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News Release

Cape May Plant Materials Manager receives Meritorious Service Award

Lauren Finnegan, Public Affairs Specialist

Cape May Plant Materials Center Manager Chris Miller was honored with the Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the field.SOMERSET, New Jersey - In recognition of over 30 years of dedication to education, research, and the promotion of plant materials for conservation purposes, Cape May, Plant Materials Center (PMC) Manager Chris Miller was honored with the Plant Materials (PM) Meritorious Service Award on Thursday, January 28 at a virtual event hosted by National PM Program Leader, John Englert.

The award is presented each year to an employee who has shown significant involvement with the PM program and made a significant and tangible contribution to the discipline over time.

Under Miller’s leadership, the Cape May PMC was honored with the Coastal American Spirit award in 2011, for their assistance with the propagation of native plant species for the Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Project, and played an integral role to establish a partnership between the PMC and the Maspee Wampanoag Tribe.

In 2017, Miller received the “Outstanding Professional Conservationist” award by the Association of Conservation Districts for his support in the development of innovative plant technology to address changing conditions due to sea-level rise, coastal erosion, stormwater intrusion, and the improvement of water quality and soil health.

More recently, Miller’s work during a 12-month detail as NRCS Climate Hub Liaison, exploring how NRCS could assist farmers in combating saltwater intrusion and water quality impacts, was presented to the House Committee on Appropriations, Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee during a hearing on the “Economic Opportunities for Farmers through Sustainable Agricultural Practices.”

His continued research on this issue has led to the identification of multiple plants that can be used in conservation practices to help alleviate these issues for farmers along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

“Chris is so very deserving of this incredible honor recognizing his decades-long contributions to the plant materials program,” said New Jersey State Conservationist Julie Hawkins. “Chris is very well-known up and down the eastern seaboard for his expertise and leadership in developing plant solutions to address natural resources concerns related to sea-level rise, coastal erosion, stormwater intrusion, the improvement of water quality, soil health, and carbon sequestration. He is an invaluable asset to NRCS’ work in support of agricultural producers and our dedication to protecting natural resources.”

Nominated by Christine Hall, national innovation leader and former New Jersey state resource conservationist, for the award, Miller joins six other recipients this year.