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2019 NHI Speaker Series – Biomimicry: Observing and Learning from Nature’s Genius

Thursday, July 11, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Biomimicry is the conscious emulation of life’s genius, and offers a new perspective for a sustainable future by asking the question: what lessons can we learn from the natural world? By observing organisms that survive in harsh environments like the desert, we can create more efficient and low-impact designs and technologies that work for instead of against life. Biomimicry is studying a leaf to invent a better solar cell, or a bird beak that inspires an efficient fast-speed train. The compelling core of this new field is that nature has already solved many of the challenges we are currently facing: energy use, food production, climate control, non-toxic chemistry, transportation, and more. Ultimately, biomimicry acknowledges that “life creates conditions conducive to life”, and we aim to integrate these lessons learned in our built world to be better neighbors on this planet.

Some questions we will explore from our local ecosystem are: what enables the jackrabbit to stay cool in extreme heat, why do cholla spines have so many holes, and how do cacti gather and store water? Lily will give specific examples of current desert-inspired biomimetic designs that have been developed and discuss how we can all become biomimics in our everyday lives.

Lily Urmann is a graduate student in the Biomimicry Master’s program at Arizona State University where she is the Program Coordinator at the Biomimicry Center. Currently, she is helping to design and launch one of the first on-campus undergraduate certificates in biomimicry.


Bob Ellis


Natural History Institute
126 N. Marina Street Prescott, AZ United States


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