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BIONEERS: Annual Conference 2017

Founded in 1990 in Santa Fe, New Mexico by social entrepreneurs Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. A celebration of the genius of nature and human ingenuity, Bioneers connects people with breakthrough solutions and each other.

Our acclaimed annual national and local conferences are complemented by extensive media outreach including an award-winning radio series, book series, and role in media projects such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour. Our programs further focus on Women’s Leadership, Indigenous Wisdom, Community Resilience Networks, and Leadership Development and Youth.


Webinar Recap: Calling in Nature as Our Teacher


Nature is a master teacher when it comes to collaboration and convening., together with environmental and social change convener Bioneers and ecovillage incubator VillageLab, recently hosted a webinar that explored "Calling in Nature as Our Teacher: How Nature Works." Experts shared insights on how to tap into nature’s innate wisdom and how the principles of biomimicry relate to convening.

Emily Ryan, Bioneers conference liaison, and Jamaica Stevens, VillageLab consultant, led a conversation that covered existing biomimicry research that points to lessons in building strong networks, while sharing examples of resilient global networks.

The webinar began with a brief introduction to modern biomimicry teachings, which promote the view that nature is our teacher and that all humans can tap into an innate wisdom that can reframe how we work together and how we look at organizations; by learning from the wisdom of biological systems, and wisdom within, we can create and maintain resilient networks as an essential expertise of the natural world.

Attendees were then invited to participate in a brief meditation, followed by a dialogue on the principles of “bio-reintegration” -- a realignment to what humans mean to this planet, and what nature can teach us about how it solves problems. This wisdom can be applied to everything from organizing an impact convening to solving global problems.

During the hour-long webinar, Ryan shared an anecdote of ancient tree systems: studies have found that in ancient forests, trees are interconnected through mycelial fungus that support a trees' natural cooperative systems. In tree communities, resources are shared, and when one tree does well, the whole system thrives.

Ryan highlighted that this collective ecosystem model benefits all organizations.

“We thrive and uplift when we build. We all benefit when we all thrive,” Ryan shared.  

To continue this thread,, Bioneers and VillageLab will host a daylong session on how to reawaken our own capacities and wisdom in order to support impact-driven work (details to come). The group will also invite webinar attendees to create an open-source list of related books, websites, models, and convening approaches that will be shared with this community; a link to that resource will be added to this post when it becomes available.