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Biomimicry & Resilience 4-Day Workshop

Biomimicry & Resilience
June 4-8, 2017                        

You must register by 30 April
Want to learn how to build a resilient world while paddling through a salt marsh and walking through a forest? 

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Biomimicry is the practice of emulating life’s time-tested strategies and deep patterns to generate sustainable designs. Resilience is the ability of a system to continue to function following a disturbance such as those brought on by climate destabilization, economic bursts, and social instability. Biomimicry offers a lens to learn about resilience in natural systems, and provides tools to help build community resilience. Biomimicry offers a new way of valuing nature and designing in life-friendly ways that can help us address our pressing need to design and maintain resilient systems in an ever-changing world.  

In this 4-day course, we’ll explore the foundations and practice using the tools of Biomimicry to solve resilience challenges. Your instructors will guide your discovery of life’s amazing strategies in local ecosystems and how these strategies can inspire solutions to human challenges. This course is designed for students and professionals who want to learn the core principles and practices of Biomimicry and how they relate to resilience.
Learning Objectives
Upon course completion, participants will be able to:

  • Work with Biomimicry tools related to sustainable urban development and biomimicry (tools include Biomimicry Thinking, Life’s Principles, Ecological Performance Standards, Living Building Challenge, Genius of Place)
  • Apply the biomimicry design approach to human design challenges, including but not limited to those related to resilience.
  • Ask new, meaningful questions of products and systems that highlight sustainability and resilience challenges.
  • Describe nature’s innovations through observations made in local ecosystems
  • Translate critical functions and strategies of organisms to applicable problems in architecture, engineering, product development, and urban planning.

The course will be held at the Brynmere, an inn located in the village of Annisquam in Gloucester MA. Opening in 1895 as a summer hotel, the Brynmere did a thriving business until the mid-20s when business began to decline for all summer hotels. This seaside escape provides easy access to both the coast and the local forests from which we will be exploring for inspiration and instruction. From here, we’ll explore resilience in several habitats including: intertidal area, forest, salt marsh, and riparian area of Annisquam River.

Downsized to its current size in the 1960’s, the Inn has 12 rooms each with a sink, and six separate bathrooms. Single rooms are available for a single charge of $200. 

Tentative Agenda

Sunday, June 4: Resilience Story & Belief
Every story of resilience has a beginning, every driver for change is rooted in a belief. As we orient ourselves to the workshop, each other, and the ecological habitat of coastal New England we will begin to tell our own stories, and learn about seeing function in the natural world by exploring the stories in the rocky intertidal zone at the Brynmere Inn. Course will start at 6 pm at Brynmere.

Monday, June 5: A Forest of Mental Models
How we imagine the way the world works dictates how we design interventions. As we introduce Biomimicry Thinking today, our goal is to help us model systems in new ways. Through a field-trip, conversations with naturalists, and guided facilitation we will explore the resilient strategies found in the Northeast's deciduous forests. We will explore the ways others have begun to model resilient strategies including Ecological Performance Standards and Rockefellers 100 Resilient Cities. Guest Speaker Josh Stack will introduce other models of resilience at multiple scales for the built environment.

Tuesday, June 6: Knowledge Building in a Kayak
The unique and linked network of knowledge we each create allows us to collaboratively build new opportunities for the future. Today we’ll explore salt marsh in the Essex Bay estuary by kayak, learning how life handles an environment in constant change. Local naturalists will help us recognize big picture patterns and take-aways in these often overlooked areas of the coast with strong and varied disturbance regimes, while instructors facilitate translation for use in biomimicry and design. Practice using LIfe’s Principles, a core Biomimicry tool. 

Wednesday, June 7: Designing Resilient Futures
Moving from ideas to action is where design meets reality. We will practice this often difficult transition as we explore challenges in the urban environment from the perspective of how life has solved the same challenges. In small teams, we will practice applying Biomimicry tools and design principles from our habitat explorations to create new insights and design concepts. Guest speaker Jim Newman from Linnean Solutions will highlight for us the challenges and tools they use to bring wisdom to the planning process. 

Thursday, June 8: Listening to Wisdom
Feedback is one of the most difficult parts to build into our own systems of change, yet it is the only thing that can inform us if we are successful at creating the changes we want to see. We will explore different scales of feedback from our colleagues, as well as what we learn by asking for feedback on multiple scales, from many different sources (including nature). Continue to work in groups to apply Biomimicry tools to an innovation challenge. We will wrap up and present our design work and complete our day by 4pm.

Course Instructors

Tim McGee, Founder LikoLab

Timothy R. McGee is chief biologist and founder at LikoLab, a biology & design firm in Seattle that learns from nature, and makes things. Likolab explores the interface between biology and design helping organizations confront both the human and scientific challenges of emerging technology. Tim’s work spans broad challenges from developing new ways to manufacture materials to enabling cities to increase wellness of people through interconnected data. Tim is co-founder of Biomimicry New England, a non-profit that works to establish nature and natural systems as an important resource for education and innovation in New England.
Tim holds a BA in Biology from Colby College, and a MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. When not in the studio Tim is often with his family hunting the woods for edible mushrooms, fiddling with camera equipment, or dipping his toes in the ocean.

Taryn Mead, management researcher

Taryn Mead is a management researcher, biologist, sustainability strategist and Certified Biomimicry Professional who has consulted with over 30 corporate, municipal and nonprofit clients using biomimicry as a tool for innovation and sustainability. As an early practitioner of biologically-inspired innovation, she has worked on domestic and international projects ranging from new product design to industrial ecosystems to new cities for 2 million inhabitants. She has also served as the lead facilitator for numerous workshops with corporate clients and blossoming biomimics and lectured for large audiences. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Management Studies, researching “Factors Influencing the Adoption of Biologically-Inspired Innovation in Multinational Corporations” at the University of Exeter in the UK. In addition to biomimicry, her current research interests include sustainability-oriented innovation, planetary boundaries in corporate sustainability agendas, and the role of corporations in sustainable development.

Course Speakers

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Peter Lawrence, President & Co-founder, Biomimicry New England

Peter Lawrence is President and co-founder of Biomimicry New England, and  Biomimicry Specialist. BNE works to advance the understanding and utilization of information about design a natural systems as an important resource for education and innovation. From 1985 to 2014, Peter was Chairman and Founder of the Corporate Design Foundation whose mission was to improve the quality of life and effectiveness of organizations through design. He has taught about design at business schools including: Babson, London Business School, Boston University School of Management, and UT Austin’s School of Business. Peter received a degree in economics from Lafayette College and a degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Anamarija Frankić, Green Harbors Project, UMass Boston & University of Zadar

Dr. Anamarija Frankić is a founding director of the Green Harbors Project®, and the Biomimicry LivingLabs®, a research faculty at UMass Boston and University of Zadar, Croatia. She is a Biomimicry, Fulbright and Sea Grant Knauss Fellow, in 2014 she founded the Biomimicry New England. Her educational background in biology, ecology, limnology and marine science, guided her interdisciplinary restoration research and management work in coastal, marine and fresh water ecosystems, nationally and internationally.  Her work is about integrating human services with ecological services and functions in our built environments to support resiliency and sustainability. She initiated and established the ‘livinglabs’ for applied science education and research where students, local communities and businesses are able to ‘learn and teach by doing’ biomimicry, applying nature’s wisdom for resilient today and tomorrow; her premise is that ‘the environment sets the limits for sustainable development’. 

Jim Newman, founder & Principal, Linnean Solutions

Jim Newman is the founder and Principal at Linnean Solutions, which provides resilience planning, environmental analytics, and benchmarking for corporate, institutional, and municipal clients. Linnean’s work includes ecosystem services assessment, life cycle assessment and embodied carbon studies, and site benchmarking for pre-development studies. This work is embodied in Living Building Challenge consulting, EcoDistrict planning and management, and Resilience analysis and planning. Previous to Linnean, Mr. Newman was with BuildingGreen, as the Director of Strategy, where he led the development and introduction of most of BuildingGreen’s online products including, BuildingGreen Suite, and the High Performance Buildings Database. Within the Boston community, Mr. Newman helped found the Massachusetts Chapter of the USGBC, first creating a membership organization for green building professionals, and then, moving that organization into Chapter status with the USGBC. Mr. Newman is a current member of the Board of the Chapter. He is also a founding Board member of the Resilient Design Institute, created by Alex Wilson of BuildingGreen, to pursue research and education on resilience in the built environment and a Board member of CLEAR, the owner of the Lenses regenerative development framework.

Josh Stack, Counselor at Law & Resilience

Educated in biology and law at Cornell, NYU and SUNY UB (and in the Peruvian rain for- est), Josh is a practicing attorney and counselor at law, resilience and biomimicry, assisting clients in deliberating for our children’s adaptive health and resilience. He focuses in translating resilience science and city and systems scale biomimicry to a diversity of design, construction, policy and planning and strategic community initiatives. He also advises clients as a land use/environmental attorney. Recent projects include: forming and leading Biomimicry Northern Forest, a regional biomimicry network; designing and managing a city-scale deconstruction pilot program (based on systems biomimicry and resilience science); drafting a land use/zoning framework based on the surrounding living system in which the neighborhood was once immersed; developing a decision making algorithm for design, construction, policy and planning, and strategic initiatives inspired by resilience and social-ecological uniqueness of place; constructing/managing sustainable construction and LEED for Homes projects; and representing a variety of clients in the land use process.

Who should attend
This course is designed for university students and professionals from all backgrounds (architects, engineers, planners, sustainability leaders, Resilience Officers, etc) who want to explore Biomimicry and Resilience. Biologists will find relevance in the workshop by learning how to translate biological information in an accessible way to non-biologists. Designers, architects, engineers, and other non-biologists will find inspiration in learning about nature’s time-tested strategies to help solve everyday challenges. No previous experience in biomimicry is required; the course is appropriate for all experience levels.
For questions about the course contact Peter Lawrence:
Early registration $2,200, if received by 30 December 2016
Registration $2,400, must be received by 30 April 2017
Registration if space is available after 30 April, $2,600.                                                         For single occupancy add $200, and use Other for payment of $2,600

Complete Registration


Price breakdown: Workshop fee: tuition, field trips and workshop materials $1625
Meals & Lodging, double occupancy $775 (Additional fee for single occupancy $200)

Participants should arrive at the Brynmere between 12 and 2:30pm, 
Sunday 4 June, the program will begin at 3pm.

Transportation: Logan Airport to North Station, Boston. Rockport Train to Gloucester  
Cab to the Brynmere, 12 Cambridge Ave, Annisquam


Biomimicry New England:

Our mission is to establish nature and natural systems as an important resource for education and innovation in New England. To achieve this BNE works in collaboration with organizations throughout New England including: The New England Aquarium, Bridgewater State University, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science, Rhode Island School of Design and others. BNE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boston. For more information about Biomimicry and Biomimicry New England please visit: