Haywood Community College forest management instructor John Palmer was recognized in a special ceremony recently at the Annual Forest Festival Day Celebration held at the Cradle of Forestry in the Pisgah National Forest. Palmer was honored for his 12 years of work as organizer and founder of the Intercollegiate Woodmen’s Meet. Alex Comfort, Executive Director of the Cradle of Forestry Interpretive
Association, the non-profit agency that helps the US Forest Service operate the Cradle of Forestry Historic, site unveiled a banner officially naming the event the "John G. Palmer Intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Meet."
Palmer started the event as a way to involve college students in the Forest Festival Day. “I thought since the Cradle is the site of the first forestry school in America, it would be fitting to bring students to the event,” Palmer explains. He spent 10 years as coach of the HCC team.
Students first participated in 1990 as only a demonstration event. In 1996, HCC competed against the University of Tennessee in what became known as the Intercollegiate Woodsmen's Meet.
“I am thankful and appreciative of the faculty and staff of all of HCC who supported the Woodsmen’s Meet, especially Jenny Carver and David Burnette and his wife Diane, and all the forestry and fish and wildlife teachers, as well as Jimmy Lawrence, a former instructor who still volunteers to coach,” Palmer said.
Palmer has been at HCC for 30 years. While director of the campus arboretum for the past 29 years, he was instrumental in the beauty of the campus. Palmer led the college on many projects through the years such as erection of the millhouse and millwheel, and starting the rhododendron and dahlia gardens.
For over 20 years, Palmer has led students on a study tour of the Everglades. He is president of the Society of American Foresters in the state of North Carolina and is a United States representative on the International Dendrology Society board of directors. In 2005, Palmer was keynote speaker for Dendrology Day in the Netherlands at the University of Wageningen.