’s environment. McCarthy’s experience includes more than three decades of work, beginning with serving as the first Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on the Environment for Governor Linwood Holton, and then as Chairman and Administrator of the state Council on the Environment for Governor Godwin. Subsequently he has served as the first and only Executive Director of Virginia Environmental Endowment. He said he is proud that in Virginia “we have proven you can get more accomplished with getting people together to talk about issues.”
The award will be given annually to an individual, organization, local government, agency, educational institution or community that fosters collaboration and has taken a leadership role in preserving and protecting Virginia’s environment.