Tom Patrick, DNR’s First Botanist, Passes

DNR Press Release | August 29, 2019

The conservation community is mourning the loss of DNR botanist Tom Patrick, of Monticello.

Patrick, of Monticello, died Aug. 22. He was the agency’s first botanist, joining in 1986 what was then the Georgia Natural Heritage Inventory Program, an initiative of DNR and The Nature Conservancy (Heritage turns 25,” November 2011).

Patrick was noted for his knowledge of native flora. He authored “Protected Plants of Georgia,” a botanical standard. He was also known for his ready but respectful willingness to share that knowledge with others.

In this 2011 video, he explained the importance of blackland prairies at Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area near Perry.

This spring, before the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance presented its first lifetime achievement award to Patrick—an award named after him—the medal was passed around the room in a “warming ceremony” that allowed each member to hold and honor the award Patrick would soon receive (GPCA honors plant champ,” June 20). The medal was engraved with a persistent trillium, a species endemic to Georgia and befitting Patrick’s expertise in and fondness for the genus trillium.

It’s also fitting that “persistent” epitomized his approach and commitment to conserving native plants.

Patrick is survived by his wife Bretta, two sons and other family.

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