Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, also known as “the Queen of the Forest Canopy,” is a Professor of Biology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she directs the Center for Science and Mathematics Education. Her forest ecology research focuses on how biodiversity, forests, and the stability of world climate interact. With nearly 30 years of experience teaching public engagement with science for all parts of society, she also holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Science in Seattle. In 2001, Nadkarni received the Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in Plant Sciences.
In 2005, she co-founded the Sustainability in Prisons Program, bringing science lectures and hands-on conservation projects to incarcerated adults in Washington State, Utah, and around the country. In 2009, she created the Research Ambassador Program, which recruits and trains other scientists to carry out engagement with science and conservation to underserved public audiences around the country.
Her latest project, to bring nature imagery to inmates in solitary confinement to reduce stress and violence, was recognized by TIME Magazine as “one of the “Best Ideas in 2014”. Nadkarni has published over 100 scientific articles, three scholarly books, and three children’s books.
Dr. Nadkarni has been featured in television documentaries, including Bill Nye the Science Guy and National Geographic, and her work has appeared in publications such as Natural History and the New York Times.
Professor of Biology at the University of Utah
Areas of Expertise: Forest Ecology, Rainforest Conservation, Science Education, Inmate Education and Rehabilitation, Prison Reform
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Featured on American Public Media’s The Promised Land: “Meeting the Queen of the Canopy”
Added February 2015