Discover Nature’s Genius for Social Innovation

Discover Nature’s Genius for Social Innovation
June 6-11, 2017 | Blacktail Ranch, Wolf Creek, Montana

Join us at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains and the Montana prairie to explore biomimicry for social innovation during Biomimicry 3.8’s upcoming Discovering Nature’s Genius immersion workshop. This course is offered in partnership with Biomimicry for Social Innovation.

Through a cross-pollination of the fields of social innovation and biomimicry, this six-day immersion will explore the lessons nature has to teach us about creating a more adaptable, resilient, cooperative, and networked world. It’s a results-driven approach that’s been used by organizations of all kinds—from corporations to nonprofits to government entities—to solve some of their toughest challenges, and create a better way of doing business. Among thousands of acres under Montana’s expansive big sky, you’ll discover how nature’s genius can help grow resilient organizations and foster a regenerative society abundant with innovative leaders.

Registration is Closed

What To Expect

Every immersion workshop is tailored to the local ecosystem, ensuring each day is brimming with content and exploration. You should plan to clear your agenda and fully immerse yourself in the biomimicry experience! From our homebase of the Blacktail Ranch in central Montana, we’ll visit the sweeping Rocky Mountain Front and expansive conifer forests. We’ll be mentored by bald eagles and rainbow trout as we float the Missouri River and explore Ice Age caves as we reflect on the endurance of nature’s genius.

It makes for a jam-packed six days of full-on, biomimicry-based exploration. Click below to get an inside look at one of our immersion workshops.

Over the course of the workshop, our expert biomimicry instructors will teach participants to:

  • Practice applying biomimicry thinking toward individual and team challenges
  • Define leadership challenges for which nature’s examples can best provide solutions
  • Re-imagine organizational leadership, strategy, planning, and operations with inspiration from healthy and evolving ecosystems
  • Conduct an audit of an organization or social-change endeavor using thriving ecosystems as a guide
  • Apply the biomimicry process to model teams and organizations after healthy and evolving ecosystems and to become skillful at adaptive change
  • Be part of a diverse learning network guiding the growth of biomimetic applications for organizational development and social innovation
  • Apply design lessons from nature that can help grow resilient organizations and foster a regenerative society


What can you expect to experience while you Discover Nature’s Genius for Social Innovation in Montana? Here’s a preview of what each day will include:

Day 1: Meet the group at the Helena Airport for the shuttle to the Blacktail Ranch. Settle in at the ranch and spend the afternoon getting oriented to biological wonders of the Rocky Mountain Front while getting to know your fellow participants. We’ll provide an overview on how organizational leadership, strategy, planning and operations can draw inspiration from healthy, evolving ecosystems.

Day 2: Begin honing your observation skills during exploration of the conifer forest. Explore life’s resilience strategies in quaking aspen stands while connecting with Life’s Principles, a Biomimicry 3.8 tool that summarizes the rules for how life survives and thrives on Earth, and how our organizations and systems might too.

Day 3: Deepen your understanding of Life’s Principles as we float down the Missouri River, spotting for bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and rainbow trout. Regroup back at the the ranch and discuss the experience of abstracting Life’s Principles in the field. After dinner, we’ll look to apply those lessons through an ecosystem-audit of your own organization or social-change endeavor.

Day 4: We’ll explore an Ice Age cave for lessons on endurance, as we look to apply design lessons to help grow resilient organizations and foster a regenerative society. We’ll practice applying lessons to model teams and organizations to become skillful at adaptive change. Spend the evening sharing your team’s design ideas inspired by the day’s discoveries.

Day 5: New lessons await as we explore a riparian zone and discuss as a group the dynamics of change in nature. After lunch, spend the rest of the day on a continued journey of discovery into your selected biological phenomena and share with the group what you’ve learned and what ideas it has inspired. Give thanks to the wisdom found in this rich biome and celebrate the final evening of the workshop with the group!

Day 6: On the final day, if we haven’t yet, we’ll get to see the elusive black bear, grizzly bear, or wolf. Reflections on building the diverse learning network of practitioners of biomimicry in social innovation wraps up our time. We’ll close the workshop after lunch for you to head back to the airport… or stay in Montana to continue traveling–either way, the next biomimicry adventure awaits!


Dr. Dayna Baumeister
Biomimicry 3.8 Co-Founder

Dr. Dayna Baumeister is a world-renowned biomimicry lecturer and consultant as well as the Director of the Biomimicry Professional Certificate Program and co-director of The Biomimicry Center at ASU. With a background in biology, a devotion to applied natural history, and a passion for sharing the wonders of nature with others, Dayna has worked in the field of biomimicry with business partner Janine Benyus since 1998 as a business catalyst, educator, researcher, and design consultant. As a workshop leader, she will share her 18+ years of experience bringing biological intelligence to a wide range of audiences as well as her visionary leadership for the meme.

Toby Herzlich  
Biomimicry for Social Innovation Founder

Toby Herzlich is a leadership trainer, master facilitator, certified Biomimicry Specialist, and the founder of Biomimicry for Social Innovation. Toby is committed to the creation of a just, healthy, and regenerative society, and heartfully enthused about the transformative potential of applying nature’s wisdom to humanity’s sustainability aspirations. With more than 25 years of facilitation experience, she is a Senior Trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute, co-founder of Cultivating Women’s Leadership, and a consultant to organizations such as the Sierra Club and the AgroEcology Fund. She finds much of her purpose in catalyzing diverse networks of social change innovators, including the Young Climate Leaders, and intends to germinate a co-evolving network of leaders using nature’s intelligence as guidance and inspiration.


The all-inclusive price for the workshop includes delicious, organic and locally harvested breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks; overnight accommodations for five nights; all activities during the week; tuition and course materials; transportation from the Helena, Montana airport; and administration costs. The price varies based on the rooming type you select. All rooming types are limited and first come, first served.  See photos of the lodge and cabins on Blacktail Ranch’s website.

Shared Double or Triple Room in the main lodge | $3,475
The main lodge, built in 1928, is the center of the Blacktail Ranch and retains the rustic beauty and warmth of a traditional western lodge. Each bedroom is simply furnished with two or three beds. There are shared men’s and women’s bathrooms in the hallway.

Private Room with shared bathroom | $3,550
A private room with a queen bed in either the lodge or Raymer cabin. Bathrooms are shared.

Private Cabin en suite | $3,700
These private cabins have large bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, deluxe and comfortable beds, decks with great views, a microwave and coffee maker. Limited availability.

Registration and deadlines

Registration is now closed

In addition to a life-changing experience, immersion workshop participants also receive access to the Introduction to Biomimicry online course and earn credit toward a Biomimicry Specialist Certificate.

American white pelicans

American white pelicans

The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) are found in in wetland habitats such as rivers, estuaries, bays, marshes, lakes, and reservoirs. They can be seen during migration throughout Montana, including some breeding grounds on Montana lakes and reservoirs. We can learn plenty about cooperative behaviors from pelicans, as groups of American white pelicans cooperate while feeding. They coordinate while swimming to drive fish into the shallows where they can more easily scoop the fish up. (Photo credit: Kendal Allen / USFWS)

Limber pine

Limber pine

Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) live among dry, wind-swept, mountainous ecosystems on rocky slopes and ridges, and occasionally in subalpine areas. What can we learn from pines that live in often harsh conditions? The limber pine is a slow growing tree, but can withstand dry and windy growing situations. The young trees, especially, can withstand substantial bending along the trunk, allowing the tree to grow in avalanche areas. The branches also bend, allowing them to bend under the weight of snow without breaking. (Photo credit: US Forest Service)

Mule deer

Mule deer

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) have a wide range of habitats that vary by season. They can be found from riparian areas and grasslands to montane and subalpine coniferous forests. Among the adaptations we can learn from mule deer include the fact that their coats are made of long hollow hair with a soft dense undercoat. These layers in their coat, along with behavioral actions, allow them to stay warm even in the winter. (Photo credit: John Carr / USFWS)

This Biomimicry 3.8 immersion workshop for social innovation was just mind-blowing! It speaks to all audiences: biologists, social entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, businesses...

— — Leen Gorissen, Transition Research Coordinator, Studio Transitio, Belgium
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