Nature will provide the answers when you learn to ask the right questions.
Through online tools, we give learners, designers, and problem-solvers the skills they need to turn nature’s strategies into solutions.
We present cutting-edge discoveries and age-old knowledge of nature in simple language that any problem-solver can understand and apply to their challenge.
We offer high-quality, engaging content free of charge to empower learners of all ages and backgrounds to address environmental and social issues with nature-inspired solutions.
Our goal is to enable everyone, everywhere to see other living things through a respectful and curious lens that reveals how they work, and how they work together.
AskNature is the largest open access library of biological strategies for sustainable design solutions, allowing people of any age and background to learn from nature. It is a digital field guide to the natural world, designed to inspire you to understand what we can learn from nature (not just what we can learn about it). We have designed this tool to provide guidance to students, educators, engineers, scientists, designers, artists, naturalists, and those from yet-to-be-defined disciplines. Our hope is that this is a homecoming for anyone searching for ideas about how to make the future better for all of our planetary neighbors.
Search for biological strategies crafted by an expert team of science communicators that reveal adaptations from other living organisms that human innovators can translate into design. Explore curated Collections, Educational Resources, and Innovations containing examples of biomimicry in application.
Education isn’t just about memorization, but practicing into mastery. Looking to other species, we see that long‑term success is all about incorporating new knowledge into your very being. View the collection here.
Creating intentional design for products, processes, and services with nature in mind requires insight into how these would function in nature without human influence. The Biomimicry Toolbox provides an orientation to biomimicry and introduces a set of tools and core concepts that can help problem-solvers from any discipline begin to incorporate insights from nature into their solutions.
We hope this resource offers a pathway to generate creative solutions inspired by nature so more learners and designers can think with this perspective, thereby inserting their cleverness after gaining this wisdom so they are better equipped to solve systemic environmental and societal challenges.
The Biomimicry Taxonomy is a classification system the Biomimicry Institute developed to organize biological strategies by the functions they serve. It is also the underlying structure for AskNature, the world’s most comprehensive library (in database form) of biological solutions applicable to human design challenges. Learn more here.
From middle and high schoolers in design challenges to successful startups from around the world, we work with an array of emerging innovators to hone and advance their nature-inspired solutions addressing today’s most pressing problems.
Browse the products and concepts of the finalists from our programs, and filter them by a number of qualities, including program, location, and even the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed. Explore the variety of ideas from each program, locations represented, as well as the many U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressed.
We hope these solutions inspire you to support these innovators—or perhaps begin your journey in creating a nature-inspired solution to see it featured here.
Many communities in Northern Canada suffer from a lack of clean drinking water, and this issue of water insecurity disproportionately affects Indigenous Canadians. Inspired by the countercurrent heat exchange system found in trout and the beard lichen’s water collection process, the SINC (Sustainable Ice Nucleation Contraption) is an outdoor water collection system designed for northern communities affected by water scarcity. Learn more here.
“AskNature is user-friendly, packed with interesting information for students, scholars, and regular audiences, and aesthetically pleasing. Nat Geo watch out!”
– Karuna Skariah, NBCT, educator, National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
Spotlight on Inspiration
The question of why honey bees adapted to building their nests from hexagonal cells has been debated for centuries. In On the Origin of Species, Darwin theorized that natural selection led to “an economy of wax.” Being frugal with wax is wise work for a honey bee given they need to consume approximately eight pounds of honey to produce one pound of wax.
Every summer, annual cicadas emerge from underground all over the world, thickening the air with their distinctive clacking and rattling. Seventeen-year cicadas, which exist only in North America, slurp plant root sap beneath the ground for nearly two decades before surfacing and molting their shells to become breeding adults.
In order to practice biomimicry, it’s important to first understand the concept of function. Function is an essential underpinning of biomimicry and is one element that distinguishes biomimetic design from biophilic and biomorphic design.
In a Douglas-fir and pine forest in North America there are trees of all ages, ranging from tiny seedlings to giants that are hundreds of years old. Hidden in the soil is a vast network made up of millions of miles of thin threads called mycelium. Most of the mycelium spread throughout this forest are mycorrhizal fungi. These are fungi that live in a mutualistic partnership with trees and other plants.
Lady-bug polka dots, tiger stripes, and emerald green tree leaves are all examples of chemical pigmentation—when compounds absorb and reflect various wavelengths of light. But physical structures can also scatter light, revealing a rainbow of colors without chemicals.
Some of the most extensive structures on Earth are made not by humans or beavers or other big builders, but by countless generations of tiny creatures beneath the surface of the sea.
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of Nature-Inspired Innovators
By donating to the Biomimicry Institute, you help us empower more nature-inspired innovators. Together, we will build a strong and sustainable global community dedicated to eliminating the need for extractive industries and revitalizing degraded ecosystems.