Kāpiti Coast Biomimicry Workshop

17th  – 19th February 2017 Biomimicry Aotearoa and Biomimicry Australia are thrilled to present a 2½ day introduction to Biomimicry at Ōtaki on the southwest of New Zealand’s North Island. We…

Source: Kāpiti Coast Biomimicry Workshop

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Kāpiti Coast Biomimicry Workshop


Biomimicry Aotearoa and Biomimicry Australia are thrilled to present a 2½ day introduction to Biomimicry at Ōtaki on the southwest of New Zealand’s North Island.

We will explore the forest, the shores of the mighty Ōtaki River, the wetland and lush north island coastal forest bordering Papaitonga dune lake, and the intertidal zone of Kuku Beach seeking inspiration in Nature’s forms, processes and systems.

Come with us, slow down, and reconnect with Nature. Discover and be inspired by the unique organisms of New Zealand and, through collaborative design exercises, learn to translate their strategies for thriving into design solutions that are sustainable and resilient.

Image above: Lake Papaitonga (By Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)


New Zealand is home to many unique organisms that have evolved in isolation for 85 million years to meet the specific conditions of their environment, something that we as a species can aspire to.

We’ll be taking up residence in the restful Waihōanga Centre for Well-being in walking distance of the Otaki River and close to the Papaitonga Scenic Reserve, containing the only intact sequence from wetland to mature dry terrace forest in Wellington and Horowhenua.

Image: Papaitonga wetland. Photo: Paul Knight https://envirohistorynz.com/2009/12/06/papaitonga-hidden-jewel-of-horowhenua/

What to Expect

Biomimicry is the philosophy, science and art of applying nature’s genius to solve human design problems. It is an innovative discipline that brings together multiple disciplines to address product, process, and system design challenges by learning from, and working with, nature. Biomimicry is rooted in a deep respect for nature’s wisdom, a profound connection with the natural systems, of which we are part, and the conscious emulation of life’s genius.

Participants will be guided to systematically step through the Biomimicry Thinking process and tools, learning when they are best applied to design projects to create optimal benefit. The workshop will provide hands on practice in translating biological strategies drawn from “place” to generate innovative solutions.

Through this immersion workshop you will:

  • Deepen your connection with Nature
  • Discover the local genius of this region through walks and outdoor activities
  • Translate Nature’s strategies into design principles and develop solutions that create conditions conducive to life
  • Collaborate with others to apply biomimicry design tools to real human design challenges


Waihōanga Centre for Well-being is located one hour North of Wellington below Tararua Forest Park on the edge of the Otaki River Gorge. Waihōanga is surrounded by pine forest teeming with many varieties of birds and within walking distance of a waterfall and the fresh flowing waters of the Otaki River.

Who should join?

  • Anyone interested in exploring a magnificent wilderness and the genius of nature (guided by an experienced biomimic, naturalist and local experts)
  • Individuals, designers, engineers, biologists, ecologists, architects, entrepreneurs, permaculture practitioners,economists, organisations or businesses wanting to explore the genius of nature in depth to inspire innovation and creativity.
  • Existing biomimicry practitioners, specialists, professionals, researchers educators or students who want to expand their practice of biomimicry.


JANE TONER, Founder Biomimicry Australia 

Certified Biomimicry Professional & Biomimicry Specialist, Architect AIA, Green Star AP, Living Building Challenge Ambassador & Facilitator (volunteer), One Planet Living Integrator

jane-toner_head-copyJane is an architect and Australia’s first Certified Biomimicry Professional. She is the founder of Biomimicry Australia and one of the co-founders of the Melbourne Living Future Collaborative. Jane is passionate about the potential of Biomimicry to contribute to designs that are environmentally regenerative, socially just and joyous. She is a strong advocate for the integration of biomimicry at the earliest stage of a project and sees playfulness and intra-disciplinary collaboration as the keys to successful sustainable design outcomes.

TINK STEPHENSON, Founder of Biomimicry Aotearoa

tink2-1Tink is the founder of Biomimicry Aotearoa, founder of ElementAll (a sustainable clothing design business) and experienced facilitator. She participated in a five day immersive biomimicry workshop with Biomimicry 3.8 in 2009 and has continued to integrate biomimicry into her design work, her clothing business and in the permaculture farm she and her husband Adam are developing on the Kāpiti Coast.

BRENT PAGE, Ecologist

Brent is an ecologist with specialised training in plant – insect interactions.  He has spent 20 years in research science as an entomologist studying the dynamics of disinfestation techniques on a range of horticultural crops.  Currently he is the director of a urban pest control company “Nature’s way” with a core philosophy of engaging ecologically sustainable and environmentally benign control techniques in association with urban pest issues.


  • Dates: Friday 17th – Sunday 19thh February, 2017
  • Location: Waihōanga Centre for Well-being 32 Waihoanga Rd, Otaki, Wellington 5582, New Zealand
  • Cost: Early bird price $650 for registrations by 15 December, standard price $700.
  • Bookings: To register email Tink and Jane at biomimicryaotearoa@gmail.com


  • Course materials
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • Delicious wholesome locally-sourced fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Special dietary needs can be catered to. Menu plans at Waihōanga are created with health & well-being in mind, and recipes are shared with the group participants to replicate when they go home.

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Discover Nature’s Genius in Australia

Biomimicry Australia (BiomimicrySwarm Australia) is co-sponsoring and organising a Biomimicry Immersion workshop with Biomimicry 3.8 to be held September 5 – 10th, 2016 at Cape Tribulation in Queensland.

This will be the first event of this kind in Australia and we’re looking forward to learning from the unique organisms that call the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef home about how to translate tried and tested strategies for successfully living in this part of the world to innovatively solve human design challenges.

We’ll be staying at the Cape Tribulation Beach House,  nestled between the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Both of these ecosystems are home to 1000’s of species that have  much to teach us.

“This workshop is open to professional- and university-level participants from all backgrounds and levels of experience with biomimicry. The agenda is designed to give non-biologists a front door into the world of biology and how to apply its lessons. Biologists will also find value in the workshop in learning how to make biological information accessible, relevant, and valuable to a wide range of audiences.”

The workshop will be facilitated by Dr Dayna Baumeister, a world-renowned biomimicry lecturer,  co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8 , the Director of the Biomimicry Professional Certificate Program and co-director of The Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University. She will be assisted by Certified Biomimicry Professional, Restoration Ecologist and Biologist, Karen Allen, who is also a Biomimicry Consultant and Biologist-at-the-Design-Table. Jane Toner, Australia’s certified Biomimicry Specialist and Biomimicry Professional, will be a special guest and host.

The first 6 Australians to register for the workshop get a special discount of $900 off the cost of the workshop – so register for your immersive learning journey today!


Inspiration from Australia (Image: Biomimicry 3.8)

Featured image: By Paul Holloway from Birmingham, United Kingdom (Cape TribulationUploaded by Fæ) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons



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Biomimicry Beauty Walk of Melbourne

Living Building Challenge  – Beauty Petal

The Living Building Challenge™ is a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to rapidly diminish the gap between current limits and the end-game positive solutions we seek. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) poses the question, “What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?”

LBC’s seven performance standards, or Petals, align with the metaphor of our buildings being designed to emulate flowers – harvesting energy and water in place, using locally available materials, connecting to and enhancing the ecosystem in which they exist, and being beautiful.

Recognising the importance of emotional connection to place and culture as fundamental components of sustainability, LBC is the first green building system to incorporate “beauty” into its structure.

  • So – What is beauty?
  • Is beauty just biophilia (our innate need for connection with nature)?
  • What does biomimicry have to offer in inspiring and creating beautiful built environments that last the test of time?
  • What can we learn from nature about integrating beauty into the design of our buildings and cities?

Biomimicry & Beauty

Janine Benyus talks about biomimicry as “waking sleeping beauty” in reference to the fact that the survival of the human species once depended on our intimate connection with nature. Our ability to notice and mimic the behaviours of successful organisms, and to understand the environmental cues around us was part of what contributed to our success as a species. She sees the latest appearance of biomimicry not as an invention, but as a remembering.

“Beauty is a large part of why biomimicry resonates. Our search for mentors brings us back into contact with the living world, a place we were tuned to appreciate. Having spent 99.9% of our planetary tenure woven deep into the wild, we humans naturally admire the weaverbird’s nest, the conch’s shell, the scales of a shimmering trout. In fact, there are few things more beautiful to the human soul than good design.” (A Biomimicry Primer)

The time for “Do less harm” has passed. It’s time for the beginning of a Living Future where we recognize our relationship with the rest of life on the planet. Nature is constantly evolving and creating networks to survive in a way that enriches the entire ecological community.

Biomimicry Beauty Walk

Step out into Melbourne’s winter with Jane Toner, Australia’s first Biomimicry Specialist, Dr Dominique Hes, co-author of “Designing for Hope” and other like-minded individuals seeking to transform the way our built environment connects to nature and the human spirit.  Explore what nature can teach us about beauty – after all, she invented it.

This session is a walking exploration through nature in the heart of urban Melbourne. Tools will be provided to help identify relevant problems, interpret how nature is addressing them, and translate them into sustainable design solutions.

We’ll explore how nature can inspire a genuine sense of place and community as the bellwether of truly restorative design. Learn how to interpret nature’s lessons and apply them to design challenges in your own community.

When: 1 – 5pm, Saturday 13th June, 2015.

Where: Meet at Federation Bells at Birrarung Marr (or just adjacent as Circus Oz has dropped their tent just there) – we’ll head off into the wilds of Melbourne around 1:15pm

What to bring: good walking shoes, 4-season-in-1-day apparel, notebook, pen/pencil

Cost: $42.50

How to book: https://www.stickytickets.com.au/25707

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Nature’s Blueprint for Residential Design

BiomimicrySwarm has just contributed to an article in the Alternative Technology Association’s magazine, Sanctuary.

Tim Angus, Architect, is passionate about creating designs that respond to their climate and site and fascinated about how nature provides a rich source of inspiration to develop innovative forms and systems that go beyond architectural image making. He discusses how biomimicry has informed some of his recent projects.

Jane Toner, Architect and Biomimicry Specialist, discusses how specific functional design challenges can be solved by asking the right questions of nature, and how Life’s Principles can create more holistic homes.

Thanks for the opportunity ATA!

Check it out: www.shop.ata.org.au/shop/sanctuary-issue-30

Paper wasps create their homes by 3D printing biodegradable waterproof material from chewed up wood and saliva.

Paper wasps create their homes by 3D printing biodegradable waterproof material from chewed up wood and saliva.

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Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

By 2050, the global population is expected to be 9.6 billion people.  How will we feed ourselves in a way that does not impact on earth’s ecosystems? How will  we produce food that contributes not only to the health and well-being of humans but also to the  ongoing vitality of life’s interconnected systems?

There’s only a few weeks to go for the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) – submissions are due on May 11th, 2016. The BGDC is an international design competition sponsored by the Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. It seeks innovative design solutions, inspired by nature’s genius, to contribute to the resilience of the global food system.

The challenge encourages systems thinking and multi-disciplinary teams to develop:

  • A technology, product, service, or process that addresses a sustainability challenge related to improving the food system.
  • A clear connection between a biological mechanism, process, pattern, or system, and the technological solution submitted; that is, the solution must emulate a natural model(s).
  • An entirely new solution representing a given team’s unique work and intellectual property.

The competition features two rounds, a design concept round and a prototype round, and includes both Open and Student categories. Select teams from the Open category may go on to compete in the prototype round following the design concept round.

See Biomimicry Global Design Challenge website for more details and resources.

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Urban Agriculture – Community Farm in Seattle (Photo: Jane Toner)


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MKW Event – How can Melbourne Learn from Nature?

MKW Event – How can Melbourne Learn from Nature?.

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