How did a termite study turn into an entire shopping complex?

Eastgate Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe

On any given day, temperatures in Zimbabwe range from 35 to 104 degrees. However, termites aren’t affected by these wild swings. In fact, the insects thrive on a steady diet of fungus that requires a stable temperature (around 87 degrees) and humidity for optimum growth in the mounds.

The termite mound structure and function inspired a design for Zimbabwe’s largest office complex. During the day, warm air is stored in concrete. As evenings turn cold, this stored air warms the building, and low-energy fans pull in and circulate cool, fresh air. When temperatures outside begin to rise again, that cool nighttime air is still moving through the building.

Building owners saved over $3.5 million and use less than 10% of the energy it typically takes to power a complex of its size.

Photo by Gary Bembridge

We Want to Educate our Future’s Greatest Thinkers

In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.

Baba Dioum

Biomimicry Pre-K – 12

Exposing children to the wonders and resiliency of nature will inspire the next generation of innovators to find more sustainable solutions to the tough challenges ahead.

Taking STEM to STE(A)M, our biomimicry education integrates biology, chemistry, engineering, social studies, language arts, creative arts and other subjects. Exploring how humans relate to the world is vital in helping students shape their views and respond to challenges they’ll face in the future. Through teacher professional development, we show educators how biomimicry is used to develop interdisciplinary curricula that link to state and national standards.

The ability to leverage nature’s genius is an emerging skill set – one that has the potential to enhance student success at all levels of education and ultimately lead students down career paths based on biomimicry. In turn, we’ll meet employer demand for talented critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.

We’re currently working with schools in Akron, Cleveland and Lorain County and with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Watch this video to see Elyria High School students learning about biomimicry with live animal friends from the Zoo.

We develop educational programs for a wide range of audiences. With a desire to branch out and reach more people, we are discussing ideas with local park districts and museums. Contact us if you want to join our ecosystem of partners or request a program.

Girl with Butterfly

Higher Education

University of Akron

Ph.D. PROGRAM

The University of Akron’s (UA) Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. Program is the cornerstone of our educational model.

Fellowships

Education fellows work in local schools doing research and helping teachers use biomimicry to design creative teaching tools and curricula that align with content standards and learning outcomes. Fellows help teachers deploy lessons and co-teach lessons that impact students. Fellows are paired with select school or business sponsors for five years as part of their Ph.D. research. We’ve secured 15 Ph.D. Fellow sponsors to date, representing nearly $2.0 million of regional support.

Education fellows and teachers participate in research and help design teaching tools and curriculum that align with content standards and learning outcomes. See our current school partners.

Corporate fellows are embedded into businesses – doing research and development, evaluating operations and spurring innovation. Fellows teach companies how to look at processes through a biomimetic lens. See our current corporate sponsors.

BRIC

The University of Akron Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) is dedicated to biomimicry research, design, training and teaching as it helps to catalyze invention powered by nature-inspired technologies.

Lorain County Community College

At our Great Lakes Biomimicry Technology Center in the Desich SMART Center at Lorain County Community College, we are working with university tech transfer and open innovation, involving internships through GLIDE (Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise).

BALDWIN WALLACE UNIVERSITY

Expanding higher education

As one of our educational partners, Baldwin Wallace University gets students excited about using biomimicry as a creativity, innovation and problem-solving tool. Freshmen can enroll in a First Year Experience course that introduces them to biomimicry or enter higher-level Biomimicry courses through undergraduate and MBA programs. Learning is amplified through out-of-class experiences and course projects.

Living and learning from nature

Students can live with like-minded peers in a biomimicry-themed residence on campus. Not only is the residence in harmony with nature, but it’s creating a cohort of students willing to think differently – using Life’s Principles. Lessons learned are captured and used to inspire solutions to social and environmental problems facing us today.

BRANCHING OUT

We are working with other regional institutions of higher learning, like Cleveland Institute of Art, Oberlin College and Hiram College, and foster collaborations around education, biomimicry clubs and environmental programs.

UA Biomimicry Fellows

Rebecca Eagle-Malone

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Sebastian Englehardt

Ross Environmental Services, Inc.

Daphne Fecheyr-Lippens

Parker Hannifin

Sarah Han

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Stephen Howe

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

Bor-Kai Hsuing

Sherwin-Williams

Emily Kennedy

GOJO Industries

Banafsheh Khakipoor

Avon Lake Regional Water & TIES

Daniel Maksuta

Kimberly-Clark

Derek Miller

MC2 STEM High School

Adam J. Pierce

National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM School

Ariana Rupp

Nottingham Spirk

Kelly Siman

The Nord Family Foundation, Lake Ridge Academy

Lamalani Siverts

Avon Lake Regional Water & TIES

Michael Wilson

Lubrizol

Connecting Educators

Our Education Consortium connects regional educators – formal and informal – who want to integrate biomimicry into curriculum and educational programs.

During quarterly meetings, we encourage resource and idea sharing and networking. We also run periodic professional development events.

Germinature

Follow the blog co-authored by the Biomimicry PhD fellows for insights, opinions and our take on nature-inspired ideas for Northeast Ohio.

Read More
 

Join our Education Consortium

Help us build a vibrant professional learning community. Join now to receive e-mails about upcoming quarterly meetings and other special events.