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 (, 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:

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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:

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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MKW Event – How can Melbourne Learn from Nature?

As part of Melbourne Knowledge Week and Melbourne Architecture Annual, BiomimicrySwarm Australia is partnering with the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects and DesignInc to host a multi-disciplinary panel discussion on what Melbourne can learn from nature to create a sustainably regenerative and generous city.

This event also goes under the banner of Raising the Green Bar, an ongoing series of activities to raise awareness of sustainability, organised by the Sustainable Architects Forum and sponsored by Bank MECU.

Jane Toner, architect, Australia’s first Biomimicry Specialist and founder of BiomimicrySwarm Australia will chair the multi-faceted panel, that will consist of:

  • Suzette Jackson, Director of Innate Ecology
  • Leigh Baker, Director of Balance 3
  • Stephen Webb, Design Director at DesignInc
  • Jeff Robinson, Global Sustainability Leader at Aurecon
  • Ian Shears, Manager of Urban Landscapes at the City of Melbourne
  • Ed Cotter, Head of BioRegional Australia

There will be refreshments and networking after the panel discussion for the conversation to continue.

Date: Wednesday 29th October, 2014

Time: 6 – 8pm

Place: Deakin Edge, Federation Square

To book:

DSC00366MKW2014 - Raising the Green Bar

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Melbourne Knowledge Week Events


Melbourne Knowledge Week

Melbourne Knowledge Week (MKW) showcases the creativity and diversity of Melbourne’s knowledge sectors and the important contribution they make to our economy, culture and vitality. It also aims to support the many people and organisations that lie at the heart of this city’s dynamic knowledge economy.

In 2014, it runs from Monday 27th October to Sunday 2nd November. It’s about making knowledge accessible and fun and encouraging public debate about what it means to be a knowledge city.

The program is available here


Melbourne Architecture Annual (MA|A) is a week-long festival that engages with the public to create an open discussion about architecture, city building and sustainable communities. MA|A features a diverse program of events based around Federation Square and inner Melbourne that explores your city, your home and your architecture.

Organised by the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter, MA|A aims to raise awareness of the effects the built environment has on our lives and society, and encourage public discussion about architecture. This year, MA|A coincides with MKW and BiomimicrySwarm Australia has several events that will be included in the program of both these initiatives.

Our 3 events are themed around the Essential Elements of Biomimicry, which are:

Grey-headed flying fox, Yarra Bend, Melbourne

Don’t hang around – Book your tickets today! Grey-headed Flying Fox, Yarra Bend, Melbourne (photo: Jane Toner)



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