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Clemson University’s Patrick McMillan Wins 2018 S.C. Environmental Awareness Award

May 28, 2019 | News

Patrick McMillan was announced as winner of the 2018 S.C. Environmental Awareness Award at a ceremony at Harbison State Forest. The South Carolina General Assembly established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award during the 1992 legislative session to recognize outstanding contributions to the protection, conservation and improvement of the state’s natural resources.

Patrick McMillan accepts the award. Photo by Joey Holleman, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Each year the public is invited to submit nominations that are then reviewed by an awards committee, which includes representatives from the state’s natural resource agencies. In judging nominees, the committee considers excellence in innovation, leadership and accomplishments that influence positive changes affecting the natural environment. Members of the awards committee represent the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, S.C. Forestry Commission, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

McMillan, a professional naturalist, biologist and educator, is most widely known as the Emmy Award-winning host, co-creator and writer of the popular SCETV nature program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.” He is the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University. In addition, he serves as director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest.

Samuel Pratt, one of many who submitted letters supporting the nomination of McMillan for the award, wrote: “He is an outstanding naturalist and passionate advocate for the environment. Some people have been described as ‘a force of nature.’ I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to call Patrick ‘a natural resource’ of South Carolina.”

Rick Huffman, founder and president of the S.C. Native Plant Society and a former winner of the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award, wrote: “His legacy for South Carolina lies in the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians, at home in the South and across the United States, who have been turned on to the conservation, preservation and management of our natural resources.”

McMillan received his B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. He has been a student of natural history since childhood, when he began memorizing scientific names as his grandmother read him wildflower books. His interest grew when his family moved in 1976 to Alleghany County, N.C., just a few hundred feet off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

His career included stints as an environmental consultant and field ecologist as well as an eighth-grade math and science teacher. He joined the faculty at Clemson in 2000. “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan” debuted on SCETV in 2007 and now can be seen on PBS stations throughout the country or online at pbs.org .