The Participant - Summer 2017 » “Tapestry Thinking: Weaving the Threads of Humans and Nature”
“Tapestry Thinking: Weaving the Threads of Humans and Nature”
Nalini Nadkarni, Professor of Biology, University of Utah will present the Distinguished Scientist Lecture in Benson Auditorium on Monday, February 20, 2017.
Nalini Nadkarni discusses how her experiences as a scientist precipitated her explorations into diverse ways of engaging humans with the natural world. Her 35 years of ecological research in tropical and temperate rainforest canopies led to discoveries about the importance of treetop-dwelling plants in ecosystem processes, as well as the fragility of the rainforest tapestry. To help narrow the increasing distance between humans and nature, Nadkarni created novel ways to synergistically share knowledge with a wide range of public audiences, including urban youth, visual artists, musicians, policy-makers and faith-based groups. She has also initiated and sustained programs to bring science lectures and conservation projects to incarcerated men and women in state prisons, county jails and juvenile detention centers. This interweaving of plants, animals and people has helped to create a stronger tapestry of conservation and engagement with nature.
Nadkarni is a renowned forest ecologist and a pioneer in the study of rainforest canopies. Using mountain climbing equipment to ascend into the canopy, she has studied treetop plants and animals for more than three decades. She has received many honors and awards, including the J. Sterling Morton Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation, the William Julius Wilson Award for Achievement in Social Justice and the Public Service Award from the National Science Foundation.