World for explorers at Hellabrunn Zoo

With the unveiling of plans for the new Mill Village, Hellabrunn has made its first major step towards the realisation of the zoo's master plan. The current Children's Zoo will be transformed into a paradise of domestic biodiversity for little explorers.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Dan Pearlman

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Dan Pearlman

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Dan Pearlman

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Dan Pearlman

How did wild animals become domesticated pets? Why are so many domestic animal breeds now threatened with extinction? And why is it so important to ensure they survive? These are just some of the questions that the Mill Village at Hellabrunn Zoo will ask its visitors and the answers will also be provided in the village.

"With the Mill Village, Hellabrunn Zoo will break new ground by creating a unique zoo education centre," says zoo director Rasem Baban. The project is sponsored through long-term sponsorship by the Stadtsparkasse München bank, a long-standing partner of the zoo. "Following our sponsorship of the Orangutan House and the Giraffe Savannah, we are delighted to support the zoo with another milestone development. Hellabrunn and the Sparkasse bank in Munich have a long and successful partnership history that we hope to continue in the long term with the Mill Village," says Marlies Mirbeth, a member of the Management Board of Stadtsparkasse München.

Major step towards becoming a biodiverse geozoo

For many Munich residents, the Children's Zoo at Hellabrunn represents an inseparable part of their childhood memories. In the near future, this area will be transformed into the Europe continent of the zoo (GeoZone Europa) and will, in particular, feature the flora and fauna of the Bavarian countryside in the foothills of the Alps. The Mill Village will be constructed in two phases. Covering an area of  23,000 m², the buildings and stables will be inspired by traditional farmhouses from the region. The result will be a village landscape within the zoo, which will be inhabited by endangered domestic species such as Murnau-Werdenfels cattle, Bavarian landrace geese, Girgentana goats and Sulmtaler chicken. The main educational area of the zoo will be established here, and will encourage children to learn about biodiversity in the region through hand-on experience.

By observing the domestic animals and through direct contact, children will be able to learn more about the behaviour and origin of domesticated Bavarian species. The zoo is an ideal place to teach the young about the fascinating subject of domestication, even though domesticated animals will often live side by side with their wild ancestors. The little visitors will learn where our food comes from, how the animals that produce the food on their plate actually look, and how these animals should be cared for in species-appropriate way. The Mill Village will also exhibit many unique wild animals and plants that live only a stone's throw away from our front door, and which are increasingly rare due to the impact of human activity. The Mill Village is designed to arouse scientific curiosity among children and adults alike and make visitors aware of connection between domestic biodiversity and globality.

Education Centre for all ages

To reach as many people of all ages and target groups as possible, the content of education provided will be presented on different levels. This will include several small exhibitions and a variety of hands-on elements that invite you to explore. The funding for the exceptional wealth of information material has been made possible by the generous support of the non-profit Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation. "The reason why we at Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation are committed to raising awareness for respect for mankind, nature and wildlife is as follows: As the climate conference has once again shown, it is already one minute to midnight for our earth," says Catherine Demeter of the  Board of Directors.

The more people take a conscious approach to conserving the resources we use in our daily lives, beginning with the small things - e.g. use biodegradable detergents, separate household waste, refrain from unnecessary energy and water consumption, do not purchase disposable plastic bags, but instead always carry a reusable shopping bag with you, etc. - the more positive the impact for our environment and therefore ourselves.

This is the very reason we are so committed to providing targeted educational programmes in the form of lectures and workshops for kindergartens, schools, parents and the young at heart,  in the hope that this will raise more awareness for the environment. And what better way to educate people, in particular the children (and thus their parents and grandparents) who are always keen to explore and learn everything, than through the popular Hellabrunn Zoo? If each of us plays our small part every day in protecting our environment, then our world will be a much healthier and more liveable place. And our children will have an opportunity to grow up in a better world. Perhaps it is not too late!

Finally, I would like to thank all loyal Augustiner beer lovers who make it possible for the brewery to achieve such good profits. Because 50% of the Augustiner brewery is owned by the Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation. So every second sip of beer you drink flows back into foundation. We, at Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation, therefore have the opportunity to promote wonderful and compelling projects such as this.

We are aware of our social responsibility and are therefore committed to sponsoring children, the environment, education, sport, monuments and much more, in our effort to do our part to make our environment and our society more liveable and to contribute to a better future."

The transfer of the Zoo School to the Mill Village is a very important aspect of the educational concept. Every year countless classes from Munich and the surrounding area visit the Zoo School at Hellabrunn as an extracurricular learning activity. The school children invariably find the visit very exciting, but also very informative. "Until now the Zoo School is housed in a single large room on the edge of the zoo. The construction of the state-of-the-art Zoo School right in the heart of the Mill Village means close proximity to the farm animals and entirely new opportunities for hands-on lessons and direct contact with animals," says Christine Strobl, Mayor and Chairman of Hellabrunn Zoo.

The Mill Village was designed by the internationally-known architectural office Dan Pearlman in Berlin. "We are delighted to develop the Mill Village project and to highlight the issue of biodiversity as well as local flora and fauna for researchers big and small through our architectural and landscape concept," says Kieran Stanley, the founder and creative director.

About the Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation:

The Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation is committed to raising awareness for respect for mankind, nature and wildlife. The foundation aims to encourage people to adopt a more conscious approach to conserving the resources we use in our daily lives by simply making small lifestyle adjustments. The foundation promotes its message in the form of lectures and workshops for kindergartens and schools, on how children, along with their parents and grandparents, interact with nature and the human impact on the environment. The Edith Haberland-Wagner Foundation thereby fulfils its social responsibility and is committed to sponsoring children, the environment, education, sport, monuments and much more with the purpose of making the environment and our society a more liveable place.

The cooperation with Hellabrunn Zoo is an ideal partnership to reach out to children, particularly as, given their sense of curiosity to learn about the environment and the result of their future actions (along with that of their parents and grandparents), they may be able to have a significant positive effect on the future development of our planet.