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Using Folk Art to Create Biodiversity Map and Raise Awareness

Biodiversity map of Shiv Nadar University created using folk art by Professor Bahar Dutt.

In a remarkable display of creativity and cultural expression, Shiv Nadar University near Delhi has taken a unique approach to raise awareness about its abundant biodiversity. Through the integration of folk art, the university has unveiled a captivating biodiversity map that serves as a visual testament to the rich flora and fauna found on campus. This innovative project not only showcases the power of art but also aims to instill a deeper connection with nature among students and visitors alike.

An Enchanting Tapestry of Biodiversity

Nestled on a sprawling campus surrounded by agricultural lands and a picturesque lake, Shiv Nadar University boasts an astonishing variety of plant and animal species. A team of dedicated researchers painstakingly documented a total of 354 plant species, including 234 wild and 120 cultivated varieties. Moreover, the campus is home to an impressive array of wildlife, including 10 mammal species, 65 bird species, nine reptile species, five amphibian species, and 54 species of butterflies.

Using Folk Art for Science Communication

Professor Bahar Dutt, driven by her passion for science communication, sought to bridge the gap between the campus’s biodiversity and the awareness among students. Traditional approaches such as photography and signboards seemed inadequate to truly capture the essence of the flora and fauna. It was then that she conceived the idea of integrating folk art into the project.

Recognizing the power of folk art as a visual and nonverbal tool for communication, Professor Dutt approached renowned folk artist Sudarshan Shaw. Shaw, known for his expertise in traditional art forms such as Kalamkari and Pattachitra, had previously created biodiversity maps depicting various regions of India. Their collaboration birthed an extraordinary biodiversity map of the Shiv Nadar University campus, designed in the exquisite Mughal style of painting

A Harmonious Fusion

The choice of the Mughal style was not arbitrary; it perfectly complemented the university’s architectural marvels juxtaposed against the thriving wilderness. Mughal miniature paintings, characterized by their scientific accuracy and tranquil aesthetics, offered an ideal medium to capture the true essence of the campus’s diverse flora and fauna.

With meticulous attention to detail, Shaw painted over 50 species of birds, mammals, and flora, transforming the biodiversity map into a vibrant tapestry. The map now graces strategic locations across the campus, inviting students and visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and intricacy of nature. These enchanting displays serve as a gateway to a deeper understanding of the delicate ecosystems that surround us.

Using Folk Art as a Catalyst for Change

The introduction of the biodiversity map has already yielded remarkable results. Students who were previously unaware of the campus’s abundant biodiversity have become more attuned to the natural wonders that exist within their academic environment. The maps serve not only as educational tools but also as sources of inspiration and pride within the Shiv Nadar University community.

This extraordinary project showcases the immense power of folk art in communicating complex scientific concepts. By blending traditional art forms with scientific accuracy, the biodiversity map not only captures the attention of viewers but also creates a lasting impact on their understanding and appreciation of nature.

The success with using art to teach biodiversity at Shiv Nadar University highlights the potential for folk art to play a crucial role in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. Its ability to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and cultural expression opens doors for similar initiatives in educational institutions worldwide. By leveraging the beauty and simplicity of folk art, we can cultivate a profound connection with nature and inspire the next generation to become stewards of the environment.

Conclusion

The amalgamation of folk art and biodiversity has resulted in a breathtaking transformation of Shiv Nadar University’s campus. The biodiversity map stands as a testament to the diversity and beauty of nature, fostering a sense of awe and wonder among students and visitors. As we witness the power of art to communicate complex ideas, let us embrace the harmony between tradition and innovation, and strive to protect and celebrate the natural world that surrounds us.

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