Franklin, Thomas M. (Active)
University of Tennessee
Avian Ecology & Management
Tom was born on the last day of spring, 1950, in Washington, D.C. His family moved to University Park, Maryland, during his first few months of life. He enjoyed a middle-class upbringing in suburban Maryland, where he became fascinated with birds in the community, especially the red-headed woodpeckers and crows that frequented the mature oak forest surrounding the Franklin home. Frequent 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 fascination with the pursuit of wild game and the companionship of English setters. Tom’s appreciation of the natural world was there from the beginning. An innate curiosity about wildlife led him to study wildlife management at the University of Maryland. Following graduation, he took a position as the first wildlife biologist employed by the newly formed Urban Wildlife Research Center in 1973. It was there that he became acquainted with the most important and influential person of his professional career -- Dr. Daniel L. Leedy. Dan joined the Board of Directors of the Urban Center and over the years became a mentor to Tom. 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, between 1981 and 1983. Tom became executive director of the Urban Center in 1987, where he directed program of urban wildlife research and management. The Urban Center investigated ways of protecting and conserving wildlife within urban and suburban areas using a multi-disciplinary approach. In 1983, Tom left the Urban Center to expand his horizons with The Wildlife Society, the association of professional wildlife biologists and managers. His first role was as field director, in charge of managing 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 affairs activities. After he joined the Society, 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 Congress and federal agencies. Tom left The Wildlife Society in 2005 and accepted employment with the Izaak Walton League of America as their conservation director. His life-long concern for suburban wildlife conservation and new interest in nature-related business led Tom and his wife to establish a wildlife retail enterprise in 1996. The Wildlife Authority is an independent, family-owned wild bird and nature store created in Ellicott City, Maryland. This opened his eyes to a whole new realm of small business management and allowed him to expand his interest in “backyard bird” conservation in the local community. Early in his professional career, Tom qualified as a certified wildlife biologist. He has published articles in professional and lay publications and has made presentations at numerous conferences and symposia on the topics of urban/suburban wildlife management, association leadership, and natural resources policy. Tom has devoted much personal and professional energy during the 1990s to advocating increased funding for comprehensive wildlife conservation through the Teaming With Wildlife campaign at the national and state levels. Tom was elected to become a Fellow of The Wildlife Society as well as vice president in 2006. Tom was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1984 and served as chair of the membership committee from 2000 to 2006.