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.

Join Pittsburgh’s new network of creative minds working together to strengthen the bond between people and the natural world.

Biophilia: Pittsburgh December Meeting: Describing and Supporting Learning Through Gardening

The Thurs., Dec. 7 Biophilia: Pittsburgh meeting will feature Dr. Christopher Murakami, assistant professor of agroecology at Chatham University, who will lead a discussion on "Describing and Supporting Learning Through Gardening." 

Learning gardens are sprouting up in schools throughout the country, and researchers have an ongoing need to create a system to document, describe and support the multidimensional learning that gardening offers. In this discussion, Chris will focus on his recent publication in The Journal of Environmental Education and will address other topics related to designing engaging learning experiences for gardeners from early childhood through adulthood.

Chris earned his doctorate in learning, teaching and curriculum with an emphasis in sceince education from the University of Missouri and recently relocated to the Pittsburgh area. He is interested in how people learn through their experiences with food and how people learn to participate in food system transformation. He is a faculty member in the Chatham University Food Studies program and manages the agroecology demonstration garden on Chatham's Eden Hall Campus

Meeting Schedule

5:30 – 6 p.m.            Networking and refreshments
6 – 6:30 p.m.            Presentation
6:30 – 7:30 p.m.       Discussion

Meetings are free to attend; however, advance registration is required. To R.S.V.P., please send us an email or sign up on our Meetup page


Discover Our Additional Resources

Biophilia: Pittsburgh meets monthly at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes classroom at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens where, over delicious small-plates and light refreshments, a discipline or behavior is identified — often by an expert guest speaker — and discussed among the participants in the interest of sharing ideas and identifying opportunities. 


Directions and Parking 

Meetings take place in the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) Classroom which is located on the facility’s first floor. The main Conservatory entrance will be closed, as these meetings take place after normal business hours; to access the CSL, follow Frew Street (located between the Oakland/Schenley Park bridge and the Christopher Columbus statue), which will take you around the Conservatory to the lower campus. Guest parking spaces are available on your left as you approach the CSL.


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.

Photo © Paul g. Wiegman, Phipps staff