Biomimicry Puget Sound: Uniting Designers with Nature's Tool Box


On August 21, Biomimicry Puget Sound hosted the unveiling of the in-depth work of Biomimicry Oregon and their investigation into the “Genius of Place” in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re not familiar with Biomimicry Oregon, they are an organization along with Biomimicry Puget Sound and several others nationwide that are dedicated to inspiring sustainable and innovative solutions based on nature’s genius. Biomimicry Oregon’s team, assigned with the challenge of identifying how stormwater is managed in nature, embarked into the landscape to study how native organisms absorb, collect, slow, store, and move water. This report contains their analysis, with a focus on seven (of originally 80) resulting “biological strategies”: canopy structure, downed wood, root structure, beaver dams, parasitic resource sharing, leaf absorption, and the absorbent networks of mycorrhizal fungi. Each strategy is broken into a fundamental design principle, with suggested applications for our cities.

After the report was shared, the audience was divided into seven groups, each assigned to one of the strategies to brainstorm applications for. Sticky notes in hand, each group of designers went to work thinking of stormwater solutions for our city that replicated those of the beaver, leaves, fungi, roots, canopy, downed wood and parasites. After sharing our thoughts, our sketches and notes were then collected for use at future workshops.

It was an inspiring evening that fostered creativity and collaboration, and celebrated nature’s mastery. Luckily, if you missed out, you can find all materials from the presentation on the Biomimicry Oregon website. Also, Biomimicry Puget Sound has another event in the works, so you can learn more and participate in the very near future!