Franklin, Thomas M. (Active)
University of Tennessee
Avian Ecology & Management
Tom was born 20 June 1950 in Washington, D.C. His family moved to University Park, Maryland, during his first few months of life. As a boy, he became fascinated with birds in the community, especially the Red-headed Woodpecker and Common Crow that frequented the mature oak forest surrounding the Franklin home. Weekend trips to family properties in Northern and Central Virginia introduced him to outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing. An interest in quail hunting with pointing dogs evolved into a life-long pursuit of wild game and the companionship of bird dogs. An innate curiosity about wildlife led him to study wildlife management at the University of Maryland. Following graduation in 1972, he accepted a position as the first wildlife biologist employed by the Urban Wildlife Research Center (UWRC) in 1973. It was there that he became acquainted with his mentor, Dr. Daniel L. Leedy. There was no better role model for a young biologist to emulate than Dan Leedy and Tom was most proud of receiving the Daniel L. Leedy Urban Wildlife Conservation Award in 1989. Tom was betrothed to Catherine G. Hughes in 1976. They produced two fine boys, Michael and Daniel, in 1981 and 1983. Tom became executive director of the UWRC in 1987, where he directed the program of urban wildlife research and management. In 1983, Tom joined The Wildlife Society, the association of professional wildlife biologists and managers. His first role was as field director in charge of the Society’s chapters and regional groups that are distributed throughout North America. This position afforded him the opportunity to travel extensively and introduced him to many of the ecosystems of the continent. He also led the Society’s conservation policy activities. In 1989 he completed a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. During 1991, he was selected as the first wildlife policy director of The Wildlife Society where he worked on public policy issues with the U.S. Congress and federal agencies. Tom left The Wildlife Society in 2005 to accept employment with the Izaak Walton League of America as conservation director. His life-long interest in suburban wildlife conservation led Tom and his wife Cathy to create a nature store, The Wildlife Authority, in 1996. In 2007 he joined the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership as Senior Vice President and Senior Director of Science and Policy where he advocated for science-based wildlife conservation policy in the Nation’s Capital. He completed his professional career promoting Northern Bobwhite and native grassland conservation with the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative. He retired in 2019 and now manages his family farms in Virginia emphasizing the restoration of native habitat. He has published many articles in professional and lay publications and has made presentations at conferences and symposia on the topics of urban/suburban wildlife management, leadership, and natural resources policy. Tom is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and was elected as a Fellow of The Wildlife Society as well as vice president in 2006 and President in 2008. Tom was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1984 and served as chair of the membership committee from 2000 to 2006