University of Tennessee Extension Forester Named 2020 Forester of the Year

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David Mercker Recognized by the Forest Landowners Association

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — David Mercker, an Extension forestry specialist with the University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, has been named 2020 Extension Forester of the Year by the Forest Landowners Association (FLA). FLA is a national organization that promotes and protects the interests of private forest landowners and bestows this award annually as determined by its board of directors.

Wayne Clatterbuck, UT professor of silviculture and forest management, nominated Mercker for the award, writing, “David is a consummate, respected forestry professional and is looked upon as a colleague and friend by landowners and professionals alike.”

Clatterbuck noted Mercker’s many achievements, including his service on the Tennessee Tree Farm Committee; the creation of the Welcome to Your Woods Initiative, which introduces new landowners to forest ownership; and the numerous Extension articles and presentations developed for the benefit of Tennessee’s landowners.

Mercker’s 34-year career in forestry has seen many milestones and highlights, but most notably Mercker was named a Fellow by the Society of American Foresters and received the National Family Forest Education Award for his Tennessee Healthy Hardwoods Program, now in its 14th year. He coordinated the establishment of Tennessee’s County Forestry Associations (CFA), which act as local branches of the Tennessee Forestry Association. These CFAs work directly with landowners and local county Extension agents to provide best management practices and educational resources.

On receiving the award, Mercker noted, “It’s an honor to be recognized for contributing to forest landowner education. Only through decades, with the caring counsel of mentors, was this award possible. I’d like to thank everyone involved in the award process!”

In his decades-long career, Mercker was a consulting forester for 13 years and has served with the University of Tennessee for 21 years. Mercker is working on a new educational project that resourcefully complies with current social distancing policies: Back Porch Forestry. The videos for this Extension project are being recorded from Mercker’s own back porch and will be distributed to private forest landowners.

Of Mercker, department head Don Hodges remarked, “David is truly deserving of this recognition. He has developed a reputation not only for the quality of his Extension efforts, but also for the contributions he has made to the forests of Tennessee and to the forestry profession.”

The UT Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries is part of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT AgResearch and UT Extension at the UT Institute of Agriculture. The curricula focus on a mastery learning approach, emphasizing practical, hands-on experiences. FWF’s faculty, staff and students conduct research and extension that advances the science and sustainable management of our natural resources. For more information, visit

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.

Media Contact

Kristy Keel-Blackmon

Department of Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries



David Mercker