The overarching mission of Bioneers is the advancement of holistic education pertaining to global social, cultural and environmental issues. Bioneers identifies progressive yet nature-honoring solutions to rising challenges of instability, inequality, and unsustainable growth and disseminates this knowledge via independent media, events, and community action networks. Front Range Bioneers took place at University of Colorado-Boulder from November 8-10.

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

From Front Range Bioneers program: Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, the “Queen of the Forest Canopy,” has conducted unique scientific studies of trees for three decades on four continents, revealing what the complex, diverse biology of rain forests can teach us about human connections and dynamics. She believes we can learn from arboreal example to begin to hear and heal across our differences, and in turn conserve these invaluable planetary ecosystems and their life=giving function.

Pioneering the use of mountain climbing equipment to explore the canopy, Dr. Nadkarni connects her aesthetic, social justice and spiritual values to the ecological values she learns from the forest and canopy. Her reminder that trees are “deeply rooted, a strong trunk and sweeps across the sky” offers a reminder of what we can learn from the natural world. She explains the strategy behind her impressive record of outreach:

In 2001, I received a Guggenheim Fellowship to explore the obstacles that scientists face in disseminating their research to non-scientific audiences. Most scientists present results and conservation messages to “environmentally aware” non-scientists via the media. In contrast, I explored how to raise awareness in non-traditional audiences (those who do not normally gravitate to natural history media or informal science education institutions such as science museums). My approach was to directly link my research and conservation messages about forest canopies with activities and objects valued by non-traditional audiences. I designed and am implementing projects to raise awareness and inspire these audiences to learn and care more about trees, and by extension, nature.

Outreach projects include:

  • Preaching to the Choir
  • Canopy Camouflage Clothing
  • Nature-made Baseball Cards
  • Tree Logo Skateboards
  • Canopy Rap and Graffiti art
  • Treetop Barbie
  • Trees and Healing
  • Plants in Prisons