Young people and wise use of wetlands in Slovenia

Young people and wise use of wetlands in Slovenia

20 December 2006

Slovenia SGF 2004 project completed:
"Young people acting for the wise use of wetlands"

The project "Young people acting for the wise use of wetlands" focused on building public awareness about the importance of water in Slovenian karst wetlands. It was implemented by the Škocjan Caves Park in cooperation with the Notranjska Regional Park (comprising the Ramsar site Lake Cerknica), which are both Ramsar site management authorities.

The educational programme that was developed, and which has been included in regular activities by both Parks, is unique at the Slovenian level and offers an example both to schools and other institutions. Active cooperation involved eight primary schools on the issues of biodiversity and sustainable development, including extensive meetings with the project team and teachers as well as local excursions to the Cerknica lake.

While the joint leaflet of the both Parks (in Slovenian, English, German, Italian and Croatian language) [English version of the leaflet, PDF] presents the karst wetlands in Slovenia to the general public, the educational materials were developed with and for the work with young people. Thus a set of worksheets was developed on biodiversity and use in both Ramsar sites. The worksheets have been designed in such a manner that they encourage pupils to reflect about man's interference with the environment, adequate water management, and the significance of wetlands at the local and regional level. It is a great tool, which raises the children's curiosity and provides pedagogical and technical guidelines for teachers to work with the materials. It also contains guidelines for visual communications and directions of planning (see: mreza kraskih mokrisc ang). [Worksheet in Slovenian, English translation]

Together, the Škocjan Caves Park and the Notranjska Regional Park have prepared a five-year programme for communication, education and public awareness following the Ramsar CEPA guidelines. This is also the basic programme for joint cooperation between both karst wetland sites, with the vision of young people acting for the wise use of karst wetlands. [Five-year karst CEPA strategy, English, PDF]

Within the new work grouping, the Karst Wetlands NETWORK, the schools and both parks will ensure their continuous working connection, which was formally established by a partnership agreement in September 2006. Such cooperation between two Ramsar localities is the first one of its kind in Slovenia and represents a series of opportunities for expert tasks and development in accordance with the Ramsar Convention, which was taken up with the elaboration of a draft proposal for an integrated monitoring for Biosphere Reserves. This will ensure the quality functioning of both the Karst Biosphere Reserve as already established and the future biosphere reserve on the Cerknica Lake.

Further information about the Slovenian Ramsar sites and the project can be found on the new Web site, which builds another outcome of the project and the contact address for future data exchange and information sharing.

Overall the project benefited greatly from the close cooperation between the Ramsar focal point in Slovenia, Gordana Beltram, the different authorities, and, beyond the Slovenian border, with Italian schools. We are looking forward learning about the application and use of the results in further community actions and ecological education projects.

-- Dorothea August, Ramsar

Planning meetings in 2005

Seminar for teachers

Teacher training

First presentation

The final event

The audience for the final event