John Hickey of Prior Lake was one of eight finalists for the State Conservationist of the Year award given by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD). John’s 150 acre rolling farm has a combination of tillable land, native prairie, wetland, and woodland areas. Since 2007, he has completed numerous conservation projects including native grass buffers, critical area plantings, prairie restoration, and wetland restoration. In 2016 John worked with Alyssa Alness, Scott SWCD Resource Conservation Technician, to complete a 24 acre prairie restoration on land that was previously being cropped. The combination of all of John’s conservation efforts has had a positive impact on soil health and has kept the soil from eroding into local waterbodies. He was chosen as a finalist from 65 Outstanding Conservationists from throughout the state. He and the other area finalists were honored at the MASWCD’s Annual Convention held on December 6th in Bloomington.