Two Deserts, One Sky: Connecting Rajasthan, India And Southern Nevada


Peg Rees

Sharon Schafer talk to KNPR's State of Nevada about her latest trip to India to photograph and teach.


Sharon Schafer’s life as a wildlife photographer, painter, and biologist in Nevada and all over the world, she says, is both art and science.

She’s traveled to Antarctica, Kenya, Mongolia, Peru, Namibia. Closer to home: to Arizona’s Grand Canyon and Nevada’s Mojave Desert.

Sharon Schafer found an ashram in India's Thar Desert that was looking for a biologist, photographer and artist to work with students there on a wildlife project.

They wanted her to not only create interpretive brochures about the area but help the people living there understand and appreciate the environment they live in.   

Schafer then decided to get kids in Southern Nevada involved in the program. She enlisted the help of Nevada Virtual Academy and friends at the Park Service and Bureau of Land Management to have students here take field trips into the Mojave Desert to compare and contrast with students in India. 

The students photographed what they saw and shared those pictures with each other. Those photos will be on display at an exhibit at the Nevada State Museum:

Two Deserts, One Sky: A Student Collaboration Between Rajasthan, India and Southern Nevada, U.S.A.

Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas

March 12 – April 30

Sharon K Schafer, project instructors and students at main gate of Shri Jasnath Asan, Panchla Siddha, Rajasthan, India

“I thought I had this just amazing opportunity so why not connect it back to Southern Nevada,” Schafer told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Nevada artist and naturalist, Sharon K.Schafer, working with Rajasthani students during bird watching field trip 

“Observing nature and enjoying nature is kind of this universal thing,”

BLM educator and ranger, Kate Soram, working with Nevada Students during field trip to Red Rock Canyon NCA

“I think it’s really important for kids to start realizing that we share more than things than we’re different.”


Landscape , Red Rock Canyon, NCA, Nevada - Owen Rasar  


Ponderosa Pine, Red Rock Canyon, NCA, Nevada  - Even Shalev


Desert Bighorn Sheep, Hemenway Park, Boulder City, Nevada - Emma Frank


Khejri tree, a type of  mesquite native to Rajasthan, Kramali Pond. Rajasthan, India – Student Photo


Karmlai Pond, Rajasthan, India – Student Photo


Milkweed Flower, Rajasthan, India  – Student Photo

Staff writer for Desert Companion magazine Heidi Kyser wrote a profile of Sharon Schafer for the March issue.  

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Sharon K. Schafer, artist and wildlife biologist; Heidi Kyser, staff writer at Desert Companion magazine

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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada