Applying Nature's Lessons: Biomimicry Workshop To Be Offered By International Society of Sustainability Professionals

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Applying Nature's Lessons: Biomimicry Workshop To Be Offered By International Society of Sustainability Professionals

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is hosting a four-week on-line workshop that will teach participants how to apply lessons from nature to spur innovation toward creating healthier, more resilient societies.
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Mary Hansel

Monday, August 20, 2012 - 12:00pm

(3BL Media) August 20, 2012 - Biomimicry is an old practice and new discipline that emulates nature’s time-tested strategies for surviving and thriving sustainably on Earth. Formaldehyde-free building materials modeled after mussels, networks that emulate slime mold, and self-cleaning paint inspired by lotus leaves are a few examples.

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is hosting a four-week on-line workshop that will provide participants with an opportunity to (re)connect with nature in new ways, discover one or more of nature’s strategies that might inform solutions to their sustainability challenges, and, design sustainability indicators and metrics using Life’s Principles, life’s universal strategies for sustainability. The interactive course will be taught by Mary Hansel, a Certified Biomimicry Professional who was among the first fifteen graduates of the Biomimicry Institute's two-year professional program with a concentration in biomimicry and business innovation. She has designed and presented sustainability and biomimicry educational sessions for professional conferences, graduate courses as a guest lecturer, and internal workshops.

Through a series of interactive, on-line presentations, exercises, and a final deliverable, Mary will teach workshop participants how to:

  • Develop the ability to describe the concept of biomimicry and the various ways it is being used to advance sustainability, including as an innovation tool, ethical gauge for sustainability and as a way to reconnect humans and the planet.
  • Translate challenges into functions that can be used to ask, “How does nature...?”
  • Explore a system’s perspective on Earth’s operating conditions and learn deep patterns of biological design (Life’s Principles) that have evolved in response to those operating conditions.
  • Identify biomimicry tools and resources.
  • Practice using Life’s Principles to both evaluate, and inspire strategies to improve, sustainability performance.

Workshop participants will also have the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers including Lindsay James, Interface FLOR’s Strategic Sustainability Director, and Taryn Mead, Biologist at the Design Table.

This online workshop experience, from pre-work to deliverable completion, will occur September 1 through 30. Classes will be offered on Thursday September 6, 13, 20, 27 at 1 pm PT/ 2 pm MT/ 3 pm CT/ 4 pm ET for 60-90 minutes. Cost is $450 with an additional $75 off for ISSP members and an early bird discount of $50 for everyone through August 30.

The workshop is delivered online and via the Internet so students participate from their computers for both the live weekly webinars and for the 24/7 online 'classroom' experience. Successful completion of this workshop can be applied towards an elective credit towards the ISSP Sustainability Professionals Certificate. To view additional workshop details or to register, click here.

About Mary Hansel
Mary specializes in organizational sustainability and intrapreneurial coaching.  She has included biomimicry as a core piece in her work since first learning about it in 2000. She has:

Organized and participated in many biomimicry workshops, including a weeklong tour of the Galapagos Islands with author Janine Benyus and several top engineers to explore biomimicry in the water and wastewater sector;

  • Sparked the launch of PAX Scientific’s first product based on nature’s geometry; and
  • Taught professionals in various sectors about biomimicry.
  • As a volunteer, Mary served for six years as Treasurer on Biomimicry 3.8 Institute’s Board of Directors, and is co-founder and primary mover and shaker of Biomimicry Oregon, a biomimicry regional network in the Pacific Northwest.

Mary’s experience includes ten years providing sustainability strategy, education, communications, and management services for a national civil engineering firm, and service as a sustainability technical advisor on numerous planning projects for water and wastewater utilities. Prior to sustainability work, she worked as a Certified Public Accountant. She earned a degree in Business Administration at the University of Arizona, complemented with advanced studies in Biomimicry, The Natural Step and other sustainability tools.

About ISSP
The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is the world's leading professional association for sustainability professionals. ISSP is a member driven association committed to moving the profession of sustainability forward through building strong networks and communities of practice.  Formed in 2007, ISSP boasts hundreds of members from every continent in the world. Members share resources, best practices and professional development.  Webinars, Webchats, on-line classes, special reports, resource directories, salary surveys, and a professional competency study are just a sampling of the rich content offered to members. For more information about ISSP and its offerings, please visit