Engage Students in STEM Learning with Biomimicry

Workshop to Be Held in Findhorn, Scotland

Prince Charles says of biomimicry:
“…the emerging discipline of biomimicry puts what zoologists and biologists know about natural systems together with the problems engineers and architects are trying to solve, in order to produce technology that mimics how Nature operates.”

Learn about biomimicry, and how to teach it, while exploring five habitats in coastal northeast Scotland. Join Biomimicry 3.8 Institute for a weeklong Biomimicry Educator Training Workshop, August 25–31, 2012, hosted at Findhorn College, the educational arm of the famous Findhorn Ecovillage.

Biomimicry is a design discipline, 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. At its most practical, biomimicry is a way of seeking sustainable solutions by borrowing life’s blueprints, chemical recipes, and ecosystem strategies.  At its most transformative, it brings us into right relation with the rest of the natural world, as students learning to be a welcome species on this planet.

Biomimicry’s sensible, eco-friendly approach to design has tremendous appeal for both educators and students. Designed to meet the interests and needs of k-12, university, and informal educators, the Biomimicry Educator Training Workshop offers instruction in the fundamentals of biomimicry, an introduction to Life’s Principles, and communication strategies for sharing biomimicry with students of any age. Participants will learn from local plants, animals, and ecosystems while exploring tidal bays, rivers, forests, and heather dunelands on the fringe of the Scottish highlands. They will return home with a plan for incorporating biomimicry education into their own curricula and programs as well as a toolkit of supporting resources. Register today for this innovative and inspiring program at biomimicry.net/findhorn

The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute focuses on supporting educators and encouraging them, and their students, to work collaboratively and consciously to bring innovative and sustainable designs to fruition using biomimicry principles.

Ali Solomon, Biomimicry 3.8 Institute

Diversity in the Outdoors

From Children and Nature

The good news about diversity in the outdoors is that there already a number of outstanding groups and organizations doing a lot of great work to get everyone outside whether they be African American, Hispanic, Asian, underserved, military youth, veterans, etc. All of us though, need to do a better job telling the story and more people need to get involved… outside of course.

Many of these organizations, including the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) program that I mentioned in the last blog have an opportunity for you to get involved as a volunteer, a donor, a leader, or just to help spread the word. Some of these organizations are listed below:

    • Through the Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors, you have your choice of getting involved in Outings, Inner City Outings, Building Bridges to the Outdoors, the Military Family and Veterans Initiative, or National Outings. One of many great story about the impact of outings in general is the story of one of the Sierra Club’s many great volunteers, Liz Wheelan.
    • Outdoor Outreach, discussed in our first blog is doing great work in San Diego and will be piloting a program in 2012 focused on developing outdoor leadership skills amongst a targeted audience of military youth.
    • Big City Mountaineers, who train mentors on outdoor skills and partner them with youth on week long outings into the mountains. You can also get involved through their Summit for Someone program and are launching a pilot project this year bringing the military community in to the fold through training veterans to lead youth, as well as a 9/11/12 Summit for Someone focused on youth who may have lost a parent at war.
    • One of the coolest websites on the internet, and from what I’ve heard and experienced, one of the most genuine organizations out there: http://www.outdoorafro.com
    • Outward Bound, and more specifically, Voyageur Outward Bound School, who among other initiatives, have a great partnership with Dunwoody Technical School in the Twin Cities that ensures a very diverse population gets to experience the joy of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
  • And for a great novel that tells a compelling story about the military and African American experience in the outdoors from the last century, Shelton Johnson‘s Gloryland, is one of the best.

This list is far from complete and I know there are many other fantastic athletes that I have not had time to discuss. We have also not discussed issues of accessibility in the outdoors, but that will be coming. I hope in the comments section we can continue to identify other athletes and organizations and strategies who are making a difference every day in getting America, all of America, outside.

Finally, we must remember to be intentional in our efforts. In many conversations with partners and potential partners for my work with military families and veterans, I often here people say, “But our programs are not exclusive, veterans are welcome.” And so they are, and so are men and women of other races and colors, but unless the invitation is deliberate, the message may not get across.

The trick is making sure the invitation is not condescending and speaks to the community you, we, are hoping to welcome and that we are willing to meet the new group half way. We cannot continue to expect new participants in the outdoors to only do it our way. It has to be a two way street (or path or portage) where both groups have something to learn from one another.
I hope to see you out on the trail!

Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacy-bare/diversity-in-the-outdoors_1_b_1369214.html