Patterson named 2017 Conservation Leader

Legislator’s work on water quality and preservation recognized


State Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) has earned The Nature Conservancy’s 2017 Conservation Leader Award for his efforts protecting Lake Erie and spearheading other statewide conservation initiatives. 

“I am humbled by this important recognition, and would like to offer my sincere appreciation to The Nature Conservancy for their work,” said Rep. Patterson. “I am proud of our accomplishments during my time in office, and I will continue to work to secure a future of safe and healthy farmland, forests, and waters for our children and grandchildren.” 

Rep. Patterson has pushed multiple bills at the Statehouse to enhance water quality throughout the state and in Lake Erie, including the creation of the Ohio Water Quality Improvement Program to help farmers filter nutrients along waterways to prevent harmful algal blooms. 

As the minority leader on the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Rep. Patterson was instrumental in the efforts that lead to SB 1, legislation passed in 2015 that also sought to curtail farm runoff. The Jefferson lawmaker also serves as a member of the international Great Lakes Caucus. 

“John Patterson is a lawmaker willing to roll up his sleeves and work with all sides to find common sense solutions to Lake Erie’s ongoing problem with harmful algal blooms,” said Josh Knights, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. “He typifies the kind of leader this award is intended to recognize.” 

The award was announced Oct. 20 at the Conservancy’s Grand River Conservation Campus in Rock Creek, Ohio. The Conservation Leader Award is presented in recognition of exceptional leadership in advancing state conservation and environmental policy issues that improve the quality of life for all Ohioans. 

Past recipients include State Sens. Randy Gardner, Bob Peterson, Mike Skindell and State Rep. Tim Derickson.


Photo ID, left to right: Marianne Gabel, chair, The Nature Conservancy’s Ohio Board of Trustees; Tracy Freeman, director of government relations, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio; Representative John Patterson, House District 99; Marta Stone, member, The Nature Conservancy’s Ohio Board of Trustees; Josh Knights, executive director, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.