Biomimicry Design Inspired by Tree Observations on a Frosty Morning

I love frosty mornings when everything is covered with sugary ice. The garden reminds me of Sleeping Beauty. The world has gone into a long much-needed rest to breathe and gather strength. But there is actually plenty of life, beauty and wonder even on a frosty cold winter morning.

The core of biomimicry is to observe nature. It takes time and patience to learn to listen and learn from animals, plants and fungi. Nature does not always reveal its strategies and functions easily. Functions and strategies are fundamental to biomimicry practice.

Wintery trees with their bare branches are perfect for studying in the winter. Trees are the lungs of the natural world but how do trees without any leaves breathe in the winter?

How has the tree adapted to the cold weather?

What happens to the roots?

Are the roots dormant during the winter?

A function is the purpose of something and an organism meets its functional needs through biological strategies. In biomimicry, functions can refer to either the role played by an organism’s adaptations or behaviours that enable it to survive. But function can also refer to something that your design solution should do. A biological strategy is the adaptations that the organism has made to survive.

When kids are inventing something inspired by nature you could ask them what they want their design to do. Try to shift the focus from what you are making to what functions you are designing something for.

“What do you wish that your design can do?”

Tree shapes have inspired many designs such as homes, concert halls and public spaces. Many of these are bioinspired designs rather than biomimicry.

Ask yourself what a design inspired by trees in winter would do.

Would it be able to preserve the energy and wake up on demand during certain types of weather. This design could be inspired by the roots of deciduous trees in the winter. Most roots remain mostly inactive during winter but they can function and grow whenever soil temperatures are favourable. The roots can grow and develop even if the air above the ground is very cold. The roots are resting by they are always prepared. Another idea might be a house that can react to earthquakes.

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