Celebrating those who better our environment across the Commonwealth

The Erchul Environmental Leadership Award

This award recognizes a Virginian who has made significant individual efforts to improve our environment.  Members of Virginia’s environmental community nominate candidates, who are judged on the basis of their vision, expertise, commitment, integrity, communication skills, accomplishments, and diplomacy.  The award is named for the late VMI professor Ronald A. Erchul, Ph.D., the founder of the Environment Virginia Symposium. 


Nominees may come from any field or endeavor and must:

  • be a living, current Virginia resident aged 18 or over
  • have a “Record of Significant Individual Effort to Better our Environment”

Judging Criteria:

  • Vision
  • Expertise
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Communication Skills
  • Accomplishments
  • Diplomacy
  • Questions? Contact Ms. MayAnn Doan, Conference and Marketing Assistant via email at

A call for nominations will be emailed in December to all past attendees of the Environment Virginia Symposium. Nominations are also open to the public.

Submissions must be no more than 350 words explaining why the nominee is qualified. Representatives from the VMI Center for Leadership and Ethics reserve the right to eliminate nominees if they fail to meet criteria. Candidates may receive multiple nominations.

Finalists must agree to nominations and nominees must officially accept the nomination before their name goes on the ballot. VMI’s Center for Leadership and Ethics will post every approved nomination.

NOMINATION DEADLINE is February 8, 2021.

Nominees will be contacted by email or phone to conduct a fact-checking session to verify:

  • Eligibility
  • Reasoning facts provided with the nomination

Nominees will receive information about:

  • Who nominated them
  • The selection process
  • The date by when we will select this year’s recipient

About Voting:

  • Voting for nominees will be done by the Environment Virginia Symposium Program Advisory Committee

Award Process

  • The top 10% proceed as finalists to the Selection Committee (the Selection Committee consists of previous Erchul Award recipients)
  • A winner will be selected prior to the symposium
  • The award recipient will be notified and will receive:
    • Two complimentary tickets to the Environment Virginia Awards reception
    • A commemorative plaque
    • $1,500 donation to the non-profit environmental group of their choice
  • Recipients are only eligible to receive the award once in a lifetime but may participate as a member of the Selection Committee for future nominations.
  • The most recent past recipient is invited to present the newest recipient with their plaque during the awards presentation.

Important Dates:

  • December 2020, nominations open
  • February 4, 2021, nominations close
  • March 2021, Program Advisory Committee Votes
  • Early to Mid-March 2021, winner selection
  • Award ceremony during the Symposium - see schedule

2020: Darryl Glover

2019Roy Hoagland and Tom Smith

2018: Carl Hershner

2017: Nikki Rovner

2016: Marc Edwards

2015: Jack Frye

2014: Russ Baxter

2013: Shelton Miles

2012: E. Cabell Brand and Timothy G. Hayes

2011: Cindy Berndt

2010: Michael Lipford

2009: Ann Jennings

2008: Ward Burton

2004: John Carlock, David Paylor, David Nelms, Robert Dunn, Katherine Slaughter, and Ann Regn

2000: Tayloe Murphy, Dennis Treacy, Jay Gilliam, and Joseph Maroon

Nominees may come from any field or endeavor and must:

  • be a living, current Virginia resident aged 18 or over
  • have a “Record of Significant Individual Effort to Better our Environment”

Access the nomination form here

Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards

The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize successful and innovative efforts that improve Virginia’s environment. The awards program is run annually by DEQ in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. There are four broad categories of awards: Sustainability, Environmental Project, Land Conservation and implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan.

Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award Categories:

Sustainability Program: DEQ considers environmental sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the environmental resource needs of future generations. This category is intended to provide recognition to organizations or facilities that can document the success of their sustainability program by providing evidence of:

  • A culture of environmental sustainability;
  • Recent accomplishments related to reducing their environmental footprint; and
  • A commitment to future sustainability-oriented actions.

Environmental Project: This category is intended to recognize activities or processes implemented by a facility or organization within the past five years that are directed at a single goal to improve the environment beyond what is required by regulation. Examples include, but are not limited to, projects aimed at reducing waste generation, water consumption or pollutant releases, increasing water reuse, green infrastructure, or use and access to clean energy; and adapting to the impacts of a changing climate.

Land Conservation: This category is intended to recognize exemplary land conservation work within the Commonwealth. Examples include outstanding land conservation easement or fee simple acquisition projects that permanently protected lands with high conservation values to the development of an integrated prioritized land conservation plan for an organization or agency region of coverage.

Virginia Outdoors Plan Implementation: This category is intended to recognize outdoor recreation accomplishments meeting the 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan goals and objectives.  Awards will be directed in three categories: trail development, public access to waterways including water trails, and other recreational uses and scenic resource recognition.

To be considered, each applicant must have a record of sustained compliance.

Questions should be directed to Meghann Quinn at 804-698-4021 or