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Introducing Our Heroes: Julian Martin
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by Regina Hendrix | 2008

Regina conceived of the idea of introducing some of the people that make our environmental movement in West Virginia so vibrant and close. Many individuals serve several organizations and many issues are the joint concerns of multiple organizations, so there is considerable overlap in personnel and expertise. Fortunately, we all welcome each others’ assistance! The countless hours of volunteering that each of these people devote to helping with the work of raising environmental awareness in WV is the best proof of their dedication. If others want to contribute stories about environmental heroes, they should send them to

Julian Martin is one of the first people I met after I returned to WV and became a Stop MTR activist in year 2000. When Mark Schmerling, another Sierra Club volunteer, caught this photo I knew I had to use it for our first member profile. Julian and his partner, Mae Ellen Wilson, live in Charleston and the Sierra Club is proud to claim them both as members.

He has a long history of service to his fellow man which is evidenced by the following information gleaned from a recent interview:

On a blustery December day – the day after Christmas in 1961 – Julian Martin boarded a plane at Charleston’s Kanawha Airport bound for Nigeria. He was West Virginia’s first Peace Corps volunteer. When he returned, his international experience led to a position as Foreign Student Advisor at West Virginia University where he was on campus during some of the turbulent student demonstrations of the mid-1960’s. Following his stint at WVU, Martin moved to San Francisco, where among other things he was active in the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy.

When he returned to West Virginia he moved to Lincoln County and taught physical science, physics and chemistry at Duval High School for twenty-two years until he retired in 1998. After his retirement, Martin became active in the Save the Blackwater Canyon campaign and a little later the antimountaintop removal mining efforts.

Among his many volunteer activities he serves as the VP for State Affairs with the WV Highlands Conservancy.

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