Action Initiatives

Biomimicry K-12 Education in California

November 2, 2017

Biomimicry K-12 Education in California

“How would nature do it?” That disarmingly simple question has been a North Star for Bioneers since our founding nearly 30 years ago. Then in 1997 when naturalist and author Janine Benyus first spoke at Bioneers, she crowned this nascent field of inquiry with a name in her landmark book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (For Indigenous people, it’s an ancient inquiry!).


It has been thrilling to participate in biomimicry’s emergence over these decades, punctuated by Janine’s frequent visits to Bioneers (get inspired all over again and again and again). Our vision moving forward together is to keep growing biomimicry and biomimetic thinking as the default position for design, industry, economy and culture. Now we’re honored and delighted to keep deepening our partnership with Janine and the Biomimicry Institute team in two ways.

We were honored to have the Bioneers Conference serve as the host venue for the launch and continued development of the renowned Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a $100,000 prize and incubator working to support nature-inspired innovators to bring their ideas to life.

We are also pleased to be co-hosting and convening a professional mini-conference on Biomimicry in education in the winter of  2019. Education is fundamental to changing how we see the world and how we can change the world. California is now the first state in the nation to require environmental literacy education from K-12. Because what happens in California doesn’t stay in California, the world will be watching this model.

In fact, through a connection made at the Bioneers Conference, Ten Strands – a leading California environmental education policy group – hooked up with the Biomimicry Institute and invited Janine Benyus for a keynote to the California State Board of Education Science Collaboration Committee, which includes State officials and County Superintendents. Janine hit it out of the park, opening the way for biomimicry’s deeper engagement at the California state education policy level.

The mini-conference will be designed for educators and education system professionals. It will build bridges with other formal and non-formal education networks to collectively create a vision for a near future where asking, “How would nature do it?” will become the starting gate.

Education has always been a cornerstone for Bioneers, and it’s insanely exciting to see how far this kind of work has come, and how much further we can now take it. Thanks for your support to keep realizing the vision and turning innovation into action.

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