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 October Meeting: A Fungus Among Us!

Join us on Thurs., Oct. 4 as speaker Dr. Cori Richards-Zawacki of the University of Pittsburgh discusses what frogs and their fight against chytridiomycosis can teach us about ecology, evolution and climate change. Amphibians are arguably the most threatened group of vertebrates on Earth. Many of the threats amphibians face — such as habitat loss and degredation and introduced species — affect other animal groups as well. However, the magnitude of threat that disease poses to amphibians is unique. The fungal disease chytridiomycosis threatens hundreds of amphibian species worldwide and has even caused species extinctions. Dr. Richards-Zawacki's lab at the University of Pittsburgh conducts research that aims to understand the ecology of this host-pathogen interaction and what can be done to promote the welfare of at-risk amphibian populations. Discover how collaborations with artists, educators and the public have helped Dr. Richards-Zawacki and her colleagues communicate their science to a broad audience and develop new research tools for amphibian conservation.

Meet the Speaker

Dr. Cori Richards-Zawacki is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and the director of the Pymatuning Lab of Ecology, Pitt's biological field station in northwest Pennsylvania. Her research interests are broad, including many aspects of the ecology, evolution and conservation of amphibians (and occasionally other taxa). She grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan. She has held positions at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama; The University of California, Berkeley; and Tulane University. When not "sciencing," she can be found enjoying Pittsburgh's many parks, museums and neighborhood events with her husband and two girls.

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 

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.

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