Mar28

Think Like an Ecosystem: Biomimicry for Social Innovation workshop in NYC

17080_2_New York Botanical Garden

Think Like an Ecosystem:
Biomimicry for Social Innovation
June 12-14, 2018 | New York City

Biomimicry for Social Innovation Design Workshop 2-day Extension
June 15-16, 2018

Discover how to Think Like an Ecosystem during our three-day training that cross pollinates the fields of biomimicry and social innovation. Through exploration of an old growth forest inside the New York Botanical Gardens and a field trip to the shorelines of the City’s largest park, you’ll explore lessons from nature and learn how to apply this ecosystem intelligence to organizations and social innovation efforts.Have a specific opportunity or challenge you’d like to address? The Design Workshop is a two-day extension for those ready to roll up their sleeves and begin applying the concepts learned during the training to a specific issue or opportunity. Through direct coaching with our expert instructors and collaborative engagement with fellow learners, you’ll work to unpack the most applicable lessons from nature, then apply them systematically to your challenge. The Think Like an Ecosystem training is a prerequisite for this extension unless you’ve previously taken a Biomimicry Social Innovation workshop with Biomimicry 3.8.

 

LEARN MORE + REGISTER

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WHAT TO EXPECT

Each day will be brimming with content—you should plan to clear your agenda and fully immerse yourself in the biomimicry experience! You will gain new insights and new ways to unpack challenges as you explore how to apply nature’s lessons through experiential play with lessons from local ecosystems. From a homebase of the New York Botanical Gardens, workshop activities will vary from lecture time to hands on activities to fields trips that explore Pelham Bay Park, New York City’s largest park. This will be an active and fully engaged workshop, so come ready to dive in!

INSTRUCTORS

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Dr. Dayna Baumeister–Biomimicry 3.8 Co-Founder

Dr. Dayna Baumeister is a world-renowned biomimicry lecturer and consultant, as well as the Director of the Biomimicry Professional Certificate Program and Co-director of The Biomimicry Center at ASU. With a background in biology, a devotion to applied natural history, and a passion for sharing the wonders of nature with others, Dayna has worked in the field of biomimicry with business partner Janine Benyus since 1998 as a business catalyst, educator, researcher, and design consultant. As a workshop leader, she will share her 18+ years of experience bringing biological intelligence to a wide range of audiences as well as her visionary leadership for the meme.

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Toby Herzlich–Biomimicry for Social Innovation Founder

Toby Herzlich is a leadership trainer, master facilitator, certified Biomimicry Specialist, and the founder of Biomimicry for Social Innovation. Toby is committed to the creation of a just, healthy, and regenerative society, and heartfully enthused about the transformative potential of applying nature’s wisdom to humanity’s sustainability aspirations. With more than 25 years of facilitation experience, she is a Senior Trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute, co-founder of Cultivating Women’s Leadership, and a consultant to organizations such as the Sierra Club and the AgroEcology Fund. She finds much of her purpose in catalyzing diverse networks of social change innovators, including the Young Climate Leaders, and intends to germinate a co-evolving network of leaders using nature’s intelligence as guidance and inspiration.

SPECIAL GUEST

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Lisa Dokken–Certified Biomimicry Professional

Lisa Dokken holds one of the first Masters in Science in Biomimicry from Arizona State University and is a Certified Biomimicry Professional. Lisa lectures on biomimicry and nature based solutions at The Earth Institute, Columbia University, as well as Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability program. Prior to her diving head first into biomimicry, Lisa worked in sustainable development for the United Nations Development Programme and the Clinton Climate Initiative in Asia, Latin America and Africa. She is also on the board of directors for the BiomimicryNYC regional network.

PRICING

Price for attendance at the June 12-14, 3-day training is $1,950. Designed to be highly affordable and flexible, registration covers catered lunch each day, all activities, tuition, workshop materials, and administration costs. You will need to choose your own options for breakfast, dinner, and lodging based on your preferences.

The June 15-16 Design Workshop extension is $1,500. Registration includes catered lunch each day, all activities, tuition, workshop materials, and administration costs. The Think Like an Ecosystem 3-day training is a prerequisite for this extension, unless you’ve previously taken a Biomimicry Social Innovation workshop with Biomimicry 3.8.

You’ll see an option on the registration form to select the three-day training only, or the three-day plus two-day workshop extension.

Attendees are responsible for covering the cost of transportation and lodging, as well as breakfast and evening meals. Reserve your seat for only $500. Full payment is due April 23, 2018.

Convince your boss by downloading and sharing our new PDF that outlines the professional benefits and value biomimicry immersion workshops can add to any organization. Download Convince Your Boss pdf here.

WORKSHOP LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATIONS

The workshop will be held at the New York City Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, conveniently located across the street from the Botanical Garden station on the Metro-North Harlem line, just 20 minutes from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

Attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. New York offers endless lodging opportunities. There are several hotels within walking distance of the workshop. The proximity to a station allows participants to easily travel from other parts of the city. Don’t forget about VRBO or Airbnb.

REGISTRATION AND DEADLINES

Online registration forms must be completed by April 15, 2018. All instructions and pricing information is included within the form. Late registration will be accepted through May 27, 2018 pending availability. Late registrants will incur a $200 late fee.

Learn more about Immersion Workshops here

Questions? Contact us at workshops@biomimicry.net or +1 406-543-4108 *233

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Mar21

Food by local farmers. Distribution system by ants.

Local-Farmers

Driving down U.S. 20 toward Cleveland, Cullen Naumoff knew something had to change.

Naumoff, director of sustainable enterprise for the Oberlin Project in Oberlin, Ohio, had recently launched a food hub with colleague Heather Adelman. Food hubs bring together what small farmers produce into quantities needed by big buyers like schools, restaurants and supermarkets. The problem? The Oberlin Food Hub was so successful that demand was outstripping the ability of participating farmers to meet it. Naumoff turned to other regional food hubs — and soon found herself driving all around the region to pick up and deliver lone bushels of produce — encumbering the expenses of big food companies without benefiting from the economies of scale they enjoy.

“All we had done with the food hub was shrink their model,” she says, “so local produce would never be able to compete.”

Then Naumoff met Ohio State University entomologist Casey Hoy at a food conference. She told Hoy of her frustration trying to incorporate a higher level of complexity into her food hub enterprise.

“Insects are so diverse they have probably already solved it,” Hoy responded. He then shared what he had learned from ants about efficient transportation.

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Ant colony optimization is an approach to applying ant behavior to solving engineering and operations problems. Different ant species, Hoy said, use different kinds of networks of nests and paths in between them to optimize food transportation. In the process, they create a library of strategies humans can tap to solve our own food transportation challenges.

Mexican ants, for example, use a hub-and-spoke model like big food distributors, with a central nest and ants that make trips fanning to and from the center as they search for food. Argentinian ants, rather than using permanent nests, are constantly on the move, splitting and joining in new groups and nesting temporarily as they go. Malaysian leaf-cutter ants create central nests, but the ants are different sizes and carry different loads to match — with small ants, for example, carrying small leaf-cuttings and larger ants carrying bigger ones.

Hoy’s insights provided Naumoff with new ideas for meeting her food transportation challenge. She began moving her food transportation strategy from the Mexican ant model toward the Argentinian ant model Hoy described.

The resulting network, called Farm Fare, uses information technology to display food available from participating food hubs online. The various hubs can use this information to purchase needed foods in bulk and locally from the region. For example, if a buyer needs more red carrots than its own hub can provide, it can see — and purchase — red carrots available from other hubs in the network.

Naumoff is now exploring a new model inspired by the Malaysian ants’ approach. Her thought is to offer local truck fleet owners the opportunity to take on food hub orders when returning empty from other jobs. Essentially, the various truck drivers would be the equivalent of different-size ants transporting different-size loads among hubs.

“It is a win-win-win,” Naumoff says. “Good for the local fleet owners who make extra money on a run they have to do anyway, good for local food that does not have to make multiple trips to finish an order, and good for the environment because trucks are always full and traveling short distances so emission levels are lower than conventional agricultural systems.”

“I am using the economies of cooperation to compete with the economies of scale.” – Cullen Naumoff

Adopting the ant-inspired distribution strategy has helped Naumoff move closer to her goal of paying small farmers a reliable living wage and meeting the food needs of wholesale customers while competing with the large food distributers. “I am using the economies of cooperation to compete with the economies of scale,” she says.

Naumoff and others working to create more sustainable food systems face many other challenges, such as degraded soil, loss of food knowledge, poor nutrition, poverty, obesity, hunger and food access, just to name a few.

As Naumoff looks with satisfaction on the food system distribution solutions ants have inspired, one can’t help but wonder: What other problems does society have that nature has already solved? View Ensia homepage

Editor’s note: Liv Scott produced this feature as a participant in the Ensia Mentor Program. The mentor for the project was Sarah Gilman.

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Nov29

A Cure for the Uncommon Cold

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By Tom McKeag

When Arthur DeVries arrived at McMurdo Station in 1961, he was fresh from Stanford University where he had signed up for a 13-month stint to study the respiratory metabolism of the endemic Notothenioid fishes found in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Notothenioids are Antarctic icefish, a suborder of the order of Perciformes. This order is the most numerous order of vertebrates in the world and includes perch, cichlids, and sea bass. Five families of Notothenioid fish dominate the Southern Ocean, comprising over 90 percent of the fish biomass of the region. They are a key part of an entire ecosystem, but that ecosystem would not exist in its robust form if they had not evolved a way to beat the extreme cold of these polar waters. DeVries would eventually find out how.

McMurdo station is at the southern tip of Ross Island, the largest of three U.S. science installations in Antarctica. Established in 1958, McMurdo had all the fea-tures of any work camp on the edge of raw nature, with few embellishments be-yond generators, supply pallets and Quonset huts. The research community there existed in defiance of the climate, rather than because of it: recorded tem-perature extremes are as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius and average annual temperatures reside at minus 18 degrees Celsius.

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Aug27

Summer Reading List for Biomimics!

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We asked leaders in the biomimicry community – including Biomimicry Institute staff, founders of the Biomimicry Global Networks, our friends at Biomimicry 3.8, and our co-founder, Janine Benyus – for their summer reading recommendations, and have compiled a great list of books for your trip to the beach (or lake, reservoir, bay, pond, channel, estuary, fjord, bight, canal, wetland, lagoon, marsh, tributary, or river delta) this summer. Some may be better suited for hunkering down during winter months, but all will provide a new perspective in thinking about sustainability, innovation and design, and our relationship with the natural world. Enjoy!


 

Recommended by Janine Benyus, co-founder, Biomimicry Institute & Biomimicry 3.8

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer

The Hidden Half of Nature by Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong

Adapt: How Humans Are Tapping into Nature’s Secrets to Design and Build a Better Future by Amina Khan

Recommended by Amy Coffman-Phillips, founder, Biomimicry Chicago network

Evolution by Stephen Baxter (Sci-Fi)

Storms of my Grandchildren by James Hansen

Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World by Stephen Kellert

 

Recommended by Katherine Collins, author, The Nature of Investing, founder, Honeybee Capital Foundation

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

 

Recommended by Lisa Dokken, biomimicry consultant and lecturer, Columbia University

The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planetby Kristin Ohlson

 

Recommended by Marjan Eggermont, associate dean, Schulich School of Engineering, and founding co-editor, Zygote Quarterly

Science of Seeing: Essays on Nature from Zygote Quarterly by Adelheid Fischer

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Nov27

Earth is (already) great

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A joint letter from the Biomimicry Institute and Biomimicry 3.8.

Let’s work together to build a just world for us all, with nature as a guide.

We’ve all spent too much time inside the last few days, looking at our computers and TV screens. In that time, birds were flying south for the winter, rain was restoring thirsty hills in California, and baby koalas were being born in Australia.

A species can only thrive if its strategies are tuned to the conditions it’s in–and if it’s in beneficial relationships with others. Humans have co-existed as a species on this planet for over 200,000 years as Homo sapiens sapiens. In that time, there have been many disturbances, challenges, and tensions between and amongst us. Somehow, we have eventually learned that we are always better together than alone.

And through it all, we always asked nature for help.

Nature adapts to changing conditions, over short and long periods of time. For that reason alone, it offers us humans millions of answers on how to build a fair world that works for all species.  

We have a vibrant planet, one full of solutions to every problem we have. As we all collectively navigate this time of great change ahead, we encourage everyone to continue to look to nature. Take long walks, have conversations with birds, spend time pondering the ants.  

Go outside – enjoy it, learn from it, and protect it.

Sincerely,

Your friends at the Biomimicry Institute and Biomimicry 3.8

Apr06

Want to build an organization that lasts? Create a superorganism.

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By Tamsin Woolley-Barker, PhD

For the past 25 years, I’ve studied everything from baboon cooperation in Ethiopia and orca whale innovation in the Bering Sea, to the Argentine ant invasion in my kitchen, and my colleagues at work (not nearly as interesting!), all through an evolutionary lens.

Today, I use that lens to help companies evolve.

I’m a Biomimicry Professional, and a Biologist at the Design Table, and the teams I work with develop biologically-inspired solutions for a Global 500 clientele. We search for the technologies that make life—and business—go.

As an evolutionary biologist, a businessperson, and a biomimic, I’m always looking for the deep patterns in life, trying to find out what lasts. And here’s one thing I know is true:
Organizations can’t keep growing the way we structure them today.

It’s simple math. Like dinosaurs, organizations keep getting bigger, but they need huge bones to support the weight of all that complexity. The more weight, the more bones; the more bones, the more weight. It’s a catch-22. Management is the ponderous skeleton that keeps organizations from collapse. But as they grow, the costs of management rise, and the ability to adapt declines. When sudden change comes, there’s not much a company can do—it’s a sitting duck (or dinosaur) for the next cosmic collision. Hierarchies can only scale so much—we can’t grow bigger bones forever.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with hierarchies. In fact, nature uses them all the time—to stop change from happening. Scientists tell us that cells go rogue in our bodies every day, but a hierarchical system usually stops those cancers from growing. Hierarchies are important and useful. But they aren’t the right structures for adapting to change, and they inherently limit growth.

Change is coming—with shifting supply chains and customer needs, upstart competitors and technologies, resource scarcity and volatile prices, change is sudden, unexpected, and potentially calamitous. Multinationals span many divisions and fractured market segments, their teams cross cultures, languages, time zones, and governments. All of it held together by management. Between technological advances and social revolutions, climate change and peak everything, companies inhabit an unpredictable world of their own making. They are bound to topple and fall.

Meanwhile, they have a mandate to maximize shareholder return. Companies that are beholden to this short-sighted maxim require infinite growth. What happens when they hit the limit? Something has to give.

As an evolutionary biologist, I find myself asking—who inherited the Earth in the dinosaurs’ place?

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Dec01

Message to COP21 leaders: Need solutions? Ask nature.

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Right now, world leaders are gathering in Paris at COP21 with nothing less than the future of our planet at stake. Their goal is to create a new international climate change agreement that limits global warming below 2℃. If temperatures rise above that magic number, the UN predicts that between 20-30 percent of plant and animal species could be wiped out. If things continue as they currently are, we will certainly hit that number (atmospheric CO2 levels recently passed the 400 ppm mark, another measure of the damage we’re doing). We know we cannot allow this to happen.

As these leaders work to hammer out plans, they’re going to need to land on solid strategies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep our planet’s temperature from rising. Luckily, the solutions are right outside our window.

Nature is full of clues for how we can approach our climate change problems, in ways that not only reduce our climate impact, but help us to “…become producers of ecosystem services” (Janine Benyus). Biomimicry studies and then translates nature’s architecture, design, and engineering strategies to human design. Many of these strategies can apply directly to climate change challenges such as how nature upcycles carbon, harnesses the sun’s power, and creates electricity.

COP21 is focused on developing solid action plans and solutions. In that spirit, we want to share just a few of nature’s strategies and corresponding innovations that can lead us down a more life-sustaining path.

First, here is a small sample of some ways that nature captures greenhouse gases and creates renewable energy:

 

Carbon-gobbling cacti
The Saguaro cactus uses some of the carbon dioxide it removes from the atmosphere to make compounds called oxalates.These oxalates then combine with calcium ions taken up from the soil by the plants roots. After the cactus dies, the calcium oxalate slowly transforms into solid calcium carbonate (calcite), and sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide into the soil. (more…)

Nov24

#ThankOutside: Share what you’re grateful for in nature

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With the holiday season approaching, the Biomimicry Institute and Biomimicry Global Network want to share what makes us thankful in nature and invite you to do the same. Post a pic of yourself or a loved one holding a #THANKOUTSIDE sign in your favorite outdoor spot, explain what you’re thankful for in nature, and post to Twitter or Instagram using the #THANKOUTSIDE hashtag. From now until Nov. 26th, we’ll repost our favorites. Don’t have a Twitter or Instagram account? You can send your pic and blurb to hello(at)biomimicry.org.

 

Read on to learn what the Biomimicry Institute team is grateful for, this year and always.

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Oct10

Urban mobility reloaded: Planning our future cities

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By Dr. Arndt Pechstein

Our cities are constantly growing and an ever-rising number of people live on a very small fraction of the world’s surface area. By 2050, about 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. Half of the population of Asia alone is predicted to live in cities by 2020. Over 60% of the land projected to become urban by 2030 remains yet to be built. Mobility no longer remains an optional luxury for an elite but has transformed into a non-negotiable to participate in society. Consequently, smart mobility solutions are gaining importance. How do we tackle such a challenge of global dimension? How do we serve people’s needs for mobility while simultaneously sacrificing neither biodiversity and environmental values nor human health and well-being?

The light bulb was not invented by improving the candle.”

Urban mobility Dr. Arndt Pechstein

Reinventing the wheel

Despite our pride of having invented the wheel (which is, by the way, not entirely true given that the golden wheel spider has been using wheel motion for millions of years before us) humans are not the only species tackling mobility challenges. In fact, mobility is an inherent phenomenon shared by all living systems. Everything alive moves, from cells to organisms to entire ecosystems. Over billions of years, organisms and systems have evolved to be remarkably adaptive to their surroundings with regard to transport, mobility, and logistics.

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Sep08

Designing for People Who Don’t Yet Exist

Designing for People Who Don’t Yet Exist

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