(NORFOLK, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has presented its 2013 Virginia Conservationist of the Year Award to Scott Harper, longtime environmental reporter for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper.
Harper has covered environmental issues since joining the Norfolk newspaper in 1994 and has written extensively about the Chesapeake Bay and Bay issues during his career. He has interviewed countless local, state, and federal regulatory officials, attended scores of hearings and court cases, and written hundreds of articles detailing the work of conservation agencies, nonprofits, and citizen groups. His stories often have focused on Bay policies, fisheries, people, wildlife, restoration progress, or the lack of progress.
"For nearly two decades, Scott has been a timely, consistent, and clear voice for Chesapeake Bay and other conservation issues," said Ann Jennings, CBF Virginia Executive Director. "His extensive coverage has helped inform, educate, and engage the more than 1.6 million residents of Hampton Roads and the elected officials making Bay restoration policy. CBF is very pleased to name him our 2013 Virginia Conservationist of the Year."
The Conservationist of the Year Award, CBF's most prestigious honor, is given to an individual or organization in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania for extraordinary contributions to efforts to save the Bay. CBF presented the award, a bronze bust of an osprey sculpted by noted Eastern Shore wildlife artist David Turner, at a Lynnhaven River-front reception in Harper's honor today.
Before he joined The Virginian-Pilot, Harper covered the environment and city government at the Houston Post, and, earlier, the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Naval Academy at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1991. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, attended graduate school at the London School of Economics, and has studied environmental architecture at the University of Virginia.
"Scott does it all, from breaking news stories to coverage of regulatory and legislative matters to light features to in-depth, multi-part series on difficult, complex issues," Jennings said. "His willingness to tackle sometimes complicated but consequential issues that otherwise may get lost in today's 24-7 news cycles makes Scott an increasingly rare and valuable resource for Hampton Roads citizens and public policymakers. His outstanding journalism has made a difference for the Bay and for Virginia's natural resources."