Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doses of Biologcal Inspiration

If you are ever looking for biological inspiration, Tamsin Woolley-Barker, PhD, a fellow Biomimicry 3.8 Professional Program participant and Biologist at the Design Table, publishes two to three articles each week on The Biomimicry Manual articles explore various organisms' unique strategies and how those might apply to human design. If you are looking for inspiration, check it out!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blogging on Biomimicry and Resilience!

Amy's been blogging lately - check out her latest post on tornadoes, #biomimicry, and infrastructure resilience for the Midwest. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Call for Innovation Fellows at the Museum of Science + Industry Chicago!

What a great opportunity! Will you apply to become a MSI Innovation Fellow? 

"MSI is one of only three Incubators for Innovation nationwide in this National Science Foundation-funded project that aims to change how people think about science education. Over the course of a year starting in January 2014, a diverse group of scientists, artists, engineers, educators, business professionals, high school and college students, and community leaders will meet at the intersection of art, science, creativity."

Learn more...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chicago Bioneers Starts Tomorrow!!!

Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago starts tomorrow! 

We're so excited to be a part of this amazing event. Check out biomimicry events on Friday's SHELTER and COMMUNITY RESILIENCY sessions as well as Sunday's workshop on Community Resiliency Inspired by Nature! And our good friends at The Resiliency Institute are presenting a workshop on permaculture and food forests on Sunday as well! 

Be sure to join in and Celebrate Community Resiliency!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chicago Bioneers Program Guide is Out!

Everything you ever wanted to know about Chicago Bioneers - coming next week! Be sure to check out the 'SHELTER' session on Friday morning (Nov 1) and the "Community Resilience" workshop on Sunday (Nov 3)!

Please view the link:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Attend Chicago Bioneers for FREE on Friday, November 1st - VOLUNTEER!

Would you like to attend Chicago Bioneers for FREE on Friday, November 1st? 

We are looking for three volunteers who would take notes at the SHELTER session featuring Biomimicry Chicago collaborator Colin Rohlfing and moderated by Amy Coffman Phillips. We are looking for volunteers who will take notes for the table hosts at this world cafĂ© style event. In exchange for volunteering at the morning session, you will have free access to the event for the rest of the day, including a keynote by David Orr in the morning. 

For more information on Friday’s session, visit the website and reply or contact Amy if you are interested. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Event: Envisioning a World Transformed

Amy is excited to present the inspiration of #biomimicry as it relates to social transformation at the upcoming "Envisioning a World Transformed" symposium. Hope to see you there!

Join us for our second annual event, Envisioning a World Transformed, featuring Chicago change-makers making a positive difference in their local communities. This year we are celebrating Leadership Transformed by taking a closer look at Chicago leaders transforming their industries.

When: Sunday, October 20 | 11 am-5 pm

Location: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

Enjoy a day filled with interactive sharing, personal action planning, and an organic lunch. Join the transformative movement by connecting with like-minded networks and gather tools and resources to help create change within the local and global community.

Get inspired by a few of Greenheart Transforms’ featured presenters:

- Dr. Cassandra Vieten, President of Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)
- Victor Saad, Founder of Leap Year Project and Experiment Institute
- Amanda Britt, Founder of Panzanzee
- Amy Coffman Phillips, Founder and Project Coordinator of B-Collaborative
- Dr. Darren Weissman , Holistic Physician, Developer of The LifeLine Technique®
- Mark Anthony Lord, Founder of the Bodhi Center

For more information, email or call 312-264-1645.

Learn more and register for Envisioning a World Transforms at

How do you envision a world transformed? Comment below or share on Twitter #EWT2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Biomimicry Perspective: Resilient Communities on the Edge

How can we learn from ecosystems in nature to design more resilient communities? Biomimicry Chicago co-founder, Amy Coffman Phillips, wrote an article on this topic for The Resiliency Institute, a local suburban permaculture advocacy group. Read the article and let us know what you think!

Ecotones in Nature (creative commons image credit:
"Studies have shown that America has become much more polarized in the last twenty-five years in terms of race, socioeconomic status, and particularly political world views. These divisions have been exacerbated by structural forces, such as fragmented news media, increasing disparity of socio-economic conditions, and indoctrinated societal world-views, to name a few.
Each of these barriers are complex and interrelated, but if you accept we have inadvertently created these structural barriers that serve to disconnect our communities, we should be able to identify and break down these barriers as well. Doing so would foster interconnected, resilient communities that are able to resolve disputes and weather disturbance more effectively than is possible today.
As a biomimic and architect, I look to nature for inspiration to design buildings, communities, and cities that function more like a healthy ecosystem – rich with interconnections, diversity, and mutualisms. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about ecotones. Until last year, I wouldn’t have even known what that term meant, but now I see them and think about the parallels between ecosystem communities and our human communities every day. So what is an ecotone and what could we learn from ecosystems in nature to inspire more diverse, interconnected, and resilient communities?"
 Click here to continue reading.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

FRED2013 this Saturday!

Gearing up for the FRED 2013 conference this Saturday! In gorgeous Riverside, Illinois, we'll be showcasing biomimicry as it applies to communities and landscapes while exploring how "ecotones" influence social interactions in nature. Join us for an interactive workshop and outdoor exploration where we explore answers to the question: "What can ecotones teach us about fostering social interactions?" Register today!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Have you met FRED?

Have you met FRED? If you have an interest in biomimicry and landscape design - check it out next Saturday, September 21st, in Riverside, IL. 

"Join us on Saturday, September 21, 2013 for the FRED, an exciting day of classes, tours and workshops brimming with new ideas for your garden or community. The FRED (Frederick Law Olmsted in Riverside Education and Design) is a unique opportunity to enjoy landscape and garden design in the historic landmark community of Riverside, Illinois."

Biomimicry: (Re)Learning from Nature’s Genius
Amy Coffman Phillips, workshop facilitator

"How can nature inspire us in the design process? Biomimicry is the practice of drawing inspiration from nature to solve the sustainable design challenges we face. By studying nature, we can discover practical and inspired solutions to challenges from product design to community planning. Join Amy as she illustrates how biomimics around the world are learning from nature’s solutions and then explore how to apply them to our communities in an interactive BioBrainstorm session."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Biomimicry at Greening the Heartland!

Are you curious about how biomimicry can inspire solutions to net-zero buildings? Then register now for this new workshop at next week's Greening the Heartland Conference!

Discovering Innovative Solutions for Designing Net-Zero-Energy Buildings Today: An Immersive Prairie Lab Experience
September 9, 2013   1:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, Chicago
Additional fee applies.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Take a Survey, Win a Prize!

The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute is hosting a short survey to get reactions and feedback to a variety of early stage concepts for the future of their education and training programs. By taking the survey, you enter for a chance to win either a free seat in the Intro to Biomimicry Foundational course or free access to the online Biomimicry Resource Handbook (prizes can also be gifted). This is a great opportunity to help steer the direction of this important work.

This is the link to the survey:

The deadline to complete is Sept 15 at midnight. Winners will be notified Sept 16.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Resilient Communities Inspired by Nature!

Biomimicry Chicago co-founder Amy Coffman Phillips wrote an article on resilient communities inspired by nature for the Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago blog - check it and let us know what you think! Let's start a conversation about local resiliency for our communities by looking to Nature's communities as inspiration. 
"The resiliency challenges we face must be planned for and addressed now – prior to them becoming a crisis – in order for our efforts to be effective. Fortunately, we have models we can look to when tackling such seemingly large obstacles."
Click here to read more and join the conversation!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Biomimicry at the Greening the Heartland Conference!

In a few weeks, check out the Greening the Heartland conference where fellow Biomimicry Chicago collaborators will be facilitating a 4-hour workshop on Net-Zero Energy using biomimicry as an innovation methodology. 

"Discovering Innovative Solutions for Designing Net-Zero Energy Buildings Today: An Immersive Prairie Lab Experience"

Monday, September 9th 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM
Session Code: GM11 (additional fee applies)

Session Description:
The founding partners of Prairie Lab – an innovative professional education provider - present a facilitated brainstorming and problem-solving workshop in an innovative, immersive learning experience. Participants will be presented with challenges within the sustainable design sphere, and facilitators will guide participants through a hands-on learning process to identify and select possible solutions to those challenges. Through facilitated discussion and collaboration, participants then will work through the solutions to specifically apply them in context. Attendees will learn skills and processes that form a critical foundation for successful integrative design.

Please register here.

Presenters: Michelle Halle Stern, Amy Coffman Philips, and Joseph Clair, Prairie Lab, LLC

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Backyard Biomimicry Tonight!

How does nature cool itself?

Biomimicry is the art and science of learning from nature to inspire the design of human forms, processes, and systems. In this seminar, which is offered seasonally and is an extension of Biomimicry Chicago’s “Prairie Project”, we will learn how to draw inspiration from nature to keep cool in the summer by going outside, exploring the prairie, making observations, and brainstorming new innovations!

This seminar is open to the general public. Biomimicry Chicago's Amy Coffman Phillips and Joseph Clair, both of Prairie Lab, will facilitate this seminar. Register at the link below - the $10 fee goes to support the amazing work of the Chicago Center for Green Technology.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Living Building Challenge Competition Event Tonight!

We're excited to view the entries in the first Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago design competition at tonight's event! Hoping the winners were naturally inspired. Join us!

Event information:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Biomimicry in your Backyard: Summer in Chicago Edition!

How does nature cool itself? 
In this seminar, which is offered seasonally and is an extension of Biomimicry Chicago’s “Prairie Project”, we will learn how to draw inspiration from nature to keep cool in the summer by going outside, exploring the prairie, making observations, and brainstorming new innovations!

This seminar is open to the general public. Biomimicry Chicago's Amy Coffman Phillips and Joseph Clair, both of Prairie Lab, will facilitate this seminar. Register at the link below - the $10 fee goes to support the amazing work of the Chicago Center for Green Technology.
Register now!

And let us know to expect you by RSVP'ing to our Facebook site!

Chicago Bioneers' "Food Patriots" Screening Event - July 17th

Another great event from Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago! Hope to see you there!

"On Wednesday, July 17, join us at Uncommonground on Devon for a viewing of Food Patriots, followed by a discussion with director and Columbia College professor, Jeff Spitz. Enjoy all this while dining on a special 3-course meal featuring ingredients picked from Uncommonground's rooftop garden. Proceeds from the evening will support both our upcoming November event and Spitz's documentary work, as he prepares the official release of Food Patriots. Don't wait ... Buy your tickets now!"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gearing up for BioCheers!

A new sign to help you find us at tonight's BioCheers! We're meeting at the southeast corner of the lawn to see Pink Martini perform while getting to know other biomimics and bioneers. See our event page on facebook to learn more! 

Biomimicry Chicago's Prairie Project Featured on the Metropolis Blog

Biomimicry Chicago's Prairie Project is featured on the Metropolis blog! Read all about it here.

Have you ever sat in your home or office and wondered what your part of the world looked like before your community was there? What ecosystems and organisms sat where you do now and how did they adapt and thrive through the same challenges that we face today?
Our built environment faces many challenges in adapting to a changing climate, from storm water management and drought tolerance to energy use optimization and eliminating waste. By recognizing that our communities and cities have been built on, and in most cases destroyed, land that was previously occupied we can we learn from our native ecosystems to design more resilient, well-adapted communities.
Read more at the Metropolis blog. 
Let us know what you think and contact us to get involved!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Biomimicry in Metropolis Magazine

Biomimicry Chicago Co-Founder Lindsay James is featured in the print edition of Metropolis Magazine!
"Lindsay James has an intriguing new job. She is Interface’s vice president of restorative enterprise. It’s a highfalutin title for what will initially be a two-person team dedicated to transforming the carpet tile manufacturer into—in the words of the company—'an enterprise that restores the environment as well as preserves and protects it.'”
Check out the article "Giving Back: In the post–Ray Anderson era, Interface sets itself even higher goals" and send a tweet to @CLindsayJames to let her know what you think!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Join Biomimicry Chicago and Chicago Bioneers for a new summer seasonal event! We’re bringing together our communities to celebrate the seasons while cross-pollinating interesting ideas. RSVP at our Facebook event page so we'll know to look for you!

Biomimicry Global Conference - June 21-23

We are getting psyched to travel to Boston for the Biomimicry Conference! Biomimicry Chicago's Amy Coffman Phillips and Lindsay James will be presenting a couple of workshops and the one and only Janine Benyus will keynote! Join us!

Janine Benyus to Keynote Biomimicry Summit/Conference on Biomimicry Network

Leaders in biomimicry innovation and education from around the world will gather at the University of Massachusetts Boston from June 21-23 to share the latest research, trends, and best practices in nature-inspired innovation at the 1st Global Biomimicry Conference and 7th Annual Education Summit, sponsored by the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute. Registration deadline is June 10, 2013.

Genius of the Biome

Have you had a chance to look at HOK and Biomimicry3.8's new Genius of the Biome report? If not, here is your chance - such an amazing reference for looking at the temperate deciduous forest from the eyes of a biomimicry-inspired designer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Biomimicry Seminar Tomorrow!

Have you reserved your spot for our seasonal biomimicry seminar at the Chicago Center for Green Technology yet? Our topic for spring is dormancy. Come learn from the prairie how life has evolved to respond to freezing temperatures by slowing down and resting when available energy is low. And brainstorm opportunities to apply what you learn to your life, work, and communities!

Tomorrow! Tuesday, April 16th, at the Chicago Center for Green Technology; 6-8pm

Biomimicry Chicago's Amy Coffman Phillips and Josh Sin will facilitate an experience that (re)connects participants with the genius that surrounds us in order to learn a better way to design our world. This seminar is open to the public and is an extension of our AskPlace initiative, The Prairie Project. Register at the link below - the $10 fee goes to support the amazing work of the Chicago Center for Green Technology.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Discussion on the Art of Biomimicry

Biomimicry Chicago co-founder Amy Coffman Phillips is a panelist for a discussion on the art installation "Prairie" by Shawn Decker, an immersive sound and motion installation at the Chicago Cultural Center. Join us to experience the exhibit and learn more!

Positive Feedback: Assuming the (Un)Natural in Contemporary Installation Art
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, Garland 1
March 21, 2013, 12:00 - 2:00 pm
78 East Washington, Chicago

Amy Coffman-Phillips, Biomimic and founder of B-Collaborative.
Hannah Higgins, Professor of Art History at UIC and author of The Grid Book.
Lou Mallozzi, Sound artist, curator, and faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Hamza Walker: Director of Education and Associate Curator at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Stories from the Prairie" Wednesday night!

We're getting excited to present our "Stories from the Prairie" Wednesday night to the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago Design Competition Meeting! We'll tell a few stories and then give entrants a chance to play with their ideas in a Design Jam. We can't wait - will we see you there!?! RSVP to the LBCC Facebook page

Friday, February 22, 2013

Biomimicry Foundational Course - only $38 this Monday Only!

What an amazing offer to learn more about biomimicry - on Monday, take the 3 hour online course for only $38! 

If we compress the age of Earth (4.5 billion years) into one year, Monday, February 25 would be life's birthday! To celebrate 3.8 billion years, Biomimicry 3.8 is offering their "Introduction to Biomimicry" Foundational Course for $38, a 60% discount off of its original cost.

Visit their website February 25 between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. to learn more about the course and to make your purchase. Happy bEARTHday to single-celled organisms, and to all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

(Re)Connecting with Nature: Exploring Biomimicry in Your Own Backyard!

Ready to learn more about local biomimicry? Register now for BioChi Co-Founder Amy Coffman Phillips' seminar at the Chicago Center for Green Technology April 16th! 

(Re)Connecting with Nature: Exploring Biomimicry in Your Own Backyard!
Biomimicry is the art and science of learning from nature to inspire the design of human forms, processes, and systems. This practice starts by (re)connecting with natural organisms in order to understand what makes them well-adapted to their place, and then translating this information into the language of design and business. In this seminar, we will learn how to explore possibilities by getting outside, making observations, and brainstorming new innovations!
Register now!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stories from the Prairie tonight!

Come be a part of our AskPlace working group to learn stories from the prairie and apply them to our buildings and cities! HOK Chicago 4:30 - 6:30 tonight. 60 East Van Buren. RSVP at our facebook page if we don't have your name: 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Learning from the Prairie

Want to know more about how learning from the prairie can influence the design of our buildings, cities, and infrastructure? Join us for a fun, interactive presentation and design jam on our Prairie Project (a biomimicry network AskPlace initiative). Wednesday, February 27th, 6pm - 8pm.  RSVP to the LBC Collaborative: Chicago's Facebook page.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's Meet! Wednesday, February 6th

Anyone interested in participating in our AskPlace Initiative (Prairie Project Genius of Place in partnership with the Living Building Challenge Collaborative Chicago) is welcome to join a jam session at HOK Chicago next Wednesday, February 6th, at 4:30pm. We'll go over some of our preliminary research, tell some good stories, and brainstorm possibilities for this exciting project. If you are new to our group, RSVP to  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BProfessional Program now accepting applications!

Biomimicry Chicago co-founders, Amy and Lindsay, just graduated from the most amazing program we have ever had the privilege to be a part of, the Biomimicry Professional Certificate Program. They are currently accepting applications for the next cohort - will you count yourself as one of the next change agents? Apply now! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

AskPlace Working Group

Anyone in the Chicago area interested in participating in our AskPlace Working Group, we are holding a webex information call-in next Tuesday, January 15th at 12:30pm. Email Amy for call-in information. We're so excited to kick this initiative off and learn from the genius of the tallgrass prairie!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Teaching Biomimicry to Young Kids

by Amy Coffman Phillips

I have young kids preschool and kindergarten age, and one of my favorite things to do is to show them what I do by going outside.  On a recent day in late fall, we went into our backyard and went on a critter search.  Squirrels are abundant in my backyard because of the leftover food in the garden as well as the large maple tree which dominates our small lot.  So we set about investigating and learning about the squirrels.

Squirrels and their Amazing Tales!
Children learn by doing, so at first we acted like squirrels.  We brought our hands up into claws and pretended to eat an acorn.  We hopped around on two feet simultaneously.  We wiggled our rear ends.  We talked about what they ate – acorns, ideally.  In our yard, birdseed, strawberries, pumpkins, the bulbs I had planted for spring (grrr) and really anything left in the garden that we didn’t harvest.  Then we talked about what eats them – dogs and coyotes came to mind, although our dog is much too old to do more than bark at them.  Then we pretended to be a squirrel and a coyote, a glorified game of tag, which they loved!  After all that exertion and thinking, we went back inside to do a little research and drawing.  I researched, my oldest drew a squirrel from a picture, and my youngest drank hot cocoa (Chicago is cold in November!).

We learned that squirrels (specifically, tree squirrels such as the eastern gray squirrel, introduced from the UK) climb trees and can hang from almost any vertical surface using sharp claws and swiveling ankle joints.  Their ankle joints can swivel so that feet are backwards to hold them on a tree – all they need is for the bark to be rough enough to hook its claws. 

We thought about the squirrel tails and what they are used for.  We assumed for balance and insulation – and we were right!  Squirrels use their tales for balance when climbing and jumping from tree to tree.  We also thought about the coats we were wearing outside and how those furry tails would be a nice blanket.  My training in architecture came out and I drew for my oldest how the squirrel fur traps air between the strands, forming a blanket of air that helps keep the squirrel warm.  We found out that squirrels also use it as a sunshade in the summer – just like the shades we see on houses and the parasols that people sometimes use.  We also found out that squirrels use their tails for communication.  When alarmed, they flick their tales (we see this when our dog is outside), when tails are fluffy, they feel aggressive; and when tails are waving, they are approaching a mate in the spring. 

Each of this we see from our kitchen door and we are thankful to our squirrel friends for helping us understand how they stay warm, balance, and talk to each other!

Read more biomimicry inspired thoughts at The B-Collaborative's Blog!