Tibet Fund Letter
- Published: Tuesday, 03 April 2012 12:19
Placed in a Nest at Grounds of The Theosophical Society in America
By Angelique Boyd
On March 16th a baby Great Horned (owlet) was found at the foot of a pine tree at the Theosophical Society in America (TSA) in Wheaton. It was about one week old with white fluffy feathers, black and brown tiny dots, and striking gold eyes.
Michele Shields, from the Information Department of TSA, picked up the owlet and brought it in to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center (WWC) for observation and care. On the 19th, she received a call from the WWC saying that the owlet was having vision problems due to the fall. They said that they would place the owlet back into the wild after its vision had been restored.
Before the news of the owlet's vision, a second owlet fell out of the same tree. Unfortunately, it died soon afterwards. A burial was made for the baby owl.
On March 22nd the WWC called the TSA to say that they had recovered another little owlet that had fallen at a different location, and asked if they could put the orphan owlet in the nest at the TSA grounds. When placed in the nest owls are open to adopting owlets and will accept and raise them like their own.
Great Horned Owls do not build their own nests. Normally they simply move in to an existing squirrel's nest. If the nest becomes damaged by wind or storms, they do not repair it. In the case of the nest at the Theosophical Society's campus one side of the nest had developed an opening and the bottom had slanted in that direction. As soon as the owlets became big enough to start moving around it fell through the hole.
A tree climber from the Dupage Forest Preserve accompanied Rose Augustine from WWC. He placed the existing nest in a shallow wooden box to make a safe new home for the orphan owlet. Members of the TSA community and children from the Prairie School of Dupage, which operates on the TSA campus, looked on as the baby owl was restored to the nest.
Some days later, Pablo Sender, a TSA staff member, climbed the tall pine tree to check on the owlet. Here is a video of what he found.
To watch Rose Augustine from WWC sharing some valuable information with the children from the Prairie School of Dupage, click here
To watch the owlet travelling towards the nest u pon the tree, click here
To enlarge, click on first picture and then click the "next" arrow.
By Tim Boyd
Our head of grounds and maintenance, Mark Roemmich, had told me that a group of people who had started a cooperative school had called him and wanted to talk about what they were doing. He asked if I would like to sit in. It was not that I was looking for yet another meeting, but something about this one seemed interesting. On December 8 two teachers and the school's treasurer sat down with us in the first floor classroom. They started by describing what they were trying to do. At the beginning of this school year their school had come into being. They currently had three teachers and sixteen children aged four to eleven. One of the teachers had Montessori training; another was trained in the Waldorf method of Rudolf Steiner, the third had taught in public school. Their educational approach is firmly rooted in nature. The kids begin each day with an hour of outdoor activity. They learn about the plants, animals, weather patterns, etc. Each week they go on an hour and a half nature walk. All of this in addition to the usual sorts of academic classes.
What they were looking for was a new location for the school. It turned out that they needed to vacate their current premises by January 1 and wanted to know if there was a possibility for them to do something on our campus. The more they talked about their process and dreams the more it became apparent to me that there was a potential fit that could be extremely beneficial to all of us. A good deal of our building is underutilized and my sense was that with a little thought on our part we could find a way to make it work. Over the next couple of days we developed a plan to lease them the west wing of our headquarters building. It has the advantage of being a self contained space where the kids and teachers could conduct classes without affecting the daily rhythms of our TS operations. So, the bottom line is that as of January 9, 2012 the Prairie School began a new life at our national headquarters.
The process of preparing the space for the school required a rapid, organized, and cooperative effort on the part of our staff, but in just 30 days it was accomplished. Great credit is due to Mark Roemmich who organized and executed the logistics of moving people and things. Also Augie Hirt, our CFO, and Jim Bosco, our Chief of Staff, had major roles in the various complicated legal and insurance issues which arose.
The presence of the children has brought a new life to the place. Regularly they are out walking in the labyrinth, having fireside classes at the stone circle, making snowmen each time the snow falls. The parents are coming into our library while they wait for their children; visiting our bookstore; seeking information about the Theosophical Society. New opportunities have been created for people at the school to volunteer at the TSA and for staff and members to volunteer at the school. This is a situation where, with proper attention, everyone wins. I see this type of cooperative engagement with kindred movements as a pattern for our future.
More About the School
Who They Are
Inspired by the natural world, the Prairie School of DuPage offers a rich curriculum that explores life around us, emphasizing the connectedness of all things. They are a pioneering K-3 home school cooperative in the process of becoming an independent school. They offer place-based education as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, social studies, science, mathematics and other subjects across the curriculum.
â€œOur mission is to educate and inspire the whole child, and to prepare each student for a life of discovery by cultivating a strong sense of self, compassion and respect for others, and a deep connection with the natural world.â€
They Do This By
Emphasizing hands-on, real-world learning experiences
Appreciating integrity, honesty, ethics, and compassion as core underlying values
Recognizing the importance of a holistic education
Instilling pride, responsibility, and cooperation among students as future leaders in the world
Fostering in our students a love for learning about themselves, each other, and the wider world community in ways which are respectful, have a depth of understanding, and emphasize compassionate coexistence
Through a Curriculum Which
Develops core skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, mathematics and science
Promotes a Green aspect in the school culture and classroom which cultivates a deep understanding of and respect for nature, ecology, and the environment
Integrates the outdoors, music, the arts and foreign languages
Recognizes and celebrates international and local geographies together with their cultural and artistic contributions
Is based on continuity and progression
How They Teach
They provide a curriculum that combines holistic, hands-on experiential learning with academic rigor.
The Aims of Their Green Studies Curriculum Are:
â€¢ To nurture respect for and understanding of the natural world
â€¢ To heighten studentsâ€™ environmental awareness and to promote stewardship
â€¢ To develop ecological values out of first-hand experience
â€¢ To offer a curriculum which is holistic â€“ integrating all aspects of the childâ€™s nature, multiple intelligences, and curiosity for learning â€“ through a hands-on practicum model which is part of an academically rigorous learning program in a school where classrooms are integrated into the natural environment (eco-literacy.)
â€¢ To understand sustainability as an entire web of relationships in community, interacting with other communities â€“ human and non-human â€“ in ways that enable them to live and develop according to their nature
â€¢ To think in terms of relationships of interconnecting patterns and contexts (systems thinking)
â€¢ To collaborate with members of both the school community (mentorship program) and with the wider local community (apprenticeship program)
â€¢ To integrate subject matter such as science, mathematics and social studies, contextualizing academic disciplines in meaningful experiential projects
To enlarge, click on first picture and then click the "next" arrow.
The Theosophical Society in America (TSA), along with many other sections around the globe, was distressed when hearing of the devastating February 2010 earthquake in Chile that all but destroyed that sectionâ€™s headquarters building. In response TSA agreed to act as a clearinghouse to receive donations from TS and TOS groups all around the world and to responsibly distribute them to our Chilean brothers as they documented their progress and readiness to receive the funds so collected.
Members from the TSA, the TOS in America, as well as international TS communities and TOS organizations that held special fundraising activities contributed generously toward the rebuilding effort in Chile. Contributions totaled over $15,000! Staying in close contact with the Chilean Section as the project progressed, these funds, amounting to about half of the total rebuilding cost, enabled the Chilean Section to reopen their headquarters building on June 6, 2011 for a celebratory public meeting. The TSA is grateful to have been instrumental in facilitating this kind of cooperative effort where Theosophists could help one another through a time of difficulty.
The Theosophical Society in Portland held its centennial celebration on September 23-25, 2011. There were almost forty attendees, some coming from as far away as Montana. The event started with an open house at the Lodge on Friday evening. Leslie Rainey presented her slide show honoring members past and present. Elly Lawrence read a poem about being a vegetarian written by a lodge member in 1955 titled â€œKeep Your Protein High, Girls.â€ Tours of the building were also given.
The Saturday program took place at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple where we were treated to an excellent presentation â€œ100 Years of Theosophy in Portlandâ€ by archivist Janet Kerschner. Linda MacLean, Leonie van Gelder and Lee Haga presented a remembrance of Harry van Gelder. After a catered lunch, our keynote speaker President Tim Boyd spoke on the â€œForgotten Truths.â€
Sundayâ€™s program brought us back to the Lodge where Tim Boyd and Nancy Secrest spoke about the Theosophical Order of Service. The program ended with a meditation led by Wallace Rainey.
By Ed Abdill
On September 10, 2011, a statue of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott was unveiled at a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple near Princeton, New Jersey. The statue is modeled on one in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Olcott is regarded as a national hero.
In the late 1800s Olcott established Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and designed a Buddhist flag that was prominently displayed at the celebration. He also wrote a Buddhist catechism (still used world wide) and forced British officials to declare Vesak, the day of the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha, a national holiday. Postage stamps bear Olcottâ€™s image and the date of his death is celebrated yearly. The unveiling was sponsored by Ananda College Old Boys Association, an alumni group from Ananda College. Olcott founded Ananda College and Fritz Kunz was its principal from 1915 to 1917.
Distinguished speakers at the event included the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States and the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Nations. Many others spoke at the unveiling, including senators and officials from New Jersey and a representative from the Department of State. Ed Abdill, Vice President of the Theosophical Society in America, also spoke at the event. Lyn Trotman, national director from the Eastern district and President of the NYTS, was present along with several members from our two Theosophical groups in northern New Jersey.
Two years ago the largest statue of the Buddha in the Western Hemisphere was unveiled at that same temple (see photo). The Buddha is posed in samadhi, a deep state of consciousness in meditation. It is pure white and is beautifully illuminated at night. The event concluded with a delicious buffet meal for all guests.
Scattered around the 43 acres of the Olcott grounds are a number of special places. Anyone who has been to the national headquarters knows about the Labyrinth. At all times of day it draws people from around the area. Many bring their children with them to make the winding meditative walk to its center. About one hundred yards south of the Labyrinth is the Stone Circle that used to be a gathering place where the Young Theosophists could build bonfires in the days before the city code prohibited them. There are the Sellon Grove, the Garden of Remembrance, the Pierre Garden, the Peace Pole, and other sites.
For the last twenty years there has been a largely unnoticed shrine to Mother Mary about 50 yards beyond the west parking lot. It is situated in a dense grove of trees which with time has become overgrown with buckthorn and wild grape vines. Over the years a few devotees have regularly visited the shrine leaving flowers, prayer requests, and various offerings. Many of them have felt a strong presence of peace and blessing at the spot. During the years Mary has been there some things have changed. The ground had settled and she and her little shrine building were starting to lean to the right, and the undergrowth was closing in.
It is with saddness we must announce that Ron Miller passed away on 5/4/2011. Ron spoke often at Theosophical Society in America and dedicated his life to dialogue and pluralism. Ron was a Professor of Religion at Lake Forest College; Co-Founder of Common Ground; Board member at Hands of Peace; author and frequent lecturer on various theological topics including interreligious dialogue, early Christianity and spirituality.
A website has been constructed to continue his message and share his various talks, writings and books, several of which were held here at our national headquarters. Visit his website: http://www.ronmillersworld.org/
He will be missed but never forgotten.
The Golden Link College is an evolving educational effort, which since 2002 has been providing a transformational education for less privileged children. Many in the theosophical world regard it as a rare jewel â€“ a model of Theosophy in action. While addressing core academic subjects, the school also focuses on deeper issues of character building, integrity, and self confidence in an effort to develop students who will be agents of social and personal transformation.
Susan Diamond and Erika Harris talk to Betty Bland, the president of the Theosophical Society, headquartered in Wheaton, IL about their experience walking the Labyrinth and other practices and concepts of Theosophy.