Edmonds Heights K-12 students win first place environmental design award

Annika Johnson and Kellen Osborne-McKenna. (Image courtesy Edmonds School District)

Edmonds Heights K-12 students Annika Johnson and Kellen Osborne-McKenna recently won first place in the high school division of a national biomimicry competition.

The school, located in Edmonds, draws students from across the Edmonds School District.

Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges in a regenerative way.

“That almost guarantees (it’s) an eco-friendly solution,” said Osborne-McKenna, a freshman.

The Biomimicry Institute sponsored the 2021-2022 Youth Design Challenge, inviting projects from around the United States. Johnson and Osborne-McKenna won in the high school division.

The two focused their efforts on Shelleberger Creek in Edmonds, which runs along property belonging to someone they know.

“It was getting really bad flooding so we figured it would be a great place to start,” Johnson said.

Their design solution for the competition consisted of the strategic use of mangrove trees and beaver dams.

Parent-teachers April Osborne and Jennifer Johnson oversaw their students’ efforts.

Osborne says the United Nations provided much of the impetus for the Biomimicry Institute, with a focus on sustainable development and climate change.

“I learned how to do interviews with people,” Osborne-McKenna said. “We’d go out and actually talk to people and coordinatie questions. That’s a great skill to have. Also, I learned some skills making videos.”

Annika Johnson, a sophomore, said she learned to talk to strangers and conduct interviews. “I also learned some art techniques like drawing and design, and perspective.”

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