Daniel Palm, PhD

The Karl Connell Award Recipient, 2013

Award Purpose: This award honors a regional forest landowner who embodies the spirit of Karl Connell, a Catskill Mountain leader in conservation who helped mediate the citizen interests upstream with the New York City interest to protect its water supply. This award recognizes individuals for their wisdom, guidance, and leadership in promoting forest stewardship and protecting water quality.

Forest land conservation is a family affair for the Palm family. Dan and his wife Linda co-own 485 acres of northern hardwood forest land with his brother Charles and his wife Cora. Together, they manage roughly 300 acres for timber production, 250 acres for a combination of wildlife habitat and timber production, with the remaining acreage managed for wildlife habitat. The family woodlands participate in the Council’s Forestry Program, the USDA Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP), the Crop Security Program (CSP) administered by USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the 480a program administered by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The property is designated a Tree Farm and was designated the Outstanding Tree Farm in New York State in 2005.

Dan spent his youth roaming the hills and valleys near South Kortright (Delaware County), as well as working on farms in the area. These experiences lead to an interest in natural resources and eventually a Ph.D. in natural resource economics from Pennsylvania State University. Dan’s involvement with the Council evolved from a passive observer of the negotiations preceding the agreement while he lived out of the area to more active involvement as the Council’s Interim Executive Director in 2004 and 2009. As a Board member for six years, Dan chaired the Governance and Forestry Committees and served on the Easement Committee.

“It is gratifying to have acknowledgement that my efforts working in partnership with other organizations and individuals and my effort to manage my own land in a sustainable manner are recognized for the positive impacts these efforts have had on sustainable forestry management in the New York City watershed,” says Dan. “Man has the greatest ability of any species to impact the ecosystem. With this ability comes responsibility. Thus, my philosophy is to think and plan for longterm sustainability while acting in the short term to carry out those plans. As a private forest landowner, I am the temporary steward of the resources on that land and am responsible for ensuring the ecological balance is sustained. While this is not a new philosophy, it is one I try to pursue.”

Dan married his high school sweetheart, Linda, 46 years ago. Their son Matthew lives in Orlando and is culture and arts critic for the Orlando Sentinel. Son Jacob lives in Las Angels and is a psychologist.