The Institute gives the annual McCarthy Award to an individual, organization, local government, agency, educational institution or community member who demonstrates leadership in the effort to preserve and protect the commonwealth’s environment; supports collaborative problem-solving through actions, contributions and/or educational programs; and who is a role model to others for the resolution of environmental issues. Mr. Miller displayed these characteristics in his efforts to promote improved management plans for the Jefferson and Washington National Forests in Virginia.
Mark’s public outreach and organizing were key to the successful campaign, maintained during many years, to designate 53,000 acres of Wilderness and National Scenic Area in the Jefferson National Forest in southwestern Virginia in the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act of 2010. He was instrumental in bringing varied stakeholders into the process, many of whom were not traditional supporters of wilderness protection, including hunters, mountain bikers, tourism interests, local government officials, business owners, garden clubs and faith groups. Mark has a strong gift of having no fear or hesitation about talking to potential adversaries in the effort to find common ground.