In the Green Room

Learning From Trees

Ecologist Nalini Nadkarni Takes Questions in the Green Room

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Nalini Nadkarni is an ecologist and environmental studies professor at The Evergreen State College in Washington. Known as “The Queen of the Forest Canopy,” she is founder of the International Canopy Network. Before participating on a Zócalo panel at the Getty about the importance of trees in life and art, she answered questions in our Green Room.

Q. What do you do to exercise?
A. I run three miles a day, I hike, I’m a trail runner, so I go like 20 or 25 miles every two to three weeks.

Q. What is your favorite city on earth?
A. I have to be a hometown gal and say Bethesda, Maryland, where I grew up.

Q. What would your job be if it wasn’t what you’re doing now?
A. It would be what I’m doing now.

Q. What is your favorite place to read?
A. In a tree.

Q. What are you afraid of?
A. That my kids might get hurt.

Q. What word do you routinely misspell?
A. Spelt.

Q. Who had the greatest impact on your career?
A. I would have to say several trees. One named Figuerola, which is in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Another named Glyph, which is in the temperate rainforest. It was in climbing those trees that I got involved in tree-climbing, so they had a huge influence on me.

Q. What do you eat for breakfast?
A. Every day I eat the same thing for breakfast. I eat one boiled egg, I eat two pieces of toast and a cup of coffee. And I’ve been eating that same breakfast for eight years now. But what’s spectacular is that when you eat the same breakfast and you don’t time the egg, every day the egg is just a little bit different, so you never know, is it going to be soft, is it going to be hard, is it going to be really hard? And then every now and then you get the perfect egg and then everyone at the breakfast table is really happy for you.

Q. What would we find you doing at 8 pm on a typical weeknight?
A. In the winter you’d find me hanging around the wood stove in our house in Olympia, Washington, where it’s cold and wet. Either reading or hanging out with my family, my husband and daughter.

To read more about the panel in which Nadkarni participated, click here.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.