Meet the People
Behind the Mission

Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA (she/her)


Sydney, Australia & Washington State, USA
As CEO of The Biomimicry Institute, Amanda fosters a thriving eco-system of innovators, educators and change-makers to bring about a world that works in harmony with nature and natural systems. Amanda is an award winning Architect, author and non-profit and thought leader on how people, buildings and cities connect to nature. She authored the book ‘Creating Biophilic Buildings” and has an essay in the best selling anthology ‘All We Can Save” , she has published articles across mainstream media, such as The Guardian, and is a frequent keynote speaker at global events. Amanda was previously the inaugural CEO of Built by Nature, a network and grant-making fund, focused on accelerating the timber and bio-based building materials transformation and she has also served as Regenerative Design Lead at global consultancy Mott MacDonald, working with clients across the Asia Pacific region to bring climate and biodiversity positive solutions to infrastructure, buildings and cities.

During her decade with the International Living Future Institute as CEO she authored and developed regenerative building programs such as The Living Building Challenge and founded the Biophilic Design Initiative. Amanda was elevated to be a Fellow of The American Institute of Architects in 2015 due to her extensive advocacy for buildings and cities that work in unison with nature. Amanda currently serves on the board of Climate Action Network Australia and is on the Biophilic Cities Advisory Group.

Miranda Berger (she/her)

Development Director

Seattle, Washington
Miranda seeks to align a career forwarding powerful solutions for global climate change with a personal life fostering a sustainable and inspired world. She manages the development work of the Biomimicry Institute, drawing on 20 years of experience writing proposals and managing funder and donor partnerships. Having led fundraising teams across the globe, Miranda’s work has supported everything from salmon habitats to living buildings. Now, she is thrilled to support Amanda and the Biomimicry team as they inspire the transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology to sustainable systems design. When not writing, Miranda can be found reading a book dockside while watching her family sail across Puget Sound. 

Megan Dwyer (she/her)

Partnership and Brand Strategy Director, AskNature

Brooklyn, New York
Megan Dwyer brings a rigorous approach to research, insights, design, and communication to set the strategic plan for the AskNature platform. She also looks to create partnerships with like-minded organizations that inspire people to embrace nature-inspired solutions. Being a New Yorker, her passion is born from the importance of nature in cities, and she believes that everyone, regardless of background or location should be able to benefit from connecting with nature. Before joining AskNature, she led her own brand strategy practice working with purpose-driven brands and is committed to solving problems for people and the planet through innovation and sustainable design. Over the past twenty years, she has worked at advertising agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Joan, partnering with leading companies such as P&G and Google. She is currently studying at Columbia University’s Climate School getting an M.S. in Sustainability and holds a Design Certification from Pratt Institute, where she studied Sustainable Design and Biomimicry, as well as a B.A. from Georgetown University.

Jen Fredette Visual Design Manager

Jen Fredette (she/her)

Website & Visual Design Manager

Western Montana
Jen is the Visual Design Manager for The Biomimicry Institute and its initiatives. She is a web and graphic designer with deep roots in communications and storytelling. Her work began in 2009 as the Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator for spectrUM Discovery Area, a not-for-profit science museum located on The University of Montana campus. After leaving her position with spectrUM, she went on to run a successful Web, Graphic Design, and Communications company where she supported independent businesses, non-profits, and public schools with their online presence and communication efforts. She and her husband live on a 20-acre homestead with their four children and a myriad of pets. Jen loves spending time rafting the amazing rivers of Western Montana and road-tripping around the United States with her family. She also volunteers in her community as the President of the local booster club, the lead planner of her town’s annual festival, and as the Marketing Chair of the Montana Youth Diabetes Alliance.  Jen graduated from The University of Montana with a degree in Communications but is continuously inspired by nature and all that it has to lend to positive and prosperous living.

Jen Fredette Visual Design Manager

Crista Good (she/her)

Executive Assistant

Ocean Park, Washington
Crista brings over 20 years of Executive Assistant experience to The Biomimicry Institute and a steadfast belief that the success of those who are the innovators and creators of the mission of a company requires the kind of administrative support she has provided to businesses throughout her working career. Crista has exhibited her ability to incorporate innovative solutions in completing a variety of objectives simultaneously from managing a home-based baking business, being a mother to a son with special needs, and completing multiple educational goals. Outside of work, she finds daily inspiration from nature, living by the beach and close to the ocean. She also enjoys raising her son, the company of her three rescue dogs, and the amenities of Washington coastal living.

Jen Fredette Visual Design Manager

Katia Hardgrave (she/her)

Design for Transformation Project Assistant

Orange County, CA
Katia is driven by a passion to meaningfully and sustainably address social justice issues. She brings a unique mix of experiences from living and working across North America, South America, and South/Southeast Asia. Katia draws from her roles at an impact startup, an early-stage impact VC, an impact-focused investment bank, and at an impact advisory firm. She applies these experiences and her international development background to support the systems change work at the Biomimicry Institute. 

Gretchen Hooker (she/her)

Visual Science Communications Manager

Missoula, Montana
A designer by training and nature nerd at heart, Gretchen manages visual communication on AskNature, working to reveal the mechanisms behind nature’s strategies with powerful illustrations and diagrams. Gretchen also contribues to overall content and product strategy for AskNature, drawing on more than 10 years of experience at the Institute managing and creating educational programs for learners of all ages. Before transitioning to the AskNature team, Gretchen founded and led the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge and helped to establish the Institute’s Youth Education program as Interim Director. Prior to that, she was a core contributor to the Institute’s education programs for university students and young professionals. Gretchen is a certified Biomimicry Specialist and Montana Master Naturalist, holds a master’s degree in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design, and earn her BA at Macalester College.

Andrew Howley (he/him)

Chief Editor, AskNature

Williamsburg, Virginia
Andrew is your guide through the vast collection of materials on AskNature, commissioning and curating an ever-growing body of stories of life’s innovations and adaptations. As a science communicator, he spent 11 years at the National Geographic Society, connecting audiences with explorers and grantees through websites, blogs, social media, and live-streamed interviews and events. He has also served as Communications Director for the conservation nonprofit Adventure Scientists, conceived and hosted a podcast on human origins, and aided various scientists and organizations with their online efforts. He also once spent an afternoon running the path of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He studied anthropology with a focus on archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

Dave Hutchins (he/him)

Launchpad Program Manager

Butte, Montana
Dave manages the Biomimicry Institute’s Launchpad Program, supporting scientists and researchers as they take their nature-inspired solutions from the lab to the market. He has a background in environmental engineering with a PhD in materials science, where his research focused on remediating mining impacted waters. He has served as a research associate at the Center for Advanced Materials Processing and as professor with Montana Technological University. Dave is also a sculptor, entrepreneur, and amateur journalist who is passionate about science communication and the intersection of art and science. He has volunteered with Butte’s Citizens’ Technical Environmental Committee, the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program, and founded the community bicycle shop Bike Lab.

Angela Klinefelter (she/her)

Director of Finance and Administration

Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Angela manages the financial details of the Biomimicry Institute’s amazing projects and is also the assistant to the executive director. Before the Biomimicry Institute, Angela managed the finances for several other local non-profits such as Buffalo Field Campaign, Wind River Bear Institute, and Cold, Mountain Cold Rivers. She also worked as an accountant at Lambros Real Estate. Her past life was spent roaming Montana’s Glacier Country as a bear conflict specialist.

Sarah McInerney (she/her)

Ray of Hope Prize Program Manager

Cleveland, Ohio
Sarah manages the Biomimicry Institute’s Ray of Hope Prize Program, identifying, supporting, and accelerating the world’s most promising nature inspired startups to address humanity biggest environmental and social challenges. Traditionally trained as a zoologist and educator, Sarah completed her PhD in integrated bioscience focusing on the potential of biomimicry to advance the narrative of corporate sustainability through design and behaviour. Through this work she has provided professional biomimicry education and innovation services for a variety of audiences from Fortune 500 companies to K-12 institutions within academic, corporate, and natural settings. Sarah grew up on the west coast of Ireland and before completing her PhD she worked in wildlife conservation training as a falconer and volunteering with a variety of non-profits across Europe.

Maëlys Renaud (she/her)

Program Assistant, Innovation

Los Angeles, California

Maëlys is a chemist, open-innovation enthusiast and former Science Diplomat. She joined the Biomimicry Institute Innovation team to identify, support and accelerate nature-inspired startups. Maëlys draws from her roles at a marine biotech company, a large plant-based cosmetic company, an innovation management and financing consulting firm, a law firm and an early-stage VC. Driven by an unwavering belief that we humans need to shift our relationship with our planet, nature and the resource that we use, she applies these experiences to empower creative ecosystems of leading scientists, innovators and founders, to support and invest in early-stage technology companies and to foster real and scalable impact. From Brittany, France and based in Los Angeles, Maëlys works internationally while connecting with the diverse creative scene, the growing tech environment and the beautiful outdoors. Outside of her professional life, she weaves her activities and her care for the Earth through cooking, hosting climate dinners, reading, horse riding, dancing and by founding the initiative Pole Dance for the Planet. Maëlys is LEED certified and holds two Master’s Degrees, in Chemistry from Université Pierre et Marie Curie – University Paris-Sorbonne and in Business Law and Intellectual Property from Sciences Po Paris.

Kat Sitnikova (she/her)

Development Assistant

Santa Cruz Area, California
Kat enjoys fostering connections with individuals who share her profound enthusiasm for the convergence of biomimicry and design, recognizing their collective potential to drive sustainable systemic change. She plays a pivotal part in the Institute’s fundraising efforts by helping to secure essential resources and nurturing relationships with individuals who support the Institute’s goals. Before joining the Biomimicry team, Kat has held roles at the Abundant Earth Foundation, Homeless Garden Project, H. T. Harvey & Associates, and the Los Padres ForestWatch. These roles have equipped her with a strong foundation in ecological principles, environmental advocacy, and organizational operations, as well as a love for research, collaboration, and connection with people who are passionate about sustainability. Outside of her professional life, Kat is a dancer, rock climber, pianist, amateur vineyard manager, theater lover, and avid-reader. Kat holds certificates in Permaculture and Nonprofit Management, and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

CK Unsworth "Collin" (she/her)

Biomimicry Integrationist

Denver, Colorado
Collin believes that reconnection to nature can serve as a vehicle for human empathy and a catalyst for conservation. She is passionate about equity and waste reduction so that we may be kinder humans and honor the planet we share. Collin holds a PhD in Integrated Bioscience with a specialty in biomechanics, entrepreneurship, and bio-inspired inclusive design. With over a decade of research experience and seven years focused on biomimicry, she serves as the organization’s technical biomimicry expert. She has worked as a biomimicry leader at NASA GRC, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and NSF’s Innovation Corps through her bio-inspired assistive tech startup, Natraverse LLC. Collin has performed climate change and conservation biology research around the US and abroad in Mo’orea and Ecuador. She is I-180 Wildland Firefighter certified and has worked as a prescribed burn technician, a trail crew member for NPS AmeriCorps, a naturalist, and a caretaker for people with disabilities. Outside of work, she enjoys writing, climbing, trail running, cycling, and routesetting to foster inclusion in climbing.

Jared Yarnall-Schane (he/him)

Director of Innovation

State College, Pennsylvania
Jared brings his entrepreneurial background and startup coaching experience to the Biomimicry Institute, where he supports startups as they commercialize biomimetic innovations that are addressing major climate and environmental issues. Before joining the Institute, Jared developed and ran startup training programs with Penn State University’s incubator and accelerator programs and was the Program Director of Thought For Food, a global community of food and agriculture entrepreneurs. He is the creator of the open-source startup training toolkit Startup Guts, was an initial founding member of the AgTech company GreenTowers, and started a small food preservation company in rural Kenya. He has an Executive Certificate in Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University.

Kelli Young (she/her)

HR Generalist

Bozeman Area, Montana
Kelli brings over 15 years of Human Resources experience to the Biomimicry Institute, where she works directly with the Director of Finance and Administration. She earned her BA in Psychology from Roanoke College, VA and a Masters of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations, with an emphasis in Compensation and Benefits from Penn State, PA. Kelli also holds a certificate in Supervisory Leadership from the University of California, Irvine. Kelli and her husband enjoy the outdoors, specifically hiking, and together have visited roughly half of the national parks in the United States. 

Meet Our Board

Janine Benyus


Janine Benyus is a natural sciences writer, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including her latest − Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. She co-founded Biomimicry 3.8 – the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, bringing nature’s ideas to the design table and boardroom of 250+ companies including Nike, HOK, GE Procter and Gamble, Levi’s and General Mills; and the Biomimicry Institute, an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting the study of biomimicry. In addition to her biomimicry work, Janine teaches interpretive writing, lectures at the University of Montana, and works towards restoring and protecting wild lands. She has received several awards including the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Mind Award, the 2011 Heinz Award, Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, and the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing.

Kent Snyder


Kent is an attorney, consultant, and CEO who has devoted much of his public service career working on collaborative solutions to complex problems. He served 10 years on the Sustainable Development Commission of Portland including three years as co-chair, working on Economic Development, Green Building, and development of the city’s Climate Action Plan. He chaired the National Board of Trustees of the American Leadership Forum, whose mission is joining and strengthening collaborative networks of diverse leaders to serve the common good. Kent was the founding Board Chair of the Green Electronics Council and works as a consultant to organizations on sustainable supply chain development. As an attorney, Kent was a nationally recognized expert and author in bankruptcy law with a focus on business workouts and turnarounds. He holds a B.S. cum laude in Environmental Biology from Kansas State University and a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School.

Mary Davidge

Secretary / LEED® Fellow

Mary is a leader in design strategy and the creation of places that foster the health of the occupants and the environment. In 2021, she retired from her position as Google’s Directory of Global Design in REWS (Real Estate and Workplace Services) to focus on environmental advocacy. Mary established her career in Silicon Valley’s architecture and design firms working primarily with rapidly growing technology companies such as Apple, Ebay, and Yahoo!. For over four decades, the focus of her work has been to facilitate design process, helping owners to define values for the built environment, identify associated goals and strategies, and execute those strategies.

Mary has served in a volunteer capacity on multiple boards and advisory groups, she has a particular passion for work at the intersection of design, health and nature. She was recognized as a Living Building Challenge Hero in 2012, a LEED Fellow in 2014 and received the IIDA Leadership Award of Excellence in 2017. In 2022 she served as the chair of the Living Future Conference, bringing together leaders in the design and construction community under the theme of Restoration and Justice. From 2012-2014 she was a founding member of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative Board (HPDC), she served on the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute Certification Standards Board from 2013-2016, and the Healthy Building Network Board from 2016-2020. She currently serves on the Biophilic Institute Board, the Advisory Board of the ILFI Biophilic Design Initiative and The Sierra Institute for Communty and Environment Board.

Erin Rovalo

Treasurer / Certified Biomimicry Professional

Erin Rovalo, Ph.D. is a Certified Biomimicry Professional since 2010 and was among the inaugural graduates from the MSc Biomimicry program at ASU in 2016. She is an experienced scholar and researcher holding a PhD in Design Practice focused on biomimicry design and has published academic research as well as editorial articles in Fast Company, Greenbiz, and Metropolis among others. She serves as Faculty Associate in the MSc Biomimicry program jointly offered by Arizona State University and Biomimicry 3.8 where she teaches Biomimicry & Design and iSites: Nature Journaling for Biomimicry. Erin is the Director of Education at the International Living Future Institute where she leads the education team in their mission to empower an international and diverse community of practice with the skills, values, and knowledge necessary to take bold action towards a built environment that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative. In this role, she is responsible for ILFI’s educational strategy and oversees curriculum design, course development, and credentialing.

Angela Nahikian

Angela Nahikian heads a cross-company effort to ensure that Steelcase achieves its global sustainability goals. As the world leader in contract furnishings, the company is committed to leadership in environmental sustainability. In her role, Ms. Nahikian is responsible for sustainability strategy and program development as well as integration of the key environmental platforms of life cycle management, materials assessment, and designing for recycling-reuse in new products. Ms. Nahikian also leads environmental research programs and corporate collaborative efforts with sustainability experts. With a BSEE and a background in architecture, she has filled diverse roles in architectural systems design, product and strategy development, technology licensing, futures exploration, and management strategies for environmental issues. In addition to her responsibilities at Steelcase, Ms. Nahikian serves on the board of advisors of Today’s Facility Manager, and is a LEED-accredited professional. She has been with the Steelcase family of companies since 1990 and was named to her current position in 2005. She is a native of Traverse City, Michigan, and is a graduate of Lawrence Technological University.

Jim Bunch

Jim is passionate about investing in businesses that drive social and environmental benefit, while generating attractive returns for investors. Over the last decade, he has worked for two family office impact investment platforms, deploying over $100 million into venture capital and private equity investments in clean tech, agriculture, and broader economic development.

Evelyn Arce Erickson

Founder and CEO of Indigenous Resilience Consulting

A descendant of the Muisca people of Colombia, Evelyn is passionate about Indigenous self-determination and Indigenous-led philanthropy. She is the Founder and CEO of Indigenous Resilience Consulting (IRC), with the mission to build Native-led capacity and serve as a strategic advisor to both donors and Indigenous communities. She is the former Vice President for Native Conservancy, the first Native land trust in the US where a fundraising campaign she led raised millions and played a pivotal role managing daily operations with a focus on development, program, financials, and forward-looking strategies.

Evelyn helped to found and ran for 15 years the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP), a donor affinity group dedicated to supporting Indigenous communities. It was the first organize effort to bring hundreds of millions of dollars directly into Indigenous communities globally. Evelyn was one of the first voices for Indigenous-led philanthropy and notably led the effort for several donor publications, including the Foundation Center’s Funding Indigenous Peoples: Strategies for Support.

She currently serves on the Board and Development Committee for three NGOs: Biomimicry Institute, Fortunate Farm and Love Wild Horses, and is an advisor to Earth Codes Observatory. She is the co-found of Coastside Friendship Organize Garden (c-FOG) and served on the HMB Parks and Recreation Commission. She served as a board member of Cultural Survival for nearly a decade.

She obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Cornell University. She is a Goldman Environment Prize nominator and a Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow. A Master Gardner of San Mateo and San Francisco County, California, Evelyn lives in the territory of the Pomo tribe (now called Mendocino) with her husband and three children. She spends her free time gardening and exploring the raw beauty of the land.

Daniel Kinzer

Pacific Blue Studios

Daniel is at home in Hawai’i –  inspired by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (as well as other indigenous movements around the world); their traditional Polynesian wa’a, or voyaging canoes; and the story of Hōkūle’a and her worldwide voyage. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Biomimicry – innovation inspired by Nature -and is a Biomimicry Professional with Biomimicry 3.8  where he’s concentrated on marine ecology and innovative solutions to climate change and ocean-related challenges, as well as applying biomimicry to complex social issues, especially reimagining education. He is fascinated by the natural world, and particularly the Ocean and other wild places, and the intersections of these places and human culture and consciousness.

Since graduating from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience, he has been nurturing a global network of explorers and change makers by growing a learning ecosystem that can inspire and empower them. An avid traveler and adventurer, Daniel has spent the past two decades living, working and learning in international schools, nonprofits and social enterprises across more than 70 countries, all 7 continents, and all 5 of our planet’s oceans, including an expedition to Antarctica in December 2018 as part of a fellowship with National Geographic. Since arriving in Hawaii’, Daniel has led sustainability, service and entrepreneurial learning programs at Punahou School and Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu; served as a Fellow for National Geographic, Ocean Exploration Trust and Ecology Project International; and co-created place-based bio-cultural innovation platforms with Purple Mai’a Foundation, Mālama Maunalua and Polynesian Voyaging Society. He has focused on understanding and developing transformative action-learning curriculum with several partners in education, exploration, conservation and innovation, and is using that experience to support schools, innovation programs and environmental organizations around the world.

From his place in Hawai’i, Daniel launched Pacific Blue Studios: a Pacific network of community and place-based, youth-powered, design and impact studios leveraging biomimicry, indigenous perspective and cutting-edge technologies as vehicles to grow, connect and amplify a (k)new intergenerational learning ecosystem and help realize a resilient, regenerative and inclusive future in Hawai’i, around the Pacific, and across our Blue Planet.

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