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Dave Saville honored with Mother Jones Award
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Long-time Morgantown resident and environmental activist is rewarded with annual award from the WV Environmental Award

Longtime Morgantown resident and life-long environmental activist, Dave Saville was honored with the Mother Jones Award, the highest award from the West Virginia Environmental Council (WVEC), during its annual EDay! at the Capitol on March 30th. Since 1990, the WVEC has sponsored E-Day! at the Capitol to focus attention on the state’s environmental groups and issues.

After growing up on a farm in Orchard Park, New York, Saville moved to Morgantown to attend West Virginia University where he received his B.S. in Resource Economics in 1981, and M.S. in Forestry in 1994 and he has lived there ever since.

“As an avid mountain biker, whitewater paddler, backpacker, and skier, I consider West Virginia the finest place on the planet, and I want to keep it that way,” says Saville.

Saville has been very active with the West Virginia Sierra Club, Mon River Trails Conservancy, Friends of Cheat Lake Trail, Mon Valley Greenspace Coalition, West Virginia Land Trust, and the West Virginia Botanic Garden. In addition, Saville owns the historic Walnut Farm in Mon County and is the founder and president of the Morgantown Farmers Market. Saville is also the administrator of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and an active member of the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition.

Dave Saville (far right) with Senator Byrd at the 40th Wilderness Act anniversary dinner
Dave Saville (far right) with Senator Byrd and Brian O'Donnell at the 40th Anniversary Wilderness Act Dinner

The West Virginia Wilderness Coalition is made up of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society. The goal of the Coalition is to secure permanent protection for West Virginia’s wildest places on federal, public lands through wilderness designation.

“Our state is facing immediate threats on many fronts. Mountain top removal of coal has leveled a half million acres of West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. The diverse forests they were once covered with are gone forever. We are now losing farm and forest land from urban sprawl at a faster rate than any other state. The areas our coalition is fighting to protect not only provide unparalleled recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing, canoeing and skiing, but they will also provide future generations a glimpse of a wild West Virginia where the forces of nature rule,” says Saville.

More than twenty years have passed since any West Virginia lands were added to the National Wilderness Preservation System, but the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition is working diligently to see that additional special areas, within the Monongahela National Forest, receive the protection they deserve.

“I can not think of a person more deserving, hardworking and dedicated than Dave Saville,” says Matt Keller, West Virginia Wilderness Coordinator.  “Dave’s dedication and passion for preserving West Virginia’s  special wild places is an inspiration to us all. His enthusiasm motivates everyone he comes in contact with.”

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