Yale F&ES Doctoral Conference

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Keynote speaker

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is known as “The Queen of the Forest Canopy.” She has been both a pioneer in forest canopy studies and in fostering the communication of canopy research among scientists and to the general public around the world. She is on the faculty at The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington and the adjunct faculty at the University of Washington. Her research concerns the ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopies, particularly the roles that canopy-dwelling plants play in forests. She carries out field research in Monteverde, Costa Rica and in Washington State, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. In collaboration with computer scientists and informatics experts, she is creating software and data management tools for canopy researchers.

Dr. Nadkarni has published over 85 scientific articles and three scholarly books. Her recent awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship for excellence in scholarship and creativity, the J. Stirling Morton Award of The National Arbor Day Foundation, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship, Presidency of the Association for Tropical Biology, and the 2010 National Science Foundation Public Service Award.

In 1994, she co-founded the International Canopy Network, a non-profit organization to foster communication among researchers, educators, and conservationists concerned with forest canopies. Her work has been featured in popular magazines such as Natural History, Glamour, Discover, and Ranger Rick. She has also appeared in numerous television documentaries, including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Good Morning, America, and the Emmy-Award winning National Geographic Heroes of the High Frontier. Dr. Nadkarni’s recent efforts are to integrate aspects of artistic expression with scientific documentation of the natural world, and she has brought artists, musicians, and Inuits to the canopy.

Her most recent project, the Sustainable Prisons Project, funded by the Washington State Department of Corrections, is to bring scientists to prisons to collaborate with prisoners to carry out projects in environmental science and sustainability. She has expanded her outreach work by establishing the NSF-funded “Research Ambassador Program,” in which she trains other scientists to do outreach to non-traditional public audiences in non-traditional venues, such as prisons, churches, and rap music clubs.

Nalini lives in Olympia with her husband, an entomologist, and two teenage children.


Nalini M. Nadkarni, Member of the Faculty, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington 98505 and President, The International Canopy Network; (360) 867-6621; .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); http://www.evergreen.edu/ican; http://www.researchambassador.com; http://www.nalininadkarni.com