Green Europe Project meeting in Kozje
From 19th to 23rd September there was a project meeting in Kozje. Partners from Slovenia, Poland, Italy, Lithuania and Latvia got together to meet in person and discuss important project matters and to get to know Kozje and Slovenia.
Tuesday, 19th September
Students from abroad and their hosts started the day with a workshop where they got to know more about each other. It was led by the Kozje primary school pedagogical worker Ms. Drofenik and two teachers.
After that there was the welcome event in the multipurpose center Kozje where the guests were welcomed by the headmaster of Kozje primary school, Mr. Roman Gradišek, the school choir which under the mentorship of Mrs. Polona Pevec sang the Slovene, the European and the school anthem and by pupils from 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade under the mentorship of Mrs. Mateja Kolar acted out a cute play in English called 'I want my hat back.' They amazed the audience with their costumes.
All the guests presented themselves and a bit of their country on the stage.
The event was followed by a short introductory meeting led by the school coordinator Mr. Gregor Vrabec.
The guests then split into two groups and went on a tour of the Kozje kindergarten Zmajček Kozje and the Kozje primary school. The guests attended a music workshop inspired by nature led by Mrs. Polona Pevec Pungeršek where they made some musical instruments. To do that they joined the 8th grade.
Next, the guests visited the mayor of Kozje Mrs. Milenca Krajnc who welcomed them and presented the municipality along with its wonders and the history. The guests received a symbolic gift.
After that, the guests had lunch on Kozjanska domačija where they were served typical food for Kozjansko region produced only on farms in Kozjansko.
Upon their return back to Kozje Ms. Živa Grobelšek took them on a short tour of Kozje.
Wednesday, 20th September
On Wednesday morning there was the official project meeting. In the first part every partner country presented endangered landscapes in its vicinity.
Then there was a debate about possible solutions, the purpose of the project and in conclusion everbody agreed that the basis for any change in the world is awareness about pollution and also possible solutions to the problems connected to environment.
In the second part the teachers continued with the meeting and students split into two groups.
The first group went to the craft workshop led by Mrs. Alja Belak. Students drew models of a dragon on wood and then cut them by a saw with the help of Slovene students Matic and Alen. They filed and cleaned the sharp edges and coloured the dragon in green. When it dried, they drew the tail, mouth and eyes.
On the backside they wrote the name of the school and the country. They took the dragons home as a souvenir. Those who finished early, made another dragon or some other useful thing from wood. Ideas and plans for those things were made by students themselves.
The second group went to the art workshop led by Mr. Franc Grobelšek.
First each student received a gift – flax eco bag. The purpose of the workshop was to design the bag in such a way to remind them of the project meeting in Kozje and of friends of all the countries involved in the project.
Students were first familiarized with ways of transfering a picture onto textile, then they created linocut matrixes of their initials. The matrix enabled them to print their product many times, therefore their initials appeared on bags of every student in the group.
They also added the flags of the partner countries on the bags and were able to freely use acrylic sprays to decorate the bags even more.
In the afternoon Mrs. Lidija Čepin took the guests to Podsreda to the seat of the Kozjansko Regional Park. After the welcome of Mrs. Mojca Kunst they watched the video presentation of the park.
Mrs. Barbara Ploštajner presented and explained how the plant-based waste water treatment works and its purpose in protecting the environment, students attended a workshop and made their own sand filter and got to know the cleaning system first hand.
Mr. Dušan Klenovšek and Mrs. Mojca Kunst took the guests to the Podsreda castle. Mr Dušan took them to the attic and showed them the bats which are protected in the Kozjansko Regional Park. He also presented their way of life and what the Park is doing to protect them.
With audio guides they walked through the rooms of the castle and visited an exhibition about the nature in the Kozjansko park. They got to nkow the purpose of protecting the swamps, meadow orchards, dry grasslands...to preserve the biodiversity.
At the end they visited a meadow orchard where Mr. Klenovšek pointed out the purpose of their protection. Old apple trees are a habitat to many endangered species. They saw nesting boxes of endangered birds, the hotel for solitary bees and the hotel for ladybirds.
Thursday, 21th September
Thursday, 21th September
On Thursday, 21st September we took our guests to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. They explored the city centre, visited the Presidential palace and met the president of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor. It was a wonderful experience to talk about nature protection with the president.
Gorenjska was the final destination. A part of Slovenia that is enveloped in mountains. Planica ski jumping centre is a place worth visiting. It is one of the highest jumping hills in the world. Even for Slovenians mountains in Gorenjska are something spectacular.
On the way back our guests got to visit Bled, one of the most fairytale like places in Slovenia. An island in the middle of the lake and a church on the island is something you don't see every day.
It was a wonderful day, a nice opportunity to strengthen friendships that started to develop.
Friday, 22th September
On Friday, 22nd September, we took our guest to Bratuša farm in Podsreda where they could see different animals such as chicken, pigs and cows and tried different farm activities, shelling beans and corn husking. At the end of the visit the family offered some pumpkin seeds, croissants and tea.
We went to Kukovičičev mill where our guests got to know its history and the process of grinding wheat. They also tried some of breads that are made at the farm.
Gruska cave was the next stop. With its beautiful nature, the stream and the cave, it offers a great place to relax and collect energy to handle everyday worries.
Then our guests took a ride on a tourist train to the Witch hut, the Olimje monastery and the chocolate shop.
Saturday, 23rd September, 2017
There was a sports day at Kozje primary school. In the beginning, Mrs. Maja Amon and her team presented gymnastics on horses as well as taking care of these beautiful animals. Students were able to ride the horses.
Different sport mentors presented sports that students can train in Kozje and after that the guests went on a panoramic hike. The view of Kozje was phenomenal due to nice weather.
The teachers and the students received the certificates of attendance.
The guests were able to see a lot in this short period of time. They have seen in person that Kozje and Kozjansko lives with and for nature. It is the greatest treasure and people are aware of it. Let us make sure that the Green Europe stays green.
Gregor Vrabec, Kozje primary school project coordinator.