At UT for 15 years, Jennifer Franklin is a professor of forestry in UT’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries in the Herbert College of Agriculture. Most of her research centers around forest restoration and mine reclamation, which involves working to grow new trees on former coal mining sites.
Why this field?
From a young age, Franklin felt a connection to nature—a passion greatly influenced by her grandmother.
“She would go on long walks with me and taught me all the names of the plants,” she said.
Spending time in the garden or forest was Franklin’s favorite thing to do while growing up, and that led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in botany.
Franklin spent many summers in Canada during her childhood, so she decided to attend the University of British Columbia for her bachelor’s degree and later the University of Alberta for her PhD in forest biology.
Franklin and her husband, Jim, share an interest in collecting rocks and minerals. Her fascination with fossils almost led her to pursue a minor in geology.
Franklin also loves working in her backyard garden. In her greenhouse she grows mandarin oranges and lemons as well as a variety of vegetables and flowers.
In her office Franklin is growing an arbutus tree, which is native to the west coast of Vancouver Island.
One of Franklin’s favorite adventures was a faculty study abroad program to Ecuador, where she got to observe much unfamiliar plant life.
“Being a botanist, I’m always just looking at plants,” she said.
To that end, a dream vacation for Franklin would be a trip to the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, located on the Kamchatka Peninsula off the coast of Russia. Known as the Land of Fire and Ice, the reserve has mountain ranges and volcanoes, Russia’s only geyser basin, and more than 750 plant species.
Favorite spot on campus
A place right outside her office window: the UT Agriculture Farm Mound, also known as the Indian Mound.
Located at the corner of Joe Johnson Drive and Chapman Drive, it is a burial mound built by Native Americans as early as 644 CE.
In 2011 a garden was constructed around the area, and it’s become a popular meeting spot for group excursions and field trips organized by the agriculture campus.