Community of Schools

Community of Schools

of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve

This is the first large-scale association of primary schools and a protected area managing authority, and in a well-recognized area as the Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve.

Triglav National Park is the managing authority of UNESCO's Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve. Through its Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme, UNESCO has set up a worldwide network of biosphere reserves.

The primary management objectives of these areas include:

  1. the harmonious coexistence of people and the environment,
  2. conservation of biodiversity,
  3. sustainable development and sustainable use of natural resources.

The Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve was included in the programme in 2003 on the initiative and under the leadership of the Triglav National Park. The Community of Schools brings together schools in the municipalities of Bovec, Tolmin, Kobarid, Kranjska Gora, Jesenice, Žirovnica, Radovljica, Bled, Gorje and Bohinj.

The Community of Schools of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve was established in 2018 and is made up of 38 primary schools and branch schools from the area. In the framework of the Community, more than 7,000 pupils living in the impact area of the national park are given special attention.

Throughout its operation, the Triglav National Park Public Institute has been collaborating with schools in organizing a series of activities that promote a responsible attitude to nature and conservation of cltural heritage.

Pupils are provided with additional free programmes, learning tools, research activities, nature classrooms, trips and gatherings – aimed at enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the unique environment in which they live, and enabling them to connect with the area and each other. The scheme aims to nurture the residents of the Julian Alps who are committed to nature, the area's cultural heritage and sustainable development.

The pupils who attend schools in the Community can benefit from a wide range of free nature science topics. Every year we organize free  nature science workshops and nature science days as part of our many projects, and offer member schools free visitation of the neighbouring protected areas. In the past, we visited the Julian Prealps Nature Park in Resia, Italy, and the Nockberge Biophere Reserve in Austria. Recently, we have made several vists to the Kras Biosphere Reserve and a trip to the Reka River delta combined with a visit to the stunning Škocjan Caves.

Children and their teachers can browse the Triglav Treasury (Triglavska zakladnica), an online platform that offers contents about Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve and different levels of access to papers, interactive contents and worksheets for the general public, pupils and teachers; the latter can find there useful materials for classroom or field work.

In 2021 eight members of the Community of Schools of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve were awarded the Quality Mark in public recognition of their commitment and active involvement in raising the public awareness about nature conservation and protection of cultural heritage, as well as for outstanding contribution in building the identity of the Community. In reward for their efforts, the schools were presented with teaching accessories and tools which will help teachers and pupils explore the outstanding natural environment in which they live:  a stereo microscope, a nature science bag, and writing pads to be used in outdoor classes.

In order to support children to learn about sustainable development and locally sourced food, all schools received a raised garden bed in the year 2019/20, and a fruit tree prune sapling in the year 2020/21. Every year the pupils also receive the children's newsletter of the Community of Schools of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve.

Belar days

Every year in May TNP organizes traditional Belar Days – guided orienteering trips along the Soča Trail which are intended for 5th graders of primary schools located within the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve and for groups of children from national and nature parks in Austria, Italy and Croatia. The orienteering excursion runs along the Soča Trail in the Trenta valley, the first themed trail to be set up in Triglav National Park. The orienteering excursion takes participants to several educational points, which present the nature and cultural heritage of the Trenta valley in a professional and interesting manner. Children also pay a visit to the Juliana Alpine Botanical Garden in Trenta, which is managed by Slovenia's oldest cultural and scientific institution, the Slovenian Museum of Natural History.

In the summer, young generations are invited to take part in the Youth at the Top campaign, which TNP organizes in collaboration with the other nature parks of the Alparc network.