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Chicago Resident Receives National Sierra Club Award

SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 23, 2000 – A 25-year-old Chicago resident who has been involved with conservation campaigns across the country was among those receiving awards from the national Sierra Club this year.

Patrick Murphy received the Club’s Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award, which recognizes people under the age of 30 who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment. The award includes a $2,000 cash prize funded by Dr. Joseph Barbosa of Minnesota. Murphy received the award at the Sierra Club’s annual awards banquet in San Francisco Sept. 23.

Murphy’s involvement in conservation activities began in 1995, when he participated in a Sierra Club activist outing to Utah. Upon returning to Chicago, he become a founder and co-chair of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter’s Utah Wilderness Task Force, a group that has since grown to include 265 members. Murphy was instrumental in getting Illinois’s Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators, as well as several congressmen, to cosponsor "America’s Redrock Wilderness Act," which would secure protection for more than 9 million acres of Utah wilderness.

"Patrick is a great motivator of other volunteers, and has an innate sense of strategy and tactics for issue campaigns," said Clayton Daughenbaugh, Murphy’s co-chair on the Utah Wilderness Task Force. "And no one works harder."

Murphy’s work on the Utah Task Force led to his becoming national Conservation Director for the Sierra Student Coalition, the student arm of the Sierra Club, in 1999. In this position, he played a leading role in preparing the coalition’s Public Lands Action Summit in February. The event brought 100 students to Washington, D.C for a weekend of training on public lands issues, organizing skills and lobbying.

Murphy also planned the Sierra Student Coalition’s first "activist outing" to Utah and has been a coordinator of the coalition’s work on Utah, Alaska, the National Forest roadless initiative, and world trade. In addition, he has helped train numerous Sierra Student Coalition members.

"Patrick’s enthusiastic activism inspires people of all ages, not only the young," said Vicky Hoover, chair of the Sierra Club’s Activist Outing Subcommittee.

"Over the past year, Patrick has proven himself to be one of the finest leaders in the history of the Sierra Student Coalition," added the Coalition’s national director, David Karpf.

Murphy also is a member of the Sierra Club’s National Conservation Governance Committee, a position in which he helps craft the Club’s national conservation policies and procedures. In 1999, Murphy also was elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Group of the Sierra Club’s Illinois Chapter.

The money Murphy receives for the Barbosa Award will be divided between the Sierra Student Coalition, which will use it to support next year’s Public Lands Action Summit, and the National Utah Wilderness Task Force, will use it to support its state-based campaign activities.

The Sierra Club, which was founded in 1892 by John Muir, is the country’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. It currently has more than 600,000 members. For more information on the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, visit their website at

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