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Hands-on Learning


On the occasion of the 50th Jubilee of the MERIAN School, our pupils from all classes focused intensively on the work and life of our patron Maria Sibylla Merian. The older pupils visited the "Meriangarten" at the Kaiserburg in Nuremberg and were impressed by Merian’s former home. They were particularly fascinated by the detailed drawings of caterpillars, butterflies and flowers that the artist made during her time in Nuremberg when she was investigating nature.

Already in spring 2017, Merian pupils and their teachers together with BUND Naturschutz, Mr. and Mrs. Lölhöffel and SÖR (municipal service company for the public Space) had planted a Merian bed in the medical herb garden at Hallertor. When they met again in the garden, the pupils and teachers expressed their wish to provide with their own school garden an even better habitat for insects and butterflies.

During a project day in April, a butterfly bed, our so-called “Merianin Beet” was planted with various herbs and nectar plants that can positively support the healthy development of the butterflies. We received active and financial support from the company Novartis. We also used brochures and literature to find out which butterfly species and moths are indigenous here to our region.

At the same time, our first year students dealt comprehensively with the topic "Metamorphosis: from caterpillar to butterfly". The development of a caterpillar into a butterfly was worked out in a playful way with pictures and signs from the book of Aid for Augmentative Communication: “The Always Hungry Caterpillar” as well as singing the song with the same title. . Pictures of the development stages were pasted into worksheets.

In art lessons, the pupils created colourful caterpillars and butterflies from a variety of materials. In the school garden, they seeded a butterfly meadow. Fortunately, we got the opportunity at the beginning of June to take part in an environmental education programme with Mr Mümmler. He came to class with real eggs and caterpillars of thistle butterflies and with illustrative models. The caterpillars remained in a container with food paste in the classroom. This allowed the pupils to observe the development of the caterpillars "live" in their classroom over several days until they developed into complete thistle butterflies. Due to the warm temperatures, the butterflies even hatched a few days earlier than expected. Of course, these butterflies were finally released into the wild in the school garden.

The enthusiasm of the Merian pupils for these projects was still evident weeks later. On excursions and forest walks, they scanned their surroundings like "detectives" and eagerly kept an eye out for these fascinating creatures.

Text: Silke Probst (supervising teacher at the Merian School in charge of this project)

Merian Bed at Hallertorzwinger


Zum Jubiläumsjahr von Maria Sibylla Merian hat die Kreisgruppe Nürnberg des BUND Naturschutz zusammen mit der Merianschule im Jahr 2017 im Heilkräutergarten am Hallertor ein Schmetterlings- und Insektenbeet angelegt. Neben Nektarpflanzen für die Schmetterlinge wurde vor allem an Fresspflanzen für Raupen gedacht. Während die erwachsenen Tiere meist nicht wählerisch bei der Nahrungssuche sind, haben sich Raupen oft stark spezialisiert. Würde man zum Beispiel die meist unerwünschten Brennnesseln ausrotten, dann hätten es solch schöne Falter wie das Tagpfauenauge und der Kleine Fuchs sehr schwer. Denn ihre Raupen fressen fast ausschließlich an Brennnesseln.

At the inauguration ceremony of the Merian Bed, a wonderful cooperation between the Bund Naturschutz and Margot Lölhöffel was initiated, who has long been following in the footsteps of Maria Sibylla Merian in advocating for our butterflies and demanding more habitat for them. Her Merianin 2018+ project began to grow.

This model bed was planted in 2017 by Bund Naturschutz (BN) Nuremberg with its medicinal herb garden project group, with its “BN-Interkulturell” working group and its Forum International together with the Nuremberg Merian School.

Fluttering and buzzing guests are attracted here for a stopover thanks to suitable plant species.

The city of Nuremberg welcomes the initiatives for insect-friendly plantings and is examining in its own areas of public green spaces where butterfly meadows could be planted.

The city of Nuremberg had already created an exemplary area with an insect realm (called “InsektenReich”) in the Volkspark Marienberg and could be convinced to keeping the needs of butterflies always in mind for further facilities.

The Environmental Station and the Children's Museum offer special projects for school classes.