Bridge Builder Celebration

Bridge Builder Celebration

Each fall, VIRGINIAforever host our signature event – the Bridge Builder Celebration – in Richmond. The event honors elected officials and others who have championed efforts to protect Virginia’s land and water.

Bridge Builder Award Recipients

2019

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The Honorable David Bulova

Representing the 37th district, including the city of Fairfax and part of Fairfax County, Delegate David Bulova has served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006. An environmental planner by profession, Delegate Bulova is uniquely qualified and driven to fight for environmental issues in the General Assembly. His key accomplishments include spearheading legislation that enabled better understand the funding required to restore the Chesapeake Bay through an annual assessment process (HB1822); protection of water resources from certain chemicals as a result of firefighting activities (HB2762); and protection of water supplies by requiring the State Water Control Board to consider the state water supply plan when making permitting decisions (HB1158). In addition to receiving VIRGINIAforever’s Bridge Builder Award, other environmental organizations have celebrated Delegate Bulova’s commitment to natural resources protection. For example, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation crowned him “Legislator of the Year” and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters named him a “Legislative Hero.”

2018

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The Honorable W. Tayloe Murphy, Jr.

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1982 to 2000, Tayloe Murphy served as chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and was chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission during its two-year review of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  He was the patron of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which for the first time imposed state authority over land use decisions in areas close to the Bay. He also sponsored Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act, which established a funding mechanism to pay for Bay-related nutrient reduction efforts.  As Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources from 2002 to 2006, Secretary Murphy placed a strong emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay, the crown jewel of all of the bays and estuaries in the United States.  A longtime Bay advocate, he worked under Governor Mark Warner to ensure that Virginia emerged as a leader and active participant in the Bay’s restoration. During his tenure as Secretary of Natural Resources, he convened a landmark summit that brought together business representatives, non-profit organizations, government officials and others to discuss the importance of natural resources protection.  The energy of this summit led to many things, including uniting many of the key players involved VIRGINIAforever’s inception. Throughout his career, Secretary Murphy has been hailed for his commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship.  Even in his semi-retirement, he has worked to preserve the historic home of Francis Lightfoot Lee and the surrounding wildlife habitat on the Northern Neck. Secretary Murphy is regarded as one of Virginia’s foremost authorities on Virginia’s natural and historic resources.

2017

The Honorable Kirk Cox, Virginia House of Delegates

Delegate Kirk Cox was first elected from the 66th District to the House of Delegates in 1989. February 22, 2017, Kirk Cox was unanimously elected Speaker-Designee by the 66-member House Republican Caucus. In addition to his role in House leadership, Kirk serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee, where he serves as Vice Chair, and the Joint Legislative, Audit, and Review Commission (JLARC). Delegate Cox has a keen interest in protecting natural resources. As a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Technology, he plays a critical role in understanding needs and appropriating state funds to programs that will conserve land and enhance water quality – both which are vitally important for the Virginia economy and for everyone who calls Virginia home.

2016

The Honorable Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., Senate of Virginia

Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., has served in the Senate of Virginia for 20 years during which he has taken on important leadership roles as co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee and chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources. In these positions, Senator Hanger and his committee control the fate of a number of bills and budget amendments that impact land conservation and water quality improvement projects across the state. Notably, Senator Hanger championed setting the second week of June as Bay Awareness to bring attention to the importance of the Chesapeake Bay to Virginia’s economy and quality of life and to tell the stories of the many private and public organizations and individuals taking steps to reduce pollution.

2015

The Honorable Tim Kaine, United States Senate

In his roles as Mayor of the City of Richmond, as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Virginia and now in his role as a Senator, Tim Kaine has supported the protection of our natural resources. He has introduced federal legislation ranging from marsh and oyster reef restoration to protection of Civil War battlegrounds. As the 70th Governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine worked across party lines with House Speaker Bill Howell, environmental organizations and government agencies to preserve more than 400,000 acres of open space in the Commonwealth.

2014

Dr. Charles W. Steger, president emeritus, Virginia Tech

Dr. Steger served as president of Virginia Tech for 15 years. Under his leadership, Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources was renamed the College of Natural Resources and Environment, with its mission to advance the science of sustainability. As part of this mission, Dr. Steger supported a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program – Water: Resources, Policy, and Management – that has recently been approved. Today, the College of Natural Resources and Environment is renowned as one of the best programs available, due in part to the Dr. Steger’s vision for the school.

2013

Gerald P. McCarthy, retired (former executive director of Virginia Environmental Endowment)

Mr. McCarthy’s legacy includes a long list of outstanding accomplishments in protecting our lands and waterways. Under his enduring leadership of 35 years, the Virginia Environmental Endowment awarded an impressive 1,250 grants totaling nearly $27 million. Investment of these funds enabled improvements in environmental education and awareness, funding of scientific research and pollution monitoring, conservation of natural areas, issuance of grants for farmers to reuse wastewater, and improvements of Virginia’s water quality and the Chesapeake Bay fisheries.

2012

Honorable A. Donald McEachin, Senate of Virginia

Senator McEachin has long made natural resources policy a priority in his legislative career. Placing a high importance on Virginia’s lands and waters, he sits on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. Senator McEachin’s legislative achievements include several bills advancing renewable energy in the Commonwealth.

The Honorable John C. Watkins, Senate of Virginia

With a deep commitment to the environment, Senator Watkins is member of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation & Natural Resources Committee and has spent most of his life in agriculture. Over the years, Senator Watkins has made nutrient trading and funding for upgrades to wastewater treatment plants a top priority.

2011

The Honorable William J. Howell
Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates

As Speaker, Del. Howell presides over the Virginia House of Delegates. A leading advocate for land preservation, he sponsored the landmark law that made Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit transferable from one taxpayer to another.

2008

The Honorable John Warner, retired, United States Senate

Senator Warner served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, he supported many legislative initiatives to enhance and preserve the outdoors for future generations, channeling a passion for the outdoors into a public career spent steering the earth toward a cleaner, more stable future.

2007

Eva Teig Hardy, Dominion

Eva Teig Hardy, a retired executive at Dominion Resources who held key posts in the administrations of Govs. Gerald L. Baliles and Charles S. Robb, is a mainstay at the Virginia General Assembly. Hardy spent 17 years in local and state government, including serving as Secretary of Health and Human Resources from 1986 to 1990 in the administration of Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles.