CORVALLIS, Ore. - Nalini Nadkarni, a pioneer in forest canopy research who is known for her creative outreach to audiences, will speak on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at Oregon State University. Her free public presentation, "Tapestry Thinking, Tapestry Actions: Weaving Threads of Science, Arts, and the Humanities for Sustainability and Conservation," begins at 4 p.m. in the Memorial Union Journey Room.

The event is sponsored by OSU's Environmental Leadership Institute, a new program aimed at bringing together the sciences and humanities for solutions on environmental issues.

Nadkarni has been called the "Queen of the Forest Canopy." Using innovative mountain-climbing techniques, construction cranes, and hot air balloons, she was among the first scientists to explore the rainforest canopy. Her work has revealed the extraordinarily high biodiversity of canopy, and the critical ecological roles these species play in tropical and temperate rainforests.

Nadkarni is a faculty member at The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Wash., where she teaches in the environmental studies program. She carries out field research in Washington and in Costa Rica with the support of the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

In 1994, she co-founded the International Canopy Network, a nonprofit organization that fosters communication among researchers, educators, and conservationists concerned with forest canopies. She was most recently featured in the National Geographic television special on tropical forest canopies, titled "Heroes of the High Frontier", which won the Emmy Award for Best Documentary Film of 2001.

Her academic awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship for excellence in scholarship and creativity, the J. Stirling Morton Award of The National Arbor Day Foundation, and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship. In April 2010, she was awarded the prestigious "Public Service Award" by the National Science Foundation Board, an award that has been previously conferred to Jane Goodall, Alan Alda, Stephen Jay Gould, and Bill Nye ("the Science Guy").

Nadkarni's latest book, "Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees," has been widely praised. Copies of the book will be available.

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Mariah Russo, (541) 737-2123