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 May Meeting: Acting with Urgency to Protect Disappearing Greenspace

Join us on Thurs., May 2 at Café Phipps with Tom Dougherty of Allegheny Land Trust, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to "helping local people save local land." Tom will discuss how precious greenspace is declining under a withering and often irresponsible trend of over-development. This talk will address this alarming issue to Allegheny County and what you can do to help. The organization has protected more than 2,500 acres of greenspace in 29 municipalities in Allegheny County over the past 25 years and is working with great urgancy to ramp up its conservation efforts in the face of unsustainable urban sprawl.

Meet the Speaker

Tom Dougherty is a 32-year marketing, business development and management professional and a life-long conservation and outdoor recreation advocate. He joined Allegheny Land Trust as vice president of development and external affairs in January of 2017 and is responsible for building greater awareness of ALT’s brand and expanding its base of support among individual, foundation, corporate and public constituencies. He redirected his career based solely on his deeply-held belief that ALT’s mission of helping local people save local land is vital to the quality of life in our region today and for future generations. Prior to joining ALT, Tom was Director of Marketing at PPG Industries, where for 13 years he led the development and execution of brand marketing campaigns for the company’s North American architectural coatings business. Prior to PPG, Tom worked in both the agency and corporate side of marketing with several other organizations including and the H.J. Heinz Company. A Pittsburgh area native, Tom has been a supporter, volunteer and board member of several nonprofit conservation and trail organizations throughout his career. An avid runner, hiker and biker, he and his family can frequently be found on the area’s trails, park lands and waterways. 

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

Designed as a series of posts on the Phipps blog and a hashtag for use on Twitter and Instagram#bioPGH is a new social call-to-action for people throughout the region to more closely examine the beauty and importance of the nature around them.

The Biophilic Mind is a blog focused on presenting primary-source articles at the intersection of human health and the natural world. The Biophilic Mind aims to highlight high quality, recent research about the connections between well-being and nature.

Inspired by the Biophilic Cities initiative, the Biophilia: Pittsburgh Directory seeks to present an overview of the biophilic organizations, events, activities and projects in Pittsburgh, to aid the public in enhancing their connections to nature and discovering collaborative opportunities. 

In this archive, you may access presentation materials and video recordings from previous installments of our monthly Biophilia: Pittsburgh meeting series. Additions will be made often, so visit regularly for the latest materials to deepen your Biophilia: Pittsburgh experience.

Biophilia: Pittsburgh meets monthly at Café Phipps 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