The Garden of Secrets


"Through millions of years of evolution, the structures and processes of organisms have resolved many of the engineering and environmental challenges facing the modern world–we just need to look, observe, and learn."


“We’re in a period right now where it’s the responsibility of each person who cares about passing on a beautiful, resilient, healthy planet, to get out on the streets and fight for it.”


2020 Fast Company World Changing
Ideas Awards Honoree

Creativity Finalist: 

Honoring world changing creative projects that

help explain and publicize global problems and solutions.

Education Finalist: 

Honoring companies or initiatives that help

inspire better and more equitable learning.

Special Thanks to Our Partners

Ask Nature: Alexandra Ralevski

Biomimicry 3.8 & Singularity University: Leon Wang

Bullitt Foundation: Mary McNair

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum: Matilda McQuaid

New York Botanical Garden: Barbara A. Ambrose

Tree of 40 Fruits: Sam Van Aken

UC Berkeley: Philip B. Stark

Warwick University: David Towers, Adrian Seymour, Martin Millson, Peter Meesum, Jim Smith, Ian Brown, Graham Canham, Charles Joyce, Amy Hamson, Rachel Grimes, James Hudson, Mark Hewson.


In a changing world, how we design and build matters. Lightweight superstructures, energy efficient buildings, regenerative surfaces - nature has a solution for that.

Constant surface stress in nature is beneficial for reducing use of materials and increasing durability. Discover how biomimetic architecture reflects this principle.

Dr. Wanda Lewis discusses how form finding can help architects and engineers find the optimal shape for their structure.

Biomimicry champion Michael Pawlyn discusses how he brought biomimicry into even the smallest aspect of his work and in the process, created an incredibly efficient structure.

Michael Pawlyn shares the story of designing The Eden Project, the world’s largest greenhouse, which, thanks to biomimicry, is also the most efficient.

Michael Pawlyn urges designers, architects and engineers to look to nature, so that they can find solutions, be problem solvers, and help us live in a more sustainable world.

One of the founders of Earth Day in North America, Denis Hayes shares what it took to get the event off the ground, and the epiphany that led him to a life dedicated to the environment.

Robert Lang is a physicist as well as a celebrated origami artist, theorist and author, here he explains step one in his approach to origami design – looking to nature.

Inventor of waterproof surfaces and Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor Jas Pal Badyal and his students have used biomimicry to create amazing innovations that are changing the world.

Michael Pawlyn breaks the myth that it costs more to be environmentally conscious. In fact, it is often just the opposite.

Located in Seattle, The Bullitt Center is the world’s most sustainable commercial building. Denis Hayes, President of the Bullitt Foundation discusses what makes it run so efficiently.

Professor Jas Pal Badyal has been celebrated for his many innovations in bio inspired surfaces, success he attributes to his students.


Ethical nature-based design considers nature as a client, not just the inspiration.

Award-winning horticulturalist, writer and plantsman Dan Hinkley discusses the feeling of stumbling upon a rare plant that you never thought you would find.

Plantsman Dan Hinkley discusses a unique form of biomimicry, in which orchids impersonate insects, and the amazing oddities that exist in the plant world.

UBC Botanical Garden’s Douglas Justice discusses the importance of biodiversity to the health of our planet, and the ways that plastic is putting that diversity in danger.

Curator and Horticulturist at UBC Botanical Garden, Andy Hill has worked in the garden for many years and seen designers and artists come to the garden to make new discoveries.

Professor of Evolutionary Processes in Plants Loren Rieseberg discusses how losing biodiversity means more plant species locally, but less globally.

Canada Research Chair in Plant Evolutionary Genomics Loren Rieseberg discusses the current extinction crisis we are in and the devastating consequences as a result of losing plant species.

Dr. Robert Lang is a celebrated origami artist, theorist, author and NASA physicist, who finds that looking closely at nature around him often inspires his best work.

Walk with Christine Lintott as she demonstrates first-hand how one takes a nature bath, for reinvigoration and inspiration.

Architect, business leader, and environmentalist Christine Lintott discusses how looking to nature has led her to better business practices.

Partner at PFS Studio Architects, Kelty McKinnon has spent much of her career learning from nature and applying it to city planning, and urges other architects to do so as well.

Hear from experts including designers, artists, and engineers who have all looked to botanical gardens for inspiration beyond their edible, aromatic, and medicinal properties.

UBC Botanical Garden helps preserve biodiversity. In this insight, Curator and Horticulturist Andy Hill discusses how important that preservation is.

Biologist and Biomimicry expert Dimitri Smirnoff urges us to look to plants fo answers, before the plants are gone.

Kelty McKinnon, partner at PFS Studio Architects has worked on a number of large scale city planning projects in Vancouver and Toronto, and is always inspired by nature.


Biology, with out it biomimicry is just a concept. Fundamentally understanding the science behind the most intricate inner-workings of nature allows us to truly create in nature's image.

Douglas Justice discusses the interesting history of Wolfsbane during a walking tour of UBC Botanical Gardens.

In “The Martian” the biologist got to be the star. In this clip Plantsman, Alec Mackenzie discusses his take on the film and whether life on Mars is a viable option.

While you may already know about the bur and sunflower insights that are applied to technology, it makes them no less fascinating and valuable to share with others.

Richard Piacentini, CEO and President of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, discusses the unique history and important future of botanical gardens.

Biomimicry expert Dimitri Smirnoff discusses the process designers can use to implement solutions from nature, such as trees ability to adapt to wind when designing buildings.

Canada-Wide Science Fair Gold Medalist Grant Mansiere was given the opportunity to present his work to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the first ever Prime Minister’s Science fair.