What we're about

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Biophilia: Pittsburgh is the pilot chapter for a global Biophilia Network of creative minds dedicated to strengthening the bond between people and the natural world through education, discussion and action.

Our Goals

• To welcome and inspire others with the concept and principles of biophilia
• To foster collaboration and learning between professionals from a wide variety of disciplines
• To communicate biophilic principles in action-oriented ways to a wider audience for exponential and regional impact

What Is Biophilia?

The term “biophilia,” which literally means “love of life,” was coined by social psychologist Erich Fromm and popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson, who defined it as “the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms.”

The implications of biophilia extend across a vast array of disciplines including design and engineering, nutrition, psychology, public health, education, biology and the humanities. Biophilia is expressed all over the world every day, through complex collaborations such as the design and construction of buildings and landscapes; and intimate, personal encounters including nature hikes and home gardening.

What Will We Do?

It all starts with good conversation! Biophilia: Pittsburgh will begin by meeting monthly at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes classroom at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Over delicious small-plates and light refreshments, a discipline or behavior will be identified — often by an expert guest speaker — and discussed among the participants in the interest of sharing ideas and identifying opportunities. With your direction, we hope to expand the schedule to include off-site trips to biophilic regional destinations like nature preserves, green buildings, and urban gardens, and to plan and enact initiatives in our own community to make things better for people and the planet. Join the movement!

Upcoming events (1)

Biophilia: Pittsburgh June Meeting: Urban Soils

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Join us on Thurs., June 6 at Café Phipps with Jonathan Burgess of the Allegheny County Conservation District. This talk will summarize the Conservation District’s role in regulating and testing soils, the potential value and risks soils carry in the urban environment, how common sampling and assessments are conducted, and what strategies are being employed in restoring or improving their functions and performance. In cities like Pittsburgh, industrial histories can leave an additional legacy of contamination and other impacts that need to be assessed and addressed. Meet the Speaker Jonathan Burgess is the programs and policy director at the Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD), where he oversees soil, water and agricultural programming. In 2016, he founded the District’s Urban Soils Program, which provides free soil lead testing and mapping services to community organizations and greenspace initiatives. Additionally, ACCD has conducted several research projects regarding the extent and concentration of urban soil contamination and health across the Pittsburgh region. Jon currently leads the Urban Soils Working Group, an interdisciplinary collaborative that partnered with Phipps on the inaugural Three Rivers Urban Soil Symposium in 2018, as well as the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council’s Urban Ag Working Group. His educational background combines geology and natural resource management with public policy. Meeting Schedule 5:30 – 6 p.m. — Networking and refreshments 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Presentation 6:30 – 7 p.m. — Discussion Directions and Parking The meeting will take place at Café Phipps, and entry will be available through the main Conservatory entrance at our Welcome Center. Guest parking spaces will be available at the parking island on Schenley Drive.

Past events (96)

Environmental Film Series: Once Was Water

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Photos (25)