Fall 2021 Lecture

Nalini Nadkarni

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni delivered the Grace A. Tanner Lecture in Human Values on Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 11:30 am in the Gilbert Great Hall on the campus of Southern Utah University. Dr. Nadkarni’s lecture, titled “TapestryThinking: Weaving Diverse Communities Through Nature” will draw on her experience as a rainforest ecologist and science communicator.

Dr. Nadkarni has been called “the queen of canopy research” and is deeply interested in sharing her discoveries with non-scientists. She has given two TED talks and has been highlighted in magazines such as Natural History and has appeared in television documentaries such as Bill Nye the Science Guy and National Geographic. She created
the “Research Ambassador Program” to train scientists to engage the public in non-traditional venues, such as churches, pre-schools, tattoo parlors, and sports stadiums. In 2005, she co-founded the Sustainability in Prisons Project, which brings science, scientists, and nature to incarcerated men and women.

In 2011, Dr. Nadkarni joined the University of Utah as a Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education. Prior to that, she was a faculty member at The Evergreen State College for 20 years. She received her B.S. degree from Brown University, and her PhD from University of Washington. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship, the 2011 NSF Public Service Award, and the 2012 AAAS Award for Public Engagement, and the 2013 Carr Medal for Conservation. Her research concerns the ecological roles of canopy-dwelling biota in forest ecosystems. She has published over 100 scientific articles and four scholarly books. Her work in the Costa Rican rain forest was featured in the 1988 PBS series, The Second Voyage of the Mimi, starring a young Ben Affleck. She maintains an interest in public outreach, and her work was highlighted on the web page of the National Science Foundation. She is the author of Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees, and she contributed to a book for young explorers entitled, Kingfisher Voyages: Rain Forest.