Introducing NatureMaker

Published Jan. 15, 2020
Updated Oct. 18, 2021

a photo of butterflies, part of the natural collection at NatureMaker A new library resource has landed at The Biomimicry Center at ASU with the goal of supporting and inspiring sustainable thinking and biomimetic design through the use of field kits, natural artifacts and a space wholly devoted to nature.

NatureMaker, which launches January 22, aims to provide resources for the ASU community to use for their own nature studies as a way of arriving at sustainable solutions.

Both a space and a resource, NatureMaker features an altogether new library collection that is organized by function and includes such things as shells, seeds, skulls, feathers, a turkey beard, butterflies and a whale vertebrae.

"NatureMaker is a way of re-imagining what you can do in a library," said Debra Riley-Huff, Head of the Humanities Division in the ASU Library. "It's a space where you can see what innovation looks like up close."

Naturemaker will host an open house on Jan. 22.

NatureMaker will launch its Nature@Noon series and host a lecture by guests of the 
Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab on Jan. 23.


Nowhere is innovation more apparent than in the natural world. 

"Nature solves its own problems. We can learn from this," says Adelheid ("Heidi") Fischer, Assistant Director of The Biomimicry Center. "This space is intended to get you thinking in a new way. Nature is really a mindset."

Biomimicry is the study and use of nature's patterns and designs to create sustainable solutions that are nature-inspired and thus healthy for the planet. The Biomimicry Center at ASU was created in 2014 to do this very thing. Last year, the center received $40,000 in seed funding from the ASU Library to develop NatureMaker, which will offer workshops, training and space for people to come and see how nature can help them solve their challenge.

Activated for careful looking and observing, NatureMaker is a space in which blue mussels can help you re-think the process of adhesion. Students are invited to view materials under magnification, explore the natural collection, or just sit and reflect on what they're seeing and touching.

"We wanted to provide the conditions that are conducive to innovation," says Fischer. "NatureMaker is a space that can give you a leg up on your research or open you up to the possibilities."