Biomimicry's sensible, eco-friendly approach to design – the conscious emulation of nature's genius – has tremendous appeal for both educators and students. Since the inception of our University Education Program in 2007, thousands of educators and students have attended our outreach events – including biomimicry workshops, lectures, and conferences – we've offered worldwide. Biomimicry is more than simply another "green" fad: it's a rigourous science and methodology. As the concept gains popularity, our education team is striving to ensure that biomimicry concepts and tools are taught and practiced with integrity and consistency.
That's why our University Education Program 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. Through our Biomimicry Affiliate and Biomimicry Fellows Programs, we support institutions and individual faculty and administrators who have shown a commitment to integrating biomimicry into their degree offerings and curricula. The development of these programs was guided by the Biomimicry Educational Advisory Board, which continues to assist and advise us.
Our Biomimicry Educators' Network provides a forum for biomimicry educators to exchange ideas, share curricula, and ask questions about how best to integrate biomimicry tools and concepts into their existing courses. Our annual Biomimicry Education Summit allows those educators to meet in person, share their accomplishments from the previous year, collaborate on new ideas, and advise us on how best to support their work. Our new Train-the-Trainers workshops, to be offered for the first time in 2010, will offer additional support and professional development for biomimicry educators.
University students and professors have used AskNature – our online database of biological strategies and ideas to inspire biomimetic design – extensively since its launch in November 2008. In fall of 2009, we coordinated the first biomimicry student Design Sketch Challenge, and the winning sketches were featured on AskNature in 2010.
Finally, we work with companies to organize and host interdisciplinary, multi-institutional student design challenges in order to give students the opportunity to do real-life biomimetic design.