The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge | Harnessing Nature’s Genius


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In today’s rapidly changing world, the importance of sustainability and environmental consciousness cannot be overstated. As we grapple with pressing global challenges such as climate change, resource depletion, and biodiversity loss, innovative solutions are needed to address these issues.

One remarkable approach that has gained traction in recent years is biomimicry, which draws inspiration from nature’s designs and processes to create sustainable solutions for human problems. The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is a trailblazing initiative that empowers young minds to explore this fascinating realm, bridging the gap between nature and innovation.

What is Biomimicry?

Biomimicry, often referred to as “nature-inspired design,” is a discipline that mimics nature’s patterns, structures, and strategies to solve human challenges. By learning from the brilliance of natural systems, biomimicry aims to create products, processes, and systems that are not only sustainable but also in harmony with the environment. This concept recognizes nature as a source of wisdom and innovation, having been honed by billions of years of evolution.

What are the 3 types of biomimicry?

The 3 main types of biomimicry are:

  1. Form biomimicry – This involves mimicking the physical forms and structures found in nature. For example, studying the tapered nose of a bullet train which was modeled after the beak of a kingfisher bird to reduce air resistance.
  2. Process biomimicry – This involves mimicking processes or strategies found in nature. For example, studying photosynthesis in plants to inspire more efficient solar energy systems.
  3. Ecosystem biomimicry – This examines entire ecosystems to emulate their functionality. For example, designing industrial parks to mimic the interdependence and recycling found in natural ecosystems.

The Power of Youth in Biomimicry

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge recognizes the potential of young minds in fostering sustainability and drive change. This initiative empowers students and young enthusiasts to delve into the wonders of nature, inspiring them to come up with novel solutions by imitating its time-tested mechanisms. By involving youth, the challenge not only nurtures their curiosity and creativity but also instills a sense of responsibility towards the planet, shaping a generation of eco-conscious leaders.

What is biomimicry as a design strategy?

Biomimicry is a design strategy that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with.

As a design approach, biomimicry involves studying nature’s best ideas and then imitating these designs and processes to solve human problems. It follows a few key principles:

  • Nature as Model – Using nature as a source of ideas and inspiration. Studying how living things adapt, evolve, grow, and develop sustainable solutions.
  • Sustainable Design – Designing products, processes, and systems that maximize benefits to people and the environment.
  • Systems Thinking – Understanding how individual parts connect to the whole system. Designing for the health of the entire system.
  • Emulate, Don’t Just Imitate – Extracting the design principles from nature, not just superficial characteristics. Understanding the function behind the form.

What are the 6 steps of biomimicry?

Here are the 6 main steps of biomimicry:

  • Identify the design challenge or problem you want to solve. Define the functional requirements.
  • Discover biological models that have solved similar challenges. Look at how organisms and ecosystems achieve the desired function.
  • Abstract the biological strategies and principles that could solve your challenge. Identify the key features that could be translated.
  • Emulate these design principles and strategies in your innovation. Adapt and modify them as needed.
  • Evaluate your design against the functional requirements and constraints. Iterate and optimize.
  • Disseminate your biomimetic solutions. Share them so they can inspire others.
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The core idea is to study nature’s models, extract design principles from them, and adapt these principles to develop sustainable human technologies and solutions. It involves cross-disciplinary collaboration between biologists, engineers, architects, etc. The goal is to create solutions that are well-adapted, sustainable, and harmonious with nature.

What are 5 things that have been invented as a result of biomimicry?

Here are 5 examples of inventions inspired by biomimicry:

  • 1. Velcro – Inspired by burrs that stick to animal fur and clothing. Velcro mimics the tiny hooks that enable burrs to cling.
  • 2. Lotusan paint – Mimics the self-cleaning lotus leaf. The paint’s microstructure causes water to roll off and pick up dirt.
  • 3. Eastgate Building (Zimbabwe) – Modeled on self-cooling mounds of African termites. The building stays cool without air conditioning.
  • 4. Bullet trains – Designed to mimic the aerodynamic beak of kingfishers. This reduces noise when trains exit tunnels.
  • 5. WhalePower turbine blades – Mimic the bumps on humpback whale fins to improve turbine efficiency. The bumps help generate more power.

Other examples include antibacterial surfaces based on shark skin, energy-efficient buildings inspired by termite mounds, and new adhesives copied from mussels. Biomimicry offers sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.

Benefits of Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge

Biomimicry, also known as “nature-inspired design,” is a revolutionary approach that draws inspiration from nature to solve human challenges and create sustainable solutions. With the pressing need for innovative and eco-friendly designs, the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge emerges as an empowering platform for the young generation. In this article, we will explore the incredible benefits of the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge, and how it nurtures creativity, fosters sustainable thinking, and enables the youth to be the change-makers of tomorrow.

Nurturing Creativity Through Nature’s Wisdom 

Nature’s brilliance serves as an abundant source of creativity for young minds. The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge encourages participants to observe and learn from nature’s strategies, structures, and systems. By studying the intricate designs of plants, animals, and ecosystems, students are inspired to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Fostering Sustainable Thinking

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge places sustainability at its core. Participants are encouraged to create solutions that align with the principles of ecological balance, resource efficiency, and waste reduction. Through this challenge, young designers learn to develop sustainable products, systems, and technologies that have a positive impact on the environment and society.

Empowering the Change-Makers of Tomorrow

The youth are the torchbearers of the future, and their ideas and actions can shape the world significantly. Engaging in the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge empowers young individuals, providing them with a sense of purpose and a platform to make a difference. It cultivates a sense of responsibility towards the planet and encourages them to become leaders in sustainability and innovation.

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Encouraging Interdisciplinary Learning

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge transcends traditional educational boundaries by integrating various disciplines. It encourages participants to combine biology, engineering, design, and technology to develop holistic solutions. This interdisciplinary approach fosters a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of various fields and nurtures well-rounded individuals.

Instilling a Love for Nature

In an era where urbanization and technology dominate, the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge reconnects young minds with nature. Through the challenge, participants spend time observing and appreciating the wonders of the natural world. This experience instills a love for nature, leading to a generation that values biodiversity and strives to protect it.

Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge presents real-life problems that demand innovative solutions. By engaging in the challenge, participants develop critical problem-solving skills. They learn to analyze challenges from multiple perspectives and find sustainable solutions inspired by nature’s timeless strategies.

Cultivating Collaboration and Teamwork

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is often undertaken in teams, promoting collaboration and teamwork. Participants learn to communicate effectively, respect diverse viewpoints, and combine their strengths to create powerful solutions. These teamwork skills are invaluable as they prepare for future academic and professional endeavors.

Creating a Network of Like-Minded Youth

Participating in the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge connects young individuals who share a passion for sustainability and innovation. It creates a network of like-minded youth who can collaborate beyond the competition, share ideas, and support each other’s endeavors in the journey toward a more sustainable future.

Bridging Education with Real-World Application

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application. It encourages participants to apply their classroom learning to solve practical challenges. This connection enhances the learning experience, making education more meaningful and relevant.

Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem

Participating in the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge can be a transformative experience for young individuals. Successfully solving complex challenges and presenting their ideas before judges and peers boost their confidence and self-esteem. This newfound self-assurance positively impacts various aspects of their lives.

Eligibility Requirements for Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is a project-based learning experience that asks middle and high school teams to design bio-inspired ideas that can provide solutions to critical real-world problems. To be eligible for the challenge, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You should be a middle school student from grades 6-8 or a high school student from grades 9-12.
  • You can apply as an individual or as a team member. A team consists of 2-8 students and 1-2 adult coaches.
  • You should be affiliated with a school, education organization, or homeschool.
  • You should register as a coach and submit your project by the deadlines.

Application Process of Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge

The application process for the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is as follows:

  • You need to register as a coach on the official website and create a team of 2-8 students from grades 6-12.
  • You need to guide your team through the biomimicry project, which involves selecting a climate-related problem, researching biological models, and developing a bio-inspired design solution.
  • You need to submit your team’s project. The project should include a written overview, a projected image, a video pitch, a project portfolio, and a team photo.
  • You can find more details and guidelines on the submission page.
  • You need to wait for the judges to review your project and announce the winners. The winners will receive prizes and recognition from the Biomimicry Institute
  • Apply Now
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Themes and Impact Areas

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge tackles a wide array of themes and impact areas, allowing participants to focus on diverse challenges affecting their communities and the world at large. Some popular themes include:

Water and Resource Management: Participants explore how nature efficiently manages water, conserves resources, and recycles materials to inspire sustainable approaches in water management, waste reduction, and resource utilization.

Renewable Energy: Nature has perfected the art of harnessing energy from the sun, wind, and other sources. Participants delve into these mechanisms to design renewable energy solutions that minimize environmental impact.

Sustainable Architecture: Nature offers a plethora of ingenious architectural designs that promote energy efficiency, temperature regulation, and structural stability. Participants explore how these principles can be integrated into sustainable building practices.

Transportation and Mobility: From efficient locomotion strategies of animals to streamlined forms of plants, participants seek inspiration from nature to develop innovative, eco-friendly transportation solutions.

Agriculture and Food Systems: Nature’s agricultural practices are sustainable and regenerative. Participants explore how biomimicry can revolutionize agriculture, leading to food security and biodiversity conservation.

The Impact of Biomimicry Solutions

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge fosters a deep understanding of the delicate balance in nature and how human actions can either disrupt or complement it. The solutions generated through this challenge have the potential to address pressing global issues and pave the way for a sustainable future. By applying biomimicry principles, the designs and innovations created by young participants can lead to:

Reduced Environmental Footprint: Biomimicry-based solutions often require fewer resources and produce less waste, resulting in a reduced ecological impact compared to traditional methods.

Increased Resilience: Nature’s designs are time-tested and resilient. By imitating these designs, biomimicry solutions can adapt to changing environments and withstand unpredictable challenges.

Biodiversity Conservation: Biomimicry promotes a deep appreciation for biodiversity, inspiring participants to create solutions that protect and restore the delicate balance of ecosystems.

Community Engagement: The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge encourages community involvement, as participants often collaborate with local organizations and stakeholders to address region-specific challenges.

Education and Awareness: By engaging young minds in biomimicry, the challenge raises awareness about the importance of sustainability and the role that individuals play in shaping a greener future.


The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge stands at the forefront of sustainability education, empowering the next generation of leaders to solve complex environmental challenges through the lens of nature’s genius. By inspiring creativity, fostering collaboration, and promoting a deep connection with the natural world, this initiative creates a ripple effect of positive change that extends far beyond the competition. As the world continues to grapple with pressing ecological issues, biomimicry emerges as a beacon of hope, offering innovative solutions that are harmonious with nature and capable of steering humanity toward a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Hello, my name is Joseph Samaritan and I am a blogger who writes about various topics of interest, I have a passion for learning and sharing knowledge through my blog, I welcome feedback and comments on my posts and I look forward to engaging with you, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy reading it.


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