KATE PALMER, from Dundee, Scotland and based at the School of Natural Sciences (SNS), Bangor University, was presented with the Tilhill Phil Johnson Memorial Award for the Top Student 2021-22 on the MSc Silviculture module. 

Kate was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy together with £250 prize money. The presentation took place at a Tilhill managed woodland in Dundee and was awarded by Tilhill’s North Scotland Area Manager David Bruce.

Kate studied a MSc Environmental Forestry degree course and has now been successful in gaining a forestry industry role.

Upon receiving the Award, Kate said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award, especially considering how knowledgeable, experienced, and engaged my course mates have been throughout the silviculture module. It came as a huge surprise to hear I had won, and I am really grateful to Tilhill for supporting the award.

“The silviculture module cumulated in an extended essay of my own choice considering a case study within the context of ‘silviculture within a changing world’. I focused on the effect of climate change on pine forests in East Scotland and the silvicultural systems and potential mechanisms to mitigate it. This opportunity to deep dive into a topic was pivotal for developing essential forestry knowledge which will underpin my future forestry career.

“The Bangor University has been very supportive in accommodating distance learners like me. The lecturers have been approachable and have gone above and beyond to ensure distance learners engage in the modules and feel that they belong to the Bangor forestry community.

“As for my future, I’m looking to apply my consultancy skills in the forest management sector. I’m excited to join the industry at this interesting time.”

David added: “I am delighted to have had the honour of presenting Kate with this very special award. Tilhill is proud to be supporting this award at a university where we often receive outstanding graduates. Kate is clearly a top performing student and we wish her the absolute best for her future in the forest industry.”

James Walmsley and Mark Rayment, Senior Lecturers in Forestry at Bangor University, said of Kate and the Award: “We would like to thank Tilhill for once again supporting this prize.  It is awarded to the top-performing student in the Silviculture module of Bangor’s Forestry and forestry-related MSc programmes. This year, the competition for the prize was fierce: the module was completed by nearly 100 students from across the globe. 

Kate was an outstanding student with an astonishing average mark for this module of 91%!  Kate has since proved this score was not a one-off, achieving similar marks on other modules.  Kate will shortly commence a new role in the private forest management sector, bringing valuable enthusiasm, expertise and academic excellence into the profession. She is totally deserving of the Tilhill Phil Johnson Memorial Award for best Silviculture student.”

Forestry has been taught at Bangor University for nearly 120 years and its forestry degrees are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters. Tilhill has a long association with Bangor University as it is where many of its past and present employees studied, including graduates from the various BSc and MSc Forestry and forestry-related programmes.

Phil Johnson worked for Tilhill for many years and was Regional Manager for England and Wales when he passed away following a short but valiant battle against cancer. During his career he made a huge contribution to the company and forestry alike, including setting up the UK’s largest privately owned mountain bike centre at Coed Llandegla, Wales.

As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill offers awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities which offer degrees in Forestry. The company also runs a competitive graduate placement scheme to which several Bangor University graduates have recently been recruited.