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K-State Today

September 16, 2015



Associate professor in interior architecture & product design gives keynote address in India

By Wendy Queal

Kansas State University interior architecture & product design associate professor Vibhavari Jani was the keynote speaker at Youth Meet at the Hingolgadh Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat State, India. The event was organized by Gujarat Ecological Education and Research, or GEER, Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Government of Gujarat.

India is a country of 1 billion people. The rapid population growth is changing the urban and rural environment of the country because of the building of housing, industrial complexes and commercial buildings, which is affecting the local ecosystem. Many government agencies are working together in India to educate the new generation about the environmental degradation and ecological balance issues.

Students age 8 to 12 from local elementary schools were invited to take part in the Nature Retreat. Jani's keynote address focused on introducing the Hingolgadh Wildlife Sanctuary as a unique environment to learn about ecological balance. She discussed the importance of forests, grasslands and wildlife in the region. Jani also talked about K-State's environmental outreach efforts and how Konza Prairie offers similar educational opportunities for the students in Kansas.

Explaining the need for connection with nature, Jani introduced Attention Restoration Theory, or ART, developed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan in 1980. She gave examples of how one can feel relaxed and rejuvenated after being in nature and how they can continue to connect with nature when they go back to their urban homes.

Jani concluded her keynote address by encouraging the students to take time out of their daily routine to connect with nature and encouraged students to create awareness in the general public for the need for the preservation of the forest, flora, fauna and wildlife in their region.

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