February 2, 2011

EcoTraining Biomimicry course in Kruger National Park

BIOMIMICRY SOUTH AFRICA and ECOTRAINING are joining forces to bring biomimicrytraining to field guides in South Africa. 

Nature as MODEL.
Biomimicry is a new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems – e.g. a solar cell inspired by a leaf.

Nature as MEASURE.
Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the “rightness” of our innovations. After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature has learned: What works. What is appropriate. What lasts.

Nature as MENTOR
Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but on what we can learn from it.

~Janine Benyus, 1997

Who should attend thisBiomimicryworkshop?

• Existing professional field guides and field guides in training.
• Adventurous spirits looking for a learning holiday with a difference
• Tourists of all ages wanting an understanding of Africa's web of life and to gain a greater appreciation of the inspiring genius of nature

What you will learn ?

• An introduction to biomimicry
• History, philosophy and ethics of biomimicry
• Examples of biomimetic success stories
• The interface of design and biology
• How to apply biological knowledge to design challenges
• Biological and ecological principles relevant to design
• Sustainability challenges and potential bio-inspired solutions
• Practical application of biomimicry as a design & innovation tool
• How to facilitate biomimetic research & design

What you'll do:
• Solve a design challenge by asking "what would nature do here?"
• Practice applying the tools of biomimicry in a real world scenario
• Explore nature's genius through field-based activities
• Learn from(rather than just about) local plants, animals, and ecosystems
• Become acquainted with life's inherently sustainable design principles
• Learn how to translate nature’s genius into innovative sustainable design solutions.

What you'll take home:
• An understanding of the power of innovation for conservation
• A method for bringing nature's ideas to the design table
• Tools and expert contacts for further explorations
• A whole new way of viewing and valuing the genius that surrounds us


ios” means life, “Mimicry” means imitate. Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and then emulating life’s genius to solve human problems and create more sustainable designs. Biomimicry is a branch of science, a problem-solving method, a sustainability ethos, a movement, a stance toward nature, and a new way of viewing and valuing biodiversity. (for a more comprehensive interpretation visit: www.asknature.org/article/view/what_is_biomimicry)

The most famous example of biomimicry was the invention of Velcro brand fasteners. Invented in 1941 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who took the idea from the burrs that stuck tenaciously to his dog's hair. Under the microscope he noted the tiny hooks on the end of the burr's spines that caught anything with a loop - such as clothing, hair or animal fur. The 2-part Velcro fastener system uses strips or patches of a hooked material opposite strips or patches of a loose-looped weave of nylon that holds the hooks. Coolest application: Championship Velcro Jumping, first made popular in 1984 by David Letterman.

The high-rise Eastgate Centre building in Harare, Zimbabwe was designed to mimic the way that those tower-building termites in Africa construct their mounds to maintain a constant temperature. The insects do this by constantly opening and closing vents throughout the mound to manage convection currents of air - cooler air is drawn in from open lower sections while hot air escapes through chimneys. The innovative building uses similar design and air circulation planning while consuming less than 10% of the energy used in similar sized conventional buildings!
Contact EcoTraining for more information on enquiries@ecotraining.co.za
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