Each of the following questions is student created after researching problems either within our local Georgia community or worldwide.
- How might we design a water filtration device for Georgia Power to implement in the Chattahoochee River that filters out heavy metals and withstands temperature fluctuation, heavy water flow, and interaction with urban environments so that people can safely interact with the Chattahoochee?
- How might we protect the pine trees of private landowners from desiccation (the removal of moisture) by ensuring the soil can retain water in a self-sustaining way in extremely dry environments?
- How might we design living seawalls for Georgia’s coastal landowners that are cost-effective and easy to implement while using materials that can withstand turbulent underwater conditions and don’t harm the environment to protect the coastal ecosystems from erosion?
- How might we provide a solution for private landowners in the Blue Ridge Mountains that ensure the availability of a safe amount of aqueous calcium in the soil for vegetation that withstands varying temperatures, excess water, and droughts?
By using a method called “biologizing,”students ask the question “How might nature” followed by their driving question.
For example, Group 1 asks “How might nature filter heavy metals out of large quantities of water while also preserving the surrounding natural habitat?” This question drove students to research naturally occurring filtration methods in plant pieces. After studying five different species, they landed on the lilypad. “Lilypads naturally filter heavy metals through ions and cells through reverse osmosis and active transportation,” Georgia Wray Weseman explained. She and her group also spoke on the phone with different experts associated with Georgia Power. “When I called headquarters, they transferred me to one of their engineers. He told me that they had a 15-year plan to shut down many of their plants around the Chattahoochee river,” Aidan Pastush added. The group explained that even when these plants are shut down, their pollutants will still affect the river for decades to come. Therefore, more action is required to clean the metals from the area. They will submit a plan to the Biomimicry Institute to plant lilypads throughout the Chattahoochee river to combat this pollution.
- three overview questions
- a project process portfolio slide deck
- an image of the final model/prototype
- and a team photo.
The Biomimicry Institute will receive hundreds of these submissions between now and January 1, 2023. Come May 28, 2023, the institute will select first, second, and third-place winners in National and International categories. The winning teams will have their work featured on the Biomimicry Institute’s website.