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. 

Nominations for 2020 are now closed. 

Questions? Email:

Nominees may come from any field or endeavor and must:

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

Judging Criteria:

Communication Skills

A call for nominations will be emailed in December 2019 to all past attendees of the Environment Virginia Symposium.

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.

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

  • eligibility
  • the facts regarding the reasoning provided with their nomination

Nominees will receive information about:

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


Award Process

  • Once all nominations have been received, the nominees go through one round of voting by the conference program advisory committee. 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.

2019: Roy Hoagland 2019

2019: Tom Smith 2019

2018: Carl Hershner 2018
2017: Nikki Rovner 2017
2016: Marc Edwards 2016
2015: Jack Frye 2015
2014: Russ Baxter 2014
2013: Shelton Miles 2013
2012: E. Cabell Brand 2012
2012: Timothy G. Hayes 2012
2011: Cindy Berndt 2011
2010: Michael Lipford 2010
2008: Ann Jennings 2009
2008: Ward Burton 2008
2004: John Carlock 2004
2004: David Paylor 2004
2004: David Nelms 2004
2004: Robert Dunn 2004
2004: Katherine Slaughter 2004
2004: Ann Regn 2004
2000: Tayloe Murphy 2000
2000: Dennis Treacy 2000
2000: Jay Gilliam 2000
2000: Joseph Maroon 2000

Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards

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