Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Monday, January 24, 2011

At an Indonesian Farm, the Opportunity to Grow

Jakarta Globe, Zack Petersen | January 24, 2011

The Learning Farm, located in the hills of Cipanas, West Java, takes in young men
from disadvantaged backgrounds and teaches them all about the world of environmentally
friendly organic farming. (JG Photos/Nahil Mirpuri)

Bahagia walked away from the Learning Farm with tears in his eyes. The boy, who had once patrolled the hills of Aceh with a gun in his hands and ice-water in his veins, was inconsolable.

His throat tightened and his lips quivered after he embraced every one of his classmates — street kids and other boys from conflict areas around the country, from Aceh to Ambon — who had spent the last four months together high in the hills of Cipanas, in West Java.

He wasn’t the only one crying. With the teachers, directors, cooks and volunteers at the Learning Farm all in tears, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The Learning Farm takes troubled young men and teaches
them about agriculture, and life.
(JG Photo)
But the tears that flowed that day weren’t born of sorrow or pain.

Instead, they were the product of a monsoon of emotions that comes with the culmination of a life-changing experience.

Just four years ago, Bahagia lived deep in the misty hills of northern Sumatra.

Each morning he would wake up and reach for his rifle.

At 14, he was recruited as a foot soldier for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), a former separatist group that waged guerilla war against the Indonesian military for nearly 30 years.

Now, the 19-year-old Learning Farm graduate, who has moved on to study Arabic and English at a university in Malaysia, wakes up each day and reaches for his schoolbooks.

Bahagia’s fate was changed permanently the day he was placed at the Learning Farm by a branch of the Fajar Hidayah Foundation,

“This boy saw terrible things happen to his parents. He ran into the jungle to become a combatant,” said Johan Purnama, the avuncular executive director of the Learning Farm, who hides a heart of gold under the measured manner it takes to juggle the lives and emotions of the 54 boys currently living and working at the farm.

Like the 300 or so graduates the Learning Farm has produced over the last five years, Bahagia came to the hills of Puncak a boy and walked away a man.

The farm, about an hour-and-a-half drive south of Jakarta, was started in 2005 by World Education, a Boston-based NGO, with funds from a private donor.

The farm currently supports a class of 35 young men and 19 advanced students from every major ethnic and religious group in Indonesia.

Three times a year, boys recommended by nonprofit organizations and religious foundations across the country come to the farm to learn everything there is to know about planting, growing, packaging and distributing some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables available in West Java.

But it’s far more than a simple agriculture course. The farm provides a family, a galvanizing support system and life skills, not to mention important marketing, management, English and computer skills that will serve graduates well for the rest of their lives.

The life skills begin with planting seeds and end with packaging and selling organic vegetables.

“The reality is that, to be certified ‘organic’ in Indonesia, it costs upward of Rp 10 million [$1,100] for six months per commodity,” Johan said.

“This is prohibitively expensive. So a lot of farms just say they are organic, but really are not. There’s nobody monitoring this. With us, we very proudly guarantee 100 percent organic produce. Its what we stand for, what we teach the boys, and so we never compromise by using any chemicals whatsoever.”

Every week, the farm sends out an e-mail blast with an order form listing its available produce, everything from broccoli, sweet corn and eggplant to fresh oregano and peppermint.

Then, twice a week ,the delivery team goes door-to-door delivering organic fruits and vegetables to residents of Jakarta and Bogor.

“Knowing I am eating healthy, supporting youth development and not leaving an environmental footprint in a country where I am a visitor makes the whole eating experience much more enjoyable,” said Lucy Heffern, an American living in Jakarta.

“It’s not just food, it is a lifestyle and consumer choice I’m making.”

The next step for the Learning Farm is to start working with restaurants looking to give back and go organic.

“What we’d really like to start now is a relationship with restaurants here in Jakarta,” said Gouri Mirpuri, a board member of the Learning Farm.

“Going door-to-door is something we pride ourselves on, but building up a relationship with hotels, restaurants and supermarkets is something that would benefit our bottom line, so that we need less donor support.”

Ten boys from Merapi, three young trash pickers from Sekolah Kami (Our School) in West Bekasi and another handful of young men from conflict areas such as Ambon and Aceh make up the latest class of 15 to 24 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds who have been coming to the Learning Farm for the last five years in search of a new life.

While the farm enjoys an astounding success rate — more than 90 percent of the boys either return home to grow organic produce, start their own business or are hired by companies looking to go organic — not every graduate ends up farming.

And that’s just fine with Johan.

“Our job is to give these boys hope,” he said. “Their job is to build their own future.”

For four months, under the tutelage of Johan and the rest of the Learning Farm staff, the boys eat, sleep and breathe organic farming. They learn everything there is to know about organic practices.

For example, they learn how to plant repellent and attractant flowers around their crops and use trees that work as natural pesticides to control insect damage.

They find out how to produce environmentally friendly fertilizer.

They wash seeds using a rice water, which is high in carbohydrates that help speed up the sprouting process.

While their neighbors in Cipanas, who use pesticides and unsustainable practices, watch helplessly as their tiered planting beds erode year after year, the boys at the Learning Farm implement bedding practices that keep topsoil out of the rivers and on the one-and-a-half-hectare farm.

At night, the boys study under lights powered by solar panels and windmills. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is prepared with vegetables that had been planted by the class before them.

The farm is almost completely self-sustaining.

Two pens of goats will soon provide enough methane so that the farm will no longer have to purchase its own gas for cooking meals.

Marg Froude, an Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) volunteer, who plays the role of both a stern mother and a giving mentor, has been working with the boys at the Learning Farm for six months now.

“I’ve done a lot of work with young people in Australia,” Froude said.

“I’m a teacher. And I specialized in teaching that very difficult age group in Australia. So I was quite happy to come here and teach these boys.”

Then there’s Johan’s favorite success story, Nurkholis, a former street kid from Malang, East Java, who “consumed drugs and alcohol like they were breakfast” but now works for Green School in Bali.

Froude remembers Nurkholis with a smile.

“He had more tattoos than he did teeth,” she said. “He lost his teeth street racing on motorbikes. He was a street racer, now he’s an organic farmer. He’d broken most of the significant bones in his body and he has a serious amount of iron rods holding him together.

“At first I was really scared but it didn’t take long for me to be full of admiration for him and see what a significant change the Learning Farm had on his life.

“We organized new teeth for him and now he’s got a series of girlfriends everywhere. This place is full of nice surprises — really nice surprises.”

Nurkholis is just one example of why the Learning Farm isn’t just a place for the boys to stay for a few months and then forget the experience. The idea behind the farm is ultimately to teach the young men important life skill such as confidence and entrepreneurship.

And while Froude and Johan are glad to watch the boys walk away men, every graduation brings with it a swell of emotions.

“The graduation was one of the most emotional days I’ve ever had. … Everyone sobbed and sobbed,” Froude said.

“I misinterpreted it — I thought they were still feeling vulnerable about leaving. But I think it really indicated how strong they felt and how confident they were that they could go out and lead an independent life and not end up back on the streets.”

The Learning Farm
Karang Widya Foundation
Tel: 026 351 4840
Web site:

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The Watoto Foundation gives street children the chance to
learn skills and find work

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