John Duwe

Education Coordinator, Crater Lake National Park, ZDA


In 2017 and 2019, I traveled to Triglav National Park to participate in GeoBioBlitz events. These environmental education events get students working alongside professionals to discover the natural resources of a place. Participants use citizen science apps to record their findings as well as learn directly from the professionals during a series of short talks.


These trips helped me grow as a park ranger as I shared and gained ideas from my Slovenian counterparts. Rather than summarizing all the great people I met and amazing places I saw, I’d like to share a journal entry from my first morning in Vrata Valley. When I think back about my times in Triglav, this moment pops into my head because I was just so impressed by the mountain itself.

Triglav looms over the white cliffs, dense forests, and ice-cold streams. I’m sitting near the start of the climber’s trail in Vrata Valley. Climbers scurry past with helmets, harnesses, and ice axes strapped to their packs. I want to join them. The mountain is begging me to explore its faults and vertical walls.

I can’t climb in this hat and my mission isn’t to climb mountains. I’m here to help youth connect with this place. To learn about this place, inspired by its grandeur, and in turn learn about their role within their environment. The thrill of touching the summit of Triglav is surely something that can’t be replicated, but this moment is just a thrill without context. I’m here to help youth contextualize the place in which the live, play, and grow. I really need to come back and climb Triglav, though! This place is awesome!


Triglav National Park’s beautiful human and nature stories have universal appeal, and this makes it the perfect place to fall in love with nature and then learn from it. I’ll be back to explore more!

Photos/Fotografije: Luka Dakskobler