Bird Sanctuary

Spectacular flying displays with Eagles, Falcons, and Condor

Experience the quickness of the Peregrine Falcon, the manoeuvrability of a Saker Falcon, Eagles swooping from great heights, the agility of kites, buzzards and other hawks, in the beautiful countryside of Thuringia, in the Ilmtal.

In Kranichfeld, you and your children can learn many interesting facts about the life and behaviour of birds of prey.

A special feature is the fabled Andean Condor. The Giant Eagle, the largest Eagle in the world, is the most impressive attraction in the flight demonstration.

Founded in 1992 at Castle Greifenstein in bad Blankenburg and moved in the year 2005 to Niederburg castle in Kranichfeld, Weimar: Tuesday to Sunday and all holidays.

Source: Der erste Thüringer Adler- und Falkenhof – ANTENNE THÜRINGEN


Work less, help the environment and foster connections by just saying no to typical turf

What is beautiful in nature can be quite subjective.

Beauty in the desert Southwest is different than in New England.

Ideas of beauty are based on regional, native, wild habitats, and personal experiences living in those places that define cultural and personal ideals. It does not matter whose idea is “better” or “right,” only that those beliefs lead to healthy people, plants and wildlife.

All gardeners have choices that lead to the well being of all life under our care, including our own.

Do you wish to be in the lawn, or the garden? Or is the juxtaposition of the two somehow enticing?

What design elements can you use to invite people into nature? How can you create an ecosystem landscape that requires little maintenance and relies on nature to do the work of pest and disease control?

If you enjoy seeing butterflies, birds and bees, then having a diversity of flowers is key.

Have you heard of nature deficit disorder? Can you identify the call of a robin or blue jay? Can you identify an oak tree?

Source: The Case for Losing the Traditional Lawn

After the publication of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” in 2005, author Richard Louv and others co-founded the Children & Nature Network, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fuel the worldwide grassroots movement to reconnect children with nature.

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in and so out of touch with the natural world.

In this ground breaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation. He calls it nature deficit.


“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

Considered to be one of the greatest odes in the English language, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” was not well received by contemporary critics.

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunt about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal – yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Source: Ode on a Grecian Urn Poem by John Keats – Analysis

Keats was influenced by examples of existing Greek vases. In this poem, he described an ideal artistic type, rather than a specific original vase.

‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ was one of the five odes written in 1819 by John Keats exploring his contemplations about relationships between the soul, eternity, nature, and art.

Thinking about these relationships inspired Friedrich Froebel to design play materials and activities for children, families and communities. Kindergarten was based on these relationships to provide ways for the natural activity of each child to direct individual development and learning, by doing and thinking.

After the domination of Europe by Napoleon from around 1800 to 1814, diplomats from all of the Great Powers met at the Congress of Vienna with the hope of creating a stable Europe. Students and intellectuals wanted to change the world for the better.

Liberal, progressive, fervently Christian and highly educated, Alexander I, Czar of Russia saw himself as an “enlightened despot” or a “philosopher-king” able introduce reforms in the best interest of everyone. Czar Alexander found that granting constitutions and self government to people enabled them to sometimes do things, with which he disagreed.

Maria von Trapp

Maria was teaching children at Nonnberg, when Captain Georg von Trapp needed a teacher for one of his daughters, who was of delicate health.

Her book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers was adapted to create The Sound of Music.

The original Broadway production of The Sound of Music opened on November 16, 1959 starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel.
The original Broadway production of The Sound of Music opened on November 16, 1959 starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel.

The Real Story of the von Trapp Family

Nonnberg was established during the eight century and became the first Benedictine Abbey north of the Alps. Maria was a qualified teacher, when Captain von Trapp requested a governess for several months for his daughter, who was bedridden with rheumatic fever. She expected to remain with the von Trapp family for 10 months, at the end of which she would return to Nonnberg.

Teacher training in Austria was deeply influenced by the ideas of Friedrich Froebel. Singing and nature walks were part of this training to nurture each child to be active and develop an interest in nature.

Maria developed a caring and loving relationship with all the children. She enjoyed singing with them and getting them involved in outdoor activities. During this time, Georg fell in love with Maria and asked her to stay with him and become a second mother to his children. Maria married Captain von Trapp on November 26, 1927.

Georg Johannes Ritter von Trapp (4 April 1880 – 30 May 1947) was born in Zara, Dalmatia, then a Crown Land of the Austro Hungarian Empire (present day Zadar, Croatia). His father was a naval officer, who had been elevated to the Austrian nobility in 1876, which entitled him and his descendants to the style of “Ritter von Trapp” for sons and “von Trapp” for daughters.

Ritter (knight) was an hereditary title of nobility. In order of precedence Ritter ranked above the lowest rank of the nobility, Edler (nobleman), and below Freiherr (baron).

The great grandchildren of the Captain and Maria von Trapp; Sofi, Melanie, Amanda, and August von Trapp have been singing on stages around the world to critical acclaim and packed houses.

Take down those old drapes and make some play clothes. A new production of The Sound of Music began touring in September 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.

Chelsea Flower Show

designers focus on gardening and wellbeing

Ann-Marie Powell has created a colourful garden design with bright borders to lift the spirits, benches to relax and share a chat on, soothing water features, a bee friendly perennial meadow, edible plants in pots and a stylish kitchen garden.

“Gardens and gardening do more good to heart and soul than they are ever given credit for. It is important that my interpretation on a front garden theme is full of take home ideas. Too many people are paving over their front gardens but anybody can have a beautiful front garden.”

This garden is intended to build awareness of the positive healing effects that gardening can have on people’s health and happiness. Her ideas are designed to be incorporated in both private and community gardens.

Health, happiness and healing gardens

Friedrich Froebel included a garden for children in the first Kindergarten

Creative Ideas

The Concept and the Plan

“Conceive the buildings in imagination, not first on paper but in the mind, thoroughly, before touching paper. Let the building, living in imagination, develop gradually, taking more and more definite form before committing it to the drafting board. When the thing sufficiently lives for you then start to plan it with instruments, not before. To draw during the conception or sketch, as we say, experimenting with practical adjustments to scale, is well enough if the concept is clear enough to be firmly held meantime. But it is best always thus to cultivate the imagination from within. Construct and complete the building so far as you can before going to work on it with T square and triangle. Working with triangle and T square should be only to modify or extend or intensify or test the conception; finally to correlate the parts in detail.”

“If original concept is lost as the drawing proceeds, throw away all and begin afresh. To throw away a concept entirely to make way for a fresh one, that is a faculty of the mind not easily cultivated. Few architects have that capacity. It is perhaps a gift, but may be attained by practice. What I am trying to express is the fact that the plan is the gist of all truly creative matter and must gradually mature as such.”

“In the logic of the plan what we call standardization is seen to be fundamental groundwork in architecture. All things in nature exhibit this tendency to crystallize; to form mathematically and then to conform, as we may easily see. There is the fluid, elastic period of becoming, as in the plan, when possibilities are infinite. New effects may then originate from the idea or principle that conceives. Once form is achieved, however, that possibility is dead so for as it is a positive creative flux”.

From The Architectural Record, January, February, 1928

The secret is to conceive the building in the mind, not on paper, until it is complete in the mind.

This book has the secret of creative ideas in Mr. Wright’s own words.

How and from where does the idea come?

Mr. Wright said, “You won’t find me sitting at a drawing board trying to design something.”

Mr. Wright said go and do other work. As you learn how to receive and allow the solution to develop in your mind, you can solve any problem.

There has long been a need for a compact volume which would survey the immense range of Frank Lloyd Wright’s lifework. This book has been designed to fill that need. The achievement of the master architect is here presented in his own words and works – the text complemented by more than 150 illustrations, a rich abundance of drawings, photographs, plans and sketches from the early 1890’s to 1959. In addition, the book includes the first comprehensive list of Frank Lloyd Wright’s executed buildings now standing, keyed to a map of the United States.


X-ray and chemical testing confirm this dagger, found on the body of Tutankhamun, contained high levels of iron and nickel as well as cobalt, leading researcher to conclude it was consistent with the make up of meteorites.

Tutankhamun has become famous since the discovery in 1922 of his tomb.
Tutankhamun has become famous since the discovery in 1922 of his tomb.

The iron blade puzzled researchers because ironwork was rare in ancient Egypt.

The high quality of the blade suggests that Tutankhamun, who lived during the latest stage of the Bronze Age, was supported by skilled ironworkers.

Source: Dagger in Tutankhamun’s tomb was made with iron from a meteorite


‘The cocoa is too hot, I cannot drink it!’, Charlotte exclaims during morning tea.

Emily, her teacher, smiles and responds ‘I am not sure what to do. Do you have an idea how you could cool it down as fast as possible?’

Ben suggests: ‘Why don’t you stir the cocoa really fast? This always helps when I do it.’

‘I have an even better idea!’, Ben’s friend Julia says, ‘You could blow into it!’

‘Well, I think these are some pretty good ideas!’, Emily says, ‘Charlotte, why don’t we ask the other children about their ideas and we try to find out what works best?’

Learning opportunities like this arise in early childhood settings every single day. Based on the strong belief that children need to have early opportunities to discover the world, the ‘Little Scientists’ professional development program supports education and care services in integrating inquiry and exploration into daily activities.

‘Little Scientists’ strongly advocates that every child should have access to hands on discovery in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – on a daily basis.

To enable a sustainable implementation, the initiative offers a professional development workshop program for early childhood educators. During the full day workshop, teachers and educators explore various opportunities to playfully address the many exciting questions that arise within a child’s experiential world.

Through hands on, practical experiments and group activities, the educators experience education on an age-appropriate level and learn how to support children in finding answers themselves. All workshops are built around using existing, everyday materials, to make experimenting and exploring at the education and care services as accessible as possible. Once completed, teachers can then – step-by-step – implement the activities with the children in their care.

The ‘Little Scientists’ program includes:

  • A long-term program of currently 9 different workshop topics.
  • Hands-on workshops with several rounds of practical experiments which are done with everyday materials and can easily be adjusted to the work in centres.
  • Having fun while exploring given materials in small groups. Participants experience the stages of surprise, asking questions, coming up with hypotheses, testing these in further experiments, documenting findings and discussing the outcomes, much like what the children will experience.
  • Getting to know and use the ‘Little Scientists’ Inquiry-Based Learning Cycle, a scientific method which helps to give structure and purpose to experimenting and lays the foundation for further investigation.
  • After every workshop, each participating centre receives a set of laminated cards with a wealth of ideas for experiments and scientific background information as well as a booklet with the educational content addressed in the workshop.

The holistic approach of the program not only encourages scientific exploration, but also aims at ensuring the development of basic competencies for sustained lifelong learning.

German educator Friedrich Froebel opened the world’s first kindergarten in 1837. Froebel’s method inspired and informed the work of Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, and others, who adopted his ideas and adapted his materials according to their own work.

‘Little Scientists’ initiative – Scientific exploration for young children


His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales sends an inspiring message about how we can change the course of environmental destruction by living in harmony with Nature.

In an adaptation of his adult book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World for young readers, The Prince shares how many years of research have led him to a series of holistic solutions for change. He encourages global citizens of all ages to search for a harmonious balance with Nature in order to solve the greatest crisis in modern history, the survival of our planet.


Restored wetlands along the north side the Latrobe River near Sale in Gippsland, Australia are bursting with birdlife and sprouting new native vegetation.

Freckled ducks in flight

Fauna ecologists have been delighted by the discovery of growling grass frogs and green and golden bell frogs.

Green and golden bell frog

Five years ago the paddocks at the historic Swing Bridge were a barren dust bowl. Bad seasons, bad management and bad luck had turned a spectacular mix of land and water into a barren, featureless plain where only the strongest river red gums battled through those years. Clear waterways, tangled with debris from storms, deteriorated to swamp.


The Swing Bridge, on the Latrobe River south of Sale, carried the road to the south, while giving large lakes vessels access into the Port of Sale.

The Swing Bridge is now preserved as an historically important structure, while traffic crosses on a new bridge a little upstream.