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Darby Bradley, Montpelier, VT 

Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) is delighted to present the 2023 Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership to Darby Bradley, in recognition of his over three decades long career dedicated to Vermont’s land and people. Darby was formerly VNRC’s Assistant Director and Staff Attorney, President of the Vermont Land Trust and Chair of the Vermont Environmental Board under Governor Kunin. VNRC will present the award to Darby at VNRC’s Annual Meeting at Lareau Farm Inn in Waitsfield on September 21st. 

Before his long tenure as President of the Vermont Land Trust, Darby served as VNRC’s Assistant Director and Staff Attorney from 1974 to 1982. During his time at VNRC, he helped create the Environmental Law Manual, which VNRC published from 1975 to 1981. When VNRC received a grant in 1975 to preserve open space in Hartland, Darby helped design four different open space protection programs involving various combinations of tax incentives and conservation easements. Darby termed the Hartland project a “major defeat” when voters rejected the proposals, but credited it with laying the foundation for two alternative methods of open space conservation–land trusts and the current use property tax program. 

Every year, in honor of Arthur Gibb’s legacy of commitment to safeguarding Vermont’s environment and communities, VNRC recognizes an individual whose leadership has similarly brought about positive and lasting change in integrating growth and conservation. Gibb played a major role in passing key environmental and land use legislation that includes banning billboards, enacting Vermont’s bottle deposit law, regulating junkyards, and modernizing statutes governing local and regional planning. Gibb headed the commission that laid the groundwork for Act 250 and served twelve years on the Vermont Environmental Board. 

As the Vermont Land Trust’s nomination of Darby for the Arthur Gibb award stated, “He worked tirelessly connecting with landowners, legislators, conservation partners and his staff. His aim was to assist communities and individuals in preserving their treasured places and ensuring a rural landscape for future generations. He worked steadfastly to preserve these rural landscapes, fortify land-based livelihoods, and strengthen communities.”

Darby’s vision, integrity, humility, and courage helped position Vermont as a national role model in progressive, innovative approaches to integrating conservation and growth. His decades of work helped to create a legacy of natural resource protection that will serve as a foundational value in Vermont for generations to come. VNRC is honored to present him with our 2023 Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership. To learn more about the Arthur Gibb Award, visit vnrc.org/awards.