SUU Kicks Off “The Year of Grace” with Dr. Nalini Nadkarni

The 40th anniversary of the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values’ speaker series began with a lecture from Dr. Nalini Nadkarni and her emphasis on the connection between humans and trees Oct. 7.

Over the course of her career, Nadkarni has been called “The Queen of Canopy Research.” An award-winning rainforest ecologist and science ambassador, she has been featured in “Natural History” and on “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and “National Geographic.” She is the creator of the nonprofit group International Canopy Network and the author of “Between Earth and Sky.”

“When I was nine years old, I took the solemn oath that I would learn about and protect trees when I became a grown up,” Nadkarni recalled.

She has since succeeded in fulfilling her oath through the study of forest canopy ecology, but she is also interested in connecting nature and people and the actions humanity needs to take to unite nature and people further.

Through Humility for Others Perspectives through Engagement Nadkarni strives to connect individuals to nature by targeting their own personal interests and connecting them together.

“It allows everyone to become a walking educator,” she explained.

She has targeted the spiritual, artistic and social justice systems and found great success through everything from the provision of nature lectures, to incarcerated individuals to painting trees on her nails.

Nadkarni has reached out to people across the world to keep her oath she made to the trees as that nine-year-old girl and improved lives all along the way.

“I believe by connecting people with different values, and from different values with humility… we can move forward towards hope rather than the immobility of despair,” Nadkarni said.

The center’s purpose “is to encourage maximum exposure of students, faculty, and the larger community to the ideas which best exemplify the human condition and the values which help to define it.”

More information on “The Year of Grace” and the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values can be found here.


Article and Photo by: Audrey Gee