INTERVIEW WITH GREGOR CERAR
Društvo DOVES-FEE Slovenia, Slovenia
- City where the organisation is based: Portoroz
- Number of staff in the organisation/working with Eco-Schools: 12/3
What do you prefer?
- Dogs or cats? Dogs
- Sea or mountains? Sea
- Chocolate or chips? Fairtrade Chocolate
- Film or book? Film
- City or countryside? Countryside
- Favourite word or phrase:
'Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose - Per aspera ad astra'
- If you could sing one song in a music competition show on television, what would it be?
Queen: We are the Champions
- What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
No real funny thing happened to me recently. My life is so serious … :)
A high point of the programme, hopes and visions
Some high points:
- A great team of people that might differ in character, in the way they work, and in their personal lives, but all of them are focused and dedicated to helping the Eco-Schools programme grow
- 20 years of introducing and implementing the Eco-Schools programme in Slovenia, which we celebrated last year
- The active participation of 280 Eco-Schools with more than 80,000 children and students and over 8,000 teachers taking part in more than 4,000 environmental projects
- The network of sponsors, which has been supporting the Eco-Schools programme for several years in a row
- Facing the on-going challenge to develop Eco-Schools on a different level, to connect institutions from all educational levels (kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, faculties), to create interesting environmental projects with different themes and teams, to run interdisciplinary projects, to encourage schools for international cooperation, etc.
Vision: That teachers and pupils are proud to be awarded the Green Flag. Eco-Schools is a leading, globally recognised and well-established programme for environmental education and awareness in Slovenia. The Eco-Schools Green Flag is an added value and visibility/recognition among stakeholders.
Activities by Društvo DOVES-FEE Slovenia
In Slovenia, we organise two major events for Eco-Schools coordinators each year: the Annual Conference for National Eco-Schools Coordinators for Kindergartens (usually in May), and the Annual National Conference for Eco-Schools Coordinators (usually at end of September). In previous years, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Agriculture and other government officials, have attended the conferences.
The activities of the Eco-Schools programme are showcased at the Altermed Fair, the biggest fair in Slovenia on Healthy Living. Over 80 Eco-Schools present their projects, products and other activities.
We also organise regional meetings for coordinators and several teachers’ training/workshops with the purpose of strengthening their knowledge on specific environmental topics, or to motivate them to implement the principles of the Eco-Schools programme in their everyday work. We prepare and publish various materials for teachers, as well as for children.
With the valuable support of sponsors and other experts, we plan and implement national projects, such as online Eco-Quizzes for primary schools and secondary schools, waste material art contests, etc. We encourage separate waste collection in Eco-Schools, sustainable mobility, biodiversity, efficient use of energy, cleaning activities, waste material collection for charity purposes, planting trees, etc. We are proud that actually, each participating school works on three common projects and, above all, that individual work on environmental issues are recognised as the most important in their communities.
In the last two years, we have organised many events to share best practices and published an annual booklet with selected case studies. Sharing best practices is very well accepted among teachers.
An inspiring story by Društvo DOVES-FEE Slovenia
Zadobrova Primary School (located in the suburbs of Ljubljana, the capital) is one of the most active Eco-Schools in Slovenia. They implement more than 60 different environmental projects yearly. We were proud and happy that the school won the international Toyota Environment and Innovation project in 2014.
Currently, they are very active in the We Eat Responsibly project, supported and co-financed by the EU, run in 9 Eco-Schools countries from 2015-2017. Under this project, the pupils investigate the meat production and check the offers for fruit and vegetables from local farms. Pupils engage with the farmers during their farm work, help them pick and sort potatoes and apples, learn how to grow vegetables and fruit, take care of domestic animals and prepare traditional dishes from homegrown vegetables.
In terms of practical knowledge and experiences gained from their direct cooperation with farmers, students started to grow seedlings for the school garden in their classrooms. They made their own Diary of Waste Food, in which they presented measurements of amount of food waste at school and at home. They presented analyses, photos and thoughts on food waste all year round in their Eco-corner in the school hall.
The school organised an Eco-day: 2016 focused on the problems of soya production as food for livestock and palm oil presence in our food. The problems were presented through photos and posters. The pupils made vegan snacks, vegetable desserts, canapes, and decorations. All their creations were offered to the visitors of Eco-day. The event also had a charitable purpose; the pupils collected donations that were sent to the children in Madagascar. The pupils shared their experiences and knowledge with the citizens of Ljubljana and participated at the event that was part of the project called Ljubljana - Green Capital 2016.