Nadkarni Named a 2004 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow

Published: March 16, 2004

Nadkarni Named a 2004 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow

Evergreen Scientist One of 20 in Country Designated

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, a faculty member at The Evergreen State College, was selected as an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow for 2004. She is among 20 outstanding academic environmental scientists from the United States and Guam who have been so honored.

"I'm very appreciative of this award," Nadkarni says. "To ecologists and environmental scientists, this program represents the best way to learn how to convey our research to people who make decisions that affect society in big ways- policymakers and politicians among them. The training I get with this program will make it easier for me to magnify the work I do in my specific area of research to reach new audiences."

Nadkarni teaches in Evergreen's popular environmental studies program. Her research is focused on the ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopies, particularly the role that canopy-dwelling plants play in forests at the ecosystem level. She carries out field research in Washington state and in Monteverde, Costa Rica, with the support of the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. She has published two books and more than 70 articles in scientific journals on forest canopy ecology and forest ecosystem ecology. Nadkarni has presented a number of endowed lectures at academic institutions around the country.

In 1994, she co-founded and is president of the International Canopy Network, a not-for-profit organization that fosters communication among researchers, educators and conservationists concerned with forest canopies. Nadkarni conducts public outreach to the public, children and policymakers on forest canopies and forest conservation. She has appeared in a number of television documentaries, and was most recently featured as a canopy scientist in the National Geographic television special "Heroes of the High Frontier" on tropical forest canopies, which won the Emmy Award for Best Documentary Film of 2001. Also in 2001, Nadkarni received a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue her interests in communication of forest canopy research results to non-scientists with collaborations of artists, musicians, physicians, sports figures and religious leaders. She was a primary organizer of last year's highly acclaimed Art and Science Chautauqua on Evergreen's Olympia campus, a week-long event that brought together scientists, artists, musicians and others to explore and celebrate the role of trees in modern society.

Nadkarni received her undergraduate degree in biology from Brown University and doctorate in forest ecology from the University of Washington.

Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowships provide scientists with intensive communications and leadership training to enhance their ability to communicate effectively with non-scientific audiences. The fellows are selected annually through a competitive application process and have outstanding scientific qualifications, demonstrated leadership ability and a strong interest in communicating science beyond traditional academic audiences.

The 2004 fellows represent a broad range of environmental science disciplines, including environmental engineering, wildlife veterinary medicine, tropical forestry, marine ecology and environmental economics.

The Aldo Leopold Leadership Program was launched in 1998 with the goal of improving the flow of accurate, credible scientific information to policymakers, the media and the public by training outstanding academic environmental scientists to be better communicators of complex scientific information. The program is named for Aldo Leopold, a renowned environmental scientist who communicated his scientific knowledge simply and eloquently. His writings, including his 1949 book, "A Sand County Almanac," are credited with infusing the emerging conservation movement with good science and a stewardship ethic.

For more information about the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and the new fellows, visit www.leopoldleadership.org .

For more information about Nadkarni's work, visit www.evergreen.edu/ican and www.nalininadkarni.com .

Contact: Kate Lykins Brown, (360) 867-5213
Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, (360) 867-6621