Fourteen Teams Vied for First Place

Tennessee Award Winning 4-H Forestry Team

​The 2015 Tennessee 4-H Forestry Team won top honors at the National 4-H Forestry Invitational Competition in West Virginia. Shown left to right: Emily Palacios, Julia Palacios, Rebekah Meese, and Laura Palacios (Coach). Download image.

Tennessee placed first among 14 state teams that competed in the 36th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational from Sunday, July 26, through Thursday, July 30. Teams from New York and Alabama placed second and third, respectively. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia were also represented at this year’s Invitational.

Tennessee was represented by Williamson County 4-Her’s Emily Palacios and Julia Palacios, both from Thompson’s Station, and Rebekah Meese from Columbia, who participates with the Williamson County 4-H Club. The team was coached by Emily and Julia’s mom, Laura Palacios, also from Thompson’s Station.

Julia Palacios also received the high point individual award.

The invitational was held at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, West Virginia. The event is sponsored by Farm Credit System, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., Society of American Foresters, West Virginia University Extension Service, USDA Forest Service State and Private Southern Region, Southern Region Extension Forestry, American Forest Foundation, and Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

While at the Invitational 4-H members competed for overall team and individual awards in several categories. Events included tree identification, tree measurement, compass and pacing, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, forest evaluation, the forestry bowl and a written forestry exam.

Following Julia in the individual award competition was second place high individual award winner Rosanne Mow from New York. The third place high individual award was given to Tim Caswell from Florida.

The Joe Yeager “Spirit of the Invitational” award was given to Devin Hipp from South Carolina.  This award recognizes an outstanding 4-H contestant at the Invitational. It is presented to the individual who takes initiative, is enthusiastic, and is eager to lead academic and social situations.

4-H is a youth education program operated by the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the state land grant universities. More than six million youth, 540,000 volunteers, and 3,500 professionals participate in 4-H nationwide, and nearly 100,000 are part of the 4-H Forestry Program.
In Tennessee, more than 184,000 youth and 7,400 volunteers participate in 4-H activities.

The Forestry Invitational would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors:

*Farm Credit System (FCS) supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. FCS has been helping areas grow and thrive for a century by providing farmers with capital and by financing infrastructure and communication services.

*The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®), Inc. is a fully independent, charitable organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. The SFI® label is a sign you are buying wood and paper products from a certified source, backed by a rigorous, third-party certification audit.

*The Society of American Foresters (SAF) is the national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. SAF is the largest professional society for foresters in the world.

*West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Service educators and volunteers build and sustain partnerships with people and organizations in West Virginia, to improve their lives and communities. WVU's programs and services strengthen individuals of all ages.

*USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry, Southern Region programs bring forest management assistance and expertise to a diversity of landowners through cost-effective, non-regulatory partnerships. The staffs also play a key role in implementing the National Fire Plan.

*Southern Region Extension Forestry serves as a liaison between the USDA Forest Service and the thirteen Extension Forest Resources units in the South. The position has evolved into a regional programming, representation, promotion, and communication role within the forestry and natural resource communities.

*The American Forest Foundation® (AFF) works with families, educators, and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect our nation’s forest heritage. AFF works with its partners to provide hands-on support for America’s 10 million family forest owners.

*The Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP) is a professional society for natural resource Extension professionals. The mission of ANREP is to bring Extension professionals together to discuss mutual natural resource issues, needs, and opportunities and to advance natural resource Extension through continuing education.

For more information on the National 4-H Forestry Invitational, go to online to

At the beginning of the school year is the perfect time for youth to become involved in 4-H. For more information about Tennessee 4-H, visit or contact your local county University of Tennessee Extension Office.

The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.


Amy Dismukes, UT/TSU 4-H Extension Agent, Williamson County, 615-790-5721