I wanted to introduce myself. I'm Grace. I've called Missoula, MT home for 17 years and love love love my home town and the outdoors life I have access to here. Especially since my son was born (he's 3-1/2 now) I feel very fortunate to be able to hike, camp, float, ski, ride my bike, and just be, in the beautiful northern Rockies.
Before my son was born, I worked in early childhood education and alternative schools for 14 years, but when I came back to work, it was not back to teaching in the classroom-- instead, I'm working with the Biomimicry Instiute, based here in Missoula, to help people learn to look to nature for inspiration in designing products, systems, and even communities.
The term Biomimicry means "innovation inspired by nature" and there are lots of amazing examples of ways designers have improved human designs by learning from incredible animal adaptations.
At the heart of biomimicry is a deep respect for nature and a heartfelt sense of oneness with the rest of the natural world. Getting outside and engaging with nature, looking closely, using all the senses, and seeing small details and the big picture, awakening and celebrating a lively curiosity -- these are the skills we try to help adults RE-learn, and that we hope children will use and develop and never lose.
Importantly, biomimicry is a hopeful way of looking at the world. Through learning from nature, we can hope to find new solutions, new ways to live sustainably on the earth.
Part of my work (my favorite part) is related to helping classroom teachers and "non-formal" educators (that's pretty much everyone!) find ways to share the idea of biomimicry with their students.
In introducing myself, I wanted to open a conversation about biomimicry with anyone interested, and to offer to share any of the ideas and resources that have been developed by the Biomimicry Institute.
I look forward to connecting with this group!
Many thanks for joining the Natural Teachers Network. You certainly qualify with the great work you have done for kids, and continue to do. Richard Louv and Cheryl Charles often talk about "biomimicry" but I don't know how many actually understand it. Your description is helpful, and it's nice to know that the Biomimicry Institute exists. I know Missoula well. I used to live in Sandpoint and now live in Pullman, Washington. My son used to coach football for Montana State so I spent more time in the Bozeman area, but I love all of Montana. Thanks for posting on this site, and please continue to share your thoughts and ideas for reconnecting kids to nature, especially ideas for getting formal and informal educators to join the movement. You will find this site very active and interesting. All the best, John
Thanks, John! (A Bobcat, huh?) :)
I'm excited (both personally and professionally) to connect with, and learn from, the others in this forum (I've been spenidng a litle time digging around in older posts) and look forward to helping each other move forward-- and outward!
Grace, in my children's theatre project many nature derived adventures are spawned within the imagination. In acting class we learn to live inside our animal characters and speak for them. With scientific observation included, this amounts to a grand introduction of the young of our species to the inner experience of others.
While that all sounds pretty intellectual, what we do isn't. It's really physical and emotional. In theatre we can leap great arcs and gain sympathetic understanding of our world.
Thanks for your invitation to share!
Caroline Rackley, director/drama coach
TeatroJoven Children's Theatre
Thanks for your input! Theatre is truly a great way to get students engaged in taking on the perspective of other-- including other species! Last year a Montessori school used the children's music CD "Ask The Planet" to create an original musical theatre performance which explored the idea of biomimicry and shared it with their whole school! (You can read about it here!)