Janine Benyus Wins Design Mind Award

kristy Nature/Biomimicry

Biomimicry 3.8 Institute Newsletter – June 2012

Janine Benyus Wins Design Mind Award

We have a lot to celebrate in this issue, and foremost is that our co-founder Janine Benyus has won the Design Mind category of the 13th Annual National Design Awards program sponsored by Smithsonian?s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The Design Mind award is given in recognition of a visionary who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness.

This honor is not only a win for Janine, but it also benefits everyone in the field of biomimicry. Awards like this provide even greater validation that biomimicry is a discipline that provides solutions to some of our most important design challenges. Janine will be honored in October 2012 at a gala ceremony in New York.

Scholarships Awarded for Education Summit; Richard Louv to Give Opening Address

This month, eight more educators will get to attend the Sixth Annual Biomimicry Education Summit in Portland, Oregon, thanks to the generosity of Biomimicry 3.8 Institute donors. The weekend conference, which is to be held June 21?24, 2012, is the only one of its kind in the world that brings together educators to share best practices, learn the latest teaching tools, and network with biomimicry experts. Richard Louv, celebrated author and founder of the Children and Nature Network, will give this year?s opening address. Richard is best known for coining the term ?nature-deficit disorder.? He will discuss his latest book The Nature Principle and how we need to incorporate nature and, in turn, biomimicry, more fully into our lives and classrooms. If you have not yet registered for the Summit, please do so today.

Three Design Challenge Teams Take Their Projects to the Next Level

Deckard Sorensen and Miguel Galvez of Boston College; photo by John Gallaugher

We love hearing about the successes of educators, students, and practitioners in our networks, and were especially thrilled to learn that three teams that participated in our Student Design Challenge (SDC) have since attracted serious outside interest.

In April, the SDC team from Boston College won the $10,000 grand prize in the Boston College Venture Competition with their Namib Beetle Design, which condenses clean drinking water from the air. In addition, the team earned a place in a summer incubator program to help launch their product.

Lipscomb University?s SDC team also attracted $10,000 from an angel investor for their Hickory Hydroponics design, a vertical tomato farm that moves water using a system based on the capillary action of trees. Construction of a prototype will begin in August.

A third SDC team, from the University of Calgary, presented their concept for a Chinook Wind Heating System at the World Academy of Science Engineering and Technology?s 2012 Winter Conference in Switzerland. Although the team?s design did not meet all of our SDC requirements, our judges were very impressed with the concept?s potential.

We are pleased to see each of these talented teams continue their design innovation process, and look forward to their future successes.

Spend a Week Learning Biomimicry in Scotland

Learn about biomimicry and how to teach it while exploring five habitats in coastal northeast Scotland. Join us for a weeklong Biomimicry Educator Training Workshop , August 25?31, 2012, hosted at Findhorn College, the educational arm of the famous Findhorn Ecovillage. Designed to meet the interests and needs of k-12, university, and informal educators, the workshop offers instruction in the fundamentals of biomimicry, an introduction to Life?s Principles, and communication strategies for sharing biomimicry with students of any age. Participants will learn from local plants, animals, and ecosystems while exploring tidal bays, rivers, forests, and heather dunelands on the fringe of the Scottish highlands. They will return home with a plan for incorporating biomimicry education into their own curricula and programs as well as a toolkit of supporting resources. Register by June 30 to ensure your spot in the workshop.

Learn Biomimicry in Your Living Room

The first online course in a series of biomimicry tutorials is now available for those who want to deepen their understanding of the discipline. The two-hour course, ?Introduction to Biomimicry ,? is taught by Biomimicry 3.8?s co-founder Dr. Dayna Baumeister and features audio, video, and animation to illustrate the core biomimicry philosophy, case studies, Life?s Principles, and more. Biomimicry 3.8 is offering the course for an introductory price of $99, and you can engage in this online experience on your own schedule and from the comfort of your home. Whether you are a student, professional, or simply someone interested in sustainable innovation, this is the best way to begin your biomimicry journey.

Institute Staff Provide Costa Rican Naturalists with Biomimicry Training

Biomimicry 3.8 Institute’s Sam Stier and Don Juan Bautista, owner, farmer, and educator, La Finca Educativa biodynamic farm

Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, making it one of the 20 most biologically diverse countries on the planet. It also welcomes more than two million visitors annually, most of who spend at least some time visiting nature reserves and national parks, often accompanied by trained local naturalist guides.

Two of our educators, Sam Stier and Grace Decker, recently traveled to Costa Rica to teach biomimicry to naturalists who lead experiential education trips for high school students and teachers. In evening presentations and daytime walks on rainforest trails and alongside remote rivers, Sam and Grace shared biomimicry case studies related to Costa Rican organisms ideas as well as demonstrated activities the Institute has developed for engaging students with biomimicry. Tom Ranieri, the owner and director of Costa Rican Resource and who invited us to attend, said, “This past week was a thousand times better than I ever could have imagined. [Sam] and Grace do such an amazing job?I feel [biomimicry] will be a real great step forward for my life as an environmental educator. I am looking forward to?developing biomimicry more here in Costa Rica in the tourism industry and at the local level.”

We have many biomimicry resources for educators on our website. Take a look or share with a friend.

Missed Our Higher Education Webinar? Proceedings Now Available

Are you curious about tools that can help cross-disciplinary teams explore connections between biomimicry and design? Or how biomimicry is being incorporated into interior design studios? Or how an architecture course explores kinetic aspects of biological systems to inform the design and engineering of buildings? Then our webinar proceedings are perfect for you. Read all about these innovative courses and tools, learn the myriad of ways professors are engaging students in biomimicry education, and view some stunning project visuals created by students. Proceedings of the Second Annual Biomimicry in Higher Education Webinar, which was held in January 2012, are now available electronically as a PDF for $15.

AskNature Nugget

This month?s AskNature Nugget explores ways in which nature performs chemistry. Always considered chemicals to be human-made? Biomimicry 3.8?s chemistry expert Mark Dorfman reminds us that nature has been doing chemistry for over 3.8 billion years, and notes that we have much to learn from its sustainable practices. You will find a fresh Nugget in every issue of our newsletter, and each one will ask, “How does nature ? ??

AskNature Featured Strategies

How Prairies and Fires Manage Disturbance

Would you rather read a couple hundred words explaining something, or look at a picture? This year, we’ve added dozens of illustrations to AskNature. Some illustrate a biological principle, some a design principle. What’s the difference? In biomimicry we look for the biological principle from nature (e.g., how an organism does what it does), and then restate it into a design principle. We do this by replacing the biological terms with language that an architect, product designer, engineer, or organization can directly apply to his or her project. This month, we’re featuring two ecosystem-level strategies that have illustrations of the design principle. Illustrator Emily Harrington created an illustration for how a prairie can continue to function as an ecosystem despite disturbances, such as a drought, that decrease the populations of some species. Another illustration shows how a forest can recover from disturbance.

Biomimicry Research and Design News

Forbes: Amoeba-through-Zebra Innovation
Clean Technica: Powerhouse Solar Cell Inspired by Leaf Biomimicry

Voice America: Brainstorming with Nature ? How Biomimicry May Hold the Key to Your Innovation Challenge (radio)

Global Toronto: Biomimicry (video)