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A summary of Nature’s Classroom project results.
Summer School: Establishing an Ecoremediation Course in Čatež
A trip to outdoor learning courses: project presentation
Permaculture zone: Building a Yurt
Early spring at the ERM course in Modraže
Učne table v Občini Zreče (available in Slovene only)
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Maribor at the ERM Course in Modraže
Okoljske škode (okrogla miza) (available in Slovene only)
Permacultural zone Dole: planting the first trees
Opening of the Nature Development Centre Poljčane
Municipality of Poljčane and the Nature Development Centre
Municipal Waste in the Municipality of Poljčane
Predstavitev projekta na občini Sv. Trojica (available in Slovene only)
Outdoor learning exercises of UM FoA students at the ERM learning course in Modraže
Autumn Activities at the ERM course in Modraže
Re-Use Centre in Rogaška Slatina
Initial Construction of the Learning Course in Dobrovce
University of Maribor, Faculty of Arts
Energy Agency for Podravje – Institute for Sustainable Energy use
Development Agency Kozjansko
Institute for Development and Improvement of Infrastructure and the Social Environment RISO
Boč forest educational trail
Quarries in the Bela valley educational trail
The subterranean treasures of Haloze
Ličenca Ecosystem educational trail
Educational trail among treasures of the trees
Educational trail through the Dravinja valley
Educational trail through the valley of freshwater crabs
Convent educational trail
Learning point on bees, herbs and their products
Vzpostavitev ekosistemskih tehnologij za izobraževanje v naravi in učnih opazovališč (Limnos)
Raziskave z namenom izobraževanja za vodne ekosisteme (UM FF)
Vzpostavitev Izobraževalnega centra o stoječih vodah – Sveta Trojica (RISO)
Trajnostno gospodarjenje z odpadki na projektnem območju (RA Kozjansko)
Učni program za raziskovanje v učilnici v naravi za 1. triado
Učni program za učenje v naravi za osnovne šole
Učni program za praktični pouk naravovarstva v učilnici v naravi
Učni program za praktični pouk na ERM poligonu
Ekosistemi – življenjska okolja
Rastline in živali v ekosistemih
Živalski svet Dravinjske doline
Voda vir življenja
Vremensko dogajanje v naravi in toplota
Voda in delovanje v pokrajini
Ekoremediacije – terensko delo
Učne poti in vodenje v naravi
Dejavnosti v prostoru
Na sprehodu ob potoku
Zasnova učne poti Spoznajmo prsti
Ekološka kmetija in trajnostni razvoj
Gozdna učna pot
Kemijska analiza vode
Načrtovanje prostora z umestitvijo rastlinske čistilne naprave
Rastlinska čistilna naprava
Zelišča na ekološki kmetiji
Spoznajmo tla in analize prsti
Students of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Maribor are currently carrying out outdoor learning activities under the leadership of their mentor Ana Vovk Korže at the ERM learning course in Modraže. We visited them and made sure that outdoor experiential learning is the right approach to teaching the young.
What do oxbow lakes, accumulation lakes and drainage ditches look like? That and more was explored by geography students of the Maribor Faculty of Arts, who have, for a time, swapped their lecture rooms for the outdoors.
Amadeja, student: Many of us know the theory, but can’t explain certain phenomena or processes in practice. This way you remember much more and get to see firsthand what is otherwise merely written on paper.
That is why a learning course was designed in Modraže with 24 educational environments featuring natural ecosystems, presentations of their operation, functions and their importance for mankind.
Ana Vovk Korže, Head of the Nature’s Classroom project: The learning course is an area of about eight hectares; we’re currently using 3 hectares, where we are showing new approaches to solving current problems like cleaning wastewater, stopping erosion, increasing biomass, use of phytoremediation plants for cleaning the soil … We are solving current problems in new ways – without chemistry, without electricity, merely with new knowledge. Users here share a direct experience, one they can participate in.
Educational institutions are well aware that classic teaching methods in classrooms are not enough. Students need outdoor experience to easier understand certain processes and phenomena.
Ana Vovk Korže, Head of the Nature’s Classroom project: We had an immediate positive reaction from the schools and from the Ministry of Education and sport as well; we were included in their curricula and courses, so everything here is now a part of mandatory study contents.
The learning course, which also comes with a neat classroom, was recently visited by geography students. First they studied the theory, which is essential, and then they went to see firsthand what they had learned.
Ana Vovk Korže, Head of the Nature’s Classroom project: Today we learned about identifying environmental factors, which we can, of course, identify here, where we can feel them, walk around, smell, through hearing we can sense the sound of water, the rustling of trees …
Amadeja, student: What we experienced most today was how much moisture and water the soil can soak up and what such saturation means, because many of us slipped when we were walking through the forest. Those living in cities have no idea what happens when a certain coating forms on the soil or on the ground in the forest.
We checked how much the students have actually learned. What is this thing behind us?
Matej, student: Here we see a pond; above, there are three pools where water is being purified. I think we’ve learned many new things. Before, it was all theory, no practice, no outdoor experience. My knowledge of these things is now much better than before.
Ana Vovk Korže, Head of the Nature’s Classroom project: Students are really excited. I designed the whole programme with their help. We’ll be coming here this whole semester; we have reserved our Fridays for this. I gave them the choice – one half here, one half in the classroom, but they decided they wanted to do everything here.
Considering that students are ready to sacrifice their free time to extend the lecture time spent learning outdoors, such way of acquiring knowledge must really agree with them. How will it help them in doing their future job?
Ivo, student: In a few years I see myself as a professor. I’d also like to encourage younger people and students to live in symbiosis with the nature, to help preserve it in its natural state.
The Ličenca Ecosystem educational trail follows the valley of the Ličenca creek between the fish ponds Štepihovec and Štatenberšek, near the small settlement of Sveti Jernej pri Ločah.
The path crosses the Natura 2000 area and includes preserved extensive wetlands over 2700 hectares of Dravinjske gorice. In addition to the Ličenca valley located to the northeast of Poljčane, there are number of smaller creeks flowing through the wet and well-preserved meadows among the settlements of Ličenca, Žabjek and Cigonca.
The uniform complex of the area also includes preserved remains of oak tree flood forests in Cigonca, representing one of the last remains of these, once extensive, forests in Slovenia.
Things are lively at the Ecoremediation Course in Modraže even when no education activities are taking place there at this time. Ferdo Vouk and his team are preparing the grounds for experiential education. View the photo report and the panoramic image.
For centuries, the Boč region has been covered by paths and trails created by the numerous mountain and nature lovers who often visit here. In the recent decades, some of those paths have been equipped with signs and displays presenting the region’s cultural heritage. One of the more interesting ones is Boč forest educational trail, leading from Zgornje Poljčane all the way to the lookout spot on top of Boč and then downwards again to the Balunjača cave, where the treasure of Špelca, a terrible local woman bandit, is said to be hidden. Špelca used to prey on god-fearing pilgrims on their way to the churches on Sladka gora, Ljubična or Kostrivnica.
The complex Boč area, which is connected to Donačka gora and the hills of western Haloze, features an exceptional and well-preserved natural environment.
Boč is well known for its preserved and dense forests growing on its steep slopes. These forests contain indigenous species, the most common among them being the beech tree, the so-called mother of Slovene forests. In addition to the beech tree, other species can be found on the northern and eastern slopes of Boč, such as ash, maple tree, wild cherry, walnut and hornbeam. Boč’s warmer slopes feature a karst landscape, where we can find sumac, pubescent oak, the wild service tree, whitebeam, manna ash and the black hop-hornbeam. It seems as if we are not on the same mountain anymore …
Boč is home to wild boars, deer and mouflons. The latter, however, are not indigenous to this area. Throughout the year, Boč is bristling with rich plant and animal life, and people often come here to visit and admire the beautiful landscape.
The Bela creek valley, winding its way next to the road between Zgornje Poljčane nad Lovnik, could be called the quarry valley as well.
The white sedimentary rock called dolomite makes for good construction material. The rock, locally called “poljčanar”, is used for construction, road building and many other purposes in the vicinity of Poljčane as well as further away.
The largest quarry in the Bela valley is run by the Granit company. Several smaller quarries have been abandoned in the past and some of them have in time become valuable habitats for plant and animal life. Sadly, attempts to illegally mine the rock disturb the unique diversity.
There are many treasures hidden below Haloze. Their creation is linked to a 280-million-year old grey sedimentary rock called limestone.
In the mass of limestone to the southeast of Poljčane and southwest of Makole, there are number of karts formations and phenomena.There we can find typical geomorphologic formations – funnel-shaped holes, ponors, chasms and the largest “Styrian” cave – the Belojača.
In places where limestone comes into contact with much younger, merely 20-million-year old rocks, “black gold” has accumulated in the geological past. In the first part of the 20th century, the coal industry was the main source of income for many families in this region. The Makole coal mine with its sectors Sega and Hrastovec-Kleče stopped operating in 1963.
It left behind an ethnological, historical and technical legacy, while a “new” legacy is being created in the abandoned mine shafts – a legacy of numerous micro-karst formations (karst spring in Studenice, funnel-shaped holes and chasms in the area of Leneš, the Belojača cave) and micro-karst formations in abandoned mine shafts.
This educational trail leads through all kinds of awe-inspiring trees growing in the region of Zgornje Poljčane, Križeča vas, Brezje and Novake. Slovenia, among other things, take pride in its rich diversity of tree and bush species.
Our forests are among the best preserved and Slovenia is one of the most heavily forested countries in Europe. In order to understand the forest better, we have to get to know its trees. Indigenous trees to this area are especially important.
Trees do not grow only in forests, of course. Special significance in Slovene history is given to those trees that were planted in important places, where key historical events took place. Especially important are the lime trees that our ancestors planted on their farms to sit in their shade where they would meet with friends and make deals. Similarly, yew trees were planted on almost every larger farm on Pohorje, just like the chestnut trees that represented a source of survival for numerous generations.
We should not neglect to mention pioneer species, such as juniper, that colonize barren ground and of course we cannot neglect the unique trees, which are becoming even rarer. Sadly, one of those is an ancient Slovene tree species – the rowan, which was used as herbal remedy for people and animals.
The learning course is located in the Municipality of Miklavž na Dravskem polju, in the Dobrovce village, on a water protection area with the strictest regime. The course covers an area of 1.53 hectares and provides information about environmental laws and processes and the effect of mankind’s activities on groundwater.
The first part of the course will feature a learning centre with a garden and ERM facilities, where ERM processes will be observed and studied on phytoremediation beds, hedgerows, beds of ethereal plants and herbs, and a fruit tree plantation. The other part of the course is composed of an observation area with two observation rooms, where the effects on soil and groundwater will be monitored. Two 2 m deep holes were dug for the observation rooms.
View panoramic images of the first day of construction of the course. We suggest you use the full-screen mode.
In the early morning hours, in the Municipality of Miklavž na Dravskem polju, in the Village of Dobrovce, to be more precise, in the water protection area with the strictest regime, preparation started for digging holes for observation rooms of an outdoor learning course that will feature information on environmental laws and processes and on how mankind’s activities affect the groundwater.
Participants: From here we’ll continue three more meters that way … – We continue? – For three more meters, that’s why this is secured, so it doesn’t fall …
The observation rooms will at a depth of two meters display soil composition and show how mankind’s activities affect the top layer of soil and change the water’s property.
Participants: Nicely, metre by metre … Slowly! – No problem …
The course will cover an area of one and a half hectare and will encompass a learning centre with garden and ecoremediation facilities. It is designed as an open system that will be gradually shaped by activities of children, pupils, students and other visitors.