Conservation Award

The Delaware Audubon Conservation Award
1989 - Til Purnell

NOTE: This is an archive article from 1989. It may contain out-of-date information.

PHOTO: Til Purnell

2005 Photo of Til Purnell
by S. Wayne Carter Jr.
Courtesy of Delaware Wave

On May 25th the Delaware Audubon Society honored Matilda "Til" Purnell, of Millsboro, for her continuing vigilance and significant action in protecting Delaware’s environment.

When Mrs. Purnell first became active in environmental affairs, some 18 years ago, she was a lone voice in Sussex County. Her candid, straightforward advocacy for the environment has served as an outstanding model for others. Now, others are attending hearings, speaking out, and she is beginning to see an environmental ethic developing in Sussex County. This achievement, she says, has brought her the most satisfaction.

Til lives on 20 acres on Herring Creek with her husband, Lewis M. "Skip" Purnell, a retired foreign service diplomat.

In addition to founding the Friends of Herring Creek, Mrs. Purnell has worked to achieve a moratorium of marina development on Herring Creek, to develop a land use plan for Sussex County, and, most recently, participated in successfully lowering the sulfur content of coal that Delmarva Power is allowed to burn at Indian River.

She is a member of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Delaware Wild Lands, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, and National Audubon Society.

Til Purnell is one of Delaware’s most valued environmentalists and is to be commended for her many years of work protecting the wetlands, inland bays, and beaches of Delaware.