Slovenia - In municipality Velika Polana, part of the future Transboundary Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” in Slovenia, lives a special creature. A character from local fairy-tales in Mura region in Slovenia lives close to Copek Mill, where the future Slovenian River School is located. Local school children also created a special performance about Polanski dwarf and the need to protect our forests if he is still to have its home. Partners built tree houses and enjoyed the food and tea prepared for them by the dwarfs.
During the 3rd Steering Committee Meeting and Partner Workshop organised in Velika Polana, partners reviewed the project progress in the first year, discussed the River School concept and design elements, and the Transboundary Management Plan. But besides hard work they also had the opportunity to get to know cultural and touristic offer of the region, part of which is also the Polanski dwarf story. They visited local cooperative Pomelaj where people with disabilities are employed for traditional artisanal work and production of local food specialities. A good chance to buy Christmas presents, and a perfect showcase of what sustainable regional development in a Biosphere Reserve can mean!
Gusztav Csomor from the Joint Secretariat of the Danube Programme joined on first afternoon within the First Year Review of the coop MDD, while in the evening, partners learned about good practices in transboundary cooperation of protected areas in Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and France.
River Schools action – a network of eight outdoor learning centres that will be built along Mura, Drava and Danube in all five countries – is one of the highlights of the project. Partners were presented with final versions of joint visual elements, while they brainstormed on the didactical tools, games and challenges that could be part of the didactical offers in their River Schools.
The final day was focused on the last version of the Transboundary Management Plan. The partnership agreed on the joint objectives for management of the area; only some minor changes still need to be approved. Now, it is time to start with developing concrete actions, which can be implemented jointly and in a harmonized way across all five countries, to save our shared river ecosystem!