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A Tribute to Pat Deering

We lost a friend on May 13, 2019.  We lost a nature lover. We lost a land preservation advocate.  We lost a conservationist. We lost a local food supporter. We lost Pat Deering, far too soon.

Pat joined the Licking Soil & Water team in 2008 as the Information Assistant.  She was immediately handed a huge assignment. Create a book celebrating Licking County’s century farms.  Pat’s Licking County Century Farms: A Celebration of the Licking County, Ohio, 2008 Bicentennial book beautifully captured the families and the land that are the foundation of our agriculture community.  Pat’s roots are in Licking County and in agriculture. She grew up spending time on her family’s farm, land that is still farmed and in her family.  

Her love of nature and her Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN) credential allowed her to lead design and plant selection of the rain gardens and native plantings around the Ag Service Center in Newark and at the Hartford Fair Natural Resources Area.  She was active in native tree selection for the annual tree sale and provided extensive education about native plants. At home she cultivated a backyard wildlife habitat and food garden. Her interest in local food and the people that produce it led her to become a founding member of the Licking County Local Food Council and supporter of the 30 Mile Meal.  She was always sharing her garden’s bounty with the Licking Soil & Water team and loved talking about what was growing or blooming.

With Licking Soil & Water Board approval and encouragement in 2008, Pat began developing and expanding the fledgling farmland preservation program.  Self-trained and hungry for knowledge, Pat became a farmland preservation expert and was recognized statewide for her expertise. Pat served on the Licking Land Trust (LLT) Board and collaborated with LLT on education and outreach efforts.  In 2016, the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts (COLT) recruited Pat to serve on their Steering Committee and educational efforts. From 2009 to present, Pat brought nearly 4.8 million dollars to Licking County in state and federal funds for farmland preservation.  

When asked to reflect on her service to Licking Soil & Water in 2018, Pat wrote, “I continue to enjoy working for a conservation-based organization and I am passionate about land preservation!”  She appreciated that Licking Soil & Water is a mission-based organization and encourages ethics and integrity. She was a natural servant leader and always had the philosophy of treating people the way she would want to be treated.