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 July Meeting: 16,000 Years of Evidence from the Meadowcroft Rockshelter

Join us on Thurs., July 5 for a discussion on the storied past of Meadowcroft Rockshelter. In 1955, a local farmer found Native American artifacts excavated by a groundhog high above the banks of Cross Creek near Avella in Washington County. The University of Pittsburgh began professionally excavating this site in 1973 and subsequent radiocarbon dating conducted by the Smithsonian Institution placed the earliest human occupation of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter at 16,000 years ago. In this illustrated talk, Meadowcroft Rockshelter Director David Scofield will share the story of the discovery of this National Historic Landmark and discuss the significance of the evidence uncovered during the archaeological excavations, including what that evidence teaches us about the lives of the Upper Ohio Valley’s prehistoric people and the natural resources that sustained them.  

Meet the Speaker
David Scofield is the director of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in Avella, Washington County. He began his 30-year museum career as a demonstrating craftsman at Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he practiced the 18th century trades of blacksmithing, carpentry, joinery and white oak basket making. After working to develop a turn-of-the-century living history farm as a North Carolina state historic site, he moved to western Pennsylvania in 1993 to be part of the Heinz History Center’s effort to develop the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. David is an obsessed falconer who lives in Washington, Pennsylvania with Elizabeth (his patient and understanding wife), Grace (their youngest of three children) and his red-tailed hawk.  

Meeting Schedule

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