Gretchen Hooker of the Biomimicry Institute served on this season’s Challenge Advisory Team to design the ANIMAL ALLIES and CREATURE CRAZE challenges. She is our guest blogger today.

Is your team looking for creative and innovative solutions for your research Project?  (Of course you are!)  Well, biomimicry might be just what you need.  Biomimicry is “innovation inspired by nature,” or the practice of looking to lessons from plants, animals, and other organisms for the clues to solving problems.

How do we “learn” from nature?  Well, it’s a matter of looking closely and studying the special adaptations that organisms have, that help them to do the things they need to do to survive.  For example, polar bears need to keep warm because they live in a very cold environment — the Arctic!  So, polar bears have fur with special characteristics that make it especially good insulation. This helps the bear conserve heat. Biomimics studying how polar bear fur works could use what they learn to the create better insulation for human needs, such as in jackets or buildings used in cold climates.

Biomimicry has lead to a number of exciting new innovations, many of which are also more sustainable than conventional technologies. You can read about some of these examples on the Biomimicry Institute website hereYou can also visit the website AskNature to discover even more strategies and adaptations in nature, explore ideas that they have inspired, and find resources for learning more about biomimicry in general.  This Collection created especially for FIRST LEGO League teams and coaches is a great place to start! Click here to find out more!

Learn more about Biomimicry at our webinar scheduled for 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 1. Register here.

To view past webinars or register for future ones, visit our Ask an Expert page in the Resource Library.