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The 2012 “Young People in European Forests” Project Concluded with an Awards Ceremony

Date of publication: 25 February 2013

On Friday, 22 February, 2013, the Slovenian Forestry Institute hosted the final event in the “Young People in European Forests” international youth competition, which was organized in Slovenia by the Slovenian Forestry Institute and the Scout Association of Slovenia. The high-schoolers who took part in the competition at the regional as well as national and international levels were greeted by SFI’s director Primož Simončič. Then the students and their mentors received awards for their successful participation in the competition, whose aim is to learn about Europe’s forests and other protected areas.

The final event in the “Young People in European Forests” project was held in the large conference room at the Slovenian Forestry Institute, which is a public research institute fulfilling a role of national importance in studying the forests and forest regions of Slovenia, along with their ecosystems, wildlife, hunting, industry, and other uses of the goods and services the forests provide.

The young visitors and their mentors from 8 high schools were first greeted by Primož Simončič, Director of the Slovenian Forestry Institute, “I am thrilled that young people today are still interested in forests, which will become even more important in the future.” Slovenia’s forests are important, not just as a source of renewable energy, but also in that forests make up 60% of the country’s territory. SFI is Slovenia’s only institute researching forests, and it also provides some public services in this field. However, conservation and protection of forests are not the only matters of importance for SFI and the development of forestry, but also the connection between the forests and the timber industry, as well as wooden products, which are often undervalued today in Slovenia. Restoring the forest-timber cycle will give Slovenia greater prominence, as well as help regain some of the jobs that have been all too easily lost in the past. I would like to thank you once more for taking such an interest in the forest, our research space, and I hope that the knowledge you gained will inspire you to further research in the future. After we hand out awards, I invite you to take a tour of the Slovenian Forestry Institute and its nearby research plots, where there are some interesting things going on in monitoring the urban forest as part of the EMoNFUr LIFE+ project.

High school students and their mentors were also welcomed by the head of the Scout Association of Slovenia, Tadej Beočanin, who said, “The Scout Association of Slovenia is the country’s largest youth organization. It is organized into local units and its tasks lie in educating young people for their integration into society. We accomplish this by raising young people into active adults, and we use nature as a basic tool. This is why we responded to SFI’s invitation so quickly, as we want to help young people make the transition to the world of adults easily, as active individuals. In addition to these elements, the youth competition is also a common tool to help reach our goals – nature, in our case the forests.”

As the event continued, high school students from 8 schools (BIC Ljubljana – Food Technology, Biotechnical School Maribor, Koper High School, Ledina High School, Moste High School, Medical High School Murska Sobota, Biotechnical Center Naklo, and Šentvid Ljubljana High School) received awards for their participation in the first level of the competition, the regional competition, and the most successful received awards for the second level of the competition, the national level. A special award was dedicated to the winning team at the national level, comprised of Anja Lepoša, Mojca Bagari, and Urška Kodila from the Medical High School in Murska Sobota under the mentorship of Renata Rožanc. The winning team also represented Slovenia at the international competition in Estonia. They gave their presentation to those in attendance, which, in addition to Slovenia's forests, and endangered animals and plants, also highlighted the country's tourist attractions.

Before the end of the final event, the young participants in the international competition, in which 20 European countries took part, gave their impressions about the project and thanked everyone for the opportunity of participating, including mentor Renata Rožanc, coordinators Andrej Verlič, Saša Vochl, and Tadej Beočanin, and the Medical High School in Murska Sobota, which supported the project financially. Informal socializing and the first preparations for the 2013 competition followed the official part of the program and the tour of SFI.

The international youth competition “Young People in European Forests” is the first competition of its kind. It is organized with the purpose of informing young people about the forests and other protected areas in Europe, with a special emphasis on the “Natura 2000” network. The competition’s organizer is the international YPEF commission in Poland. In Slovenia the competition was organized by the Slovenian Forestry Institute and the Scout Association of Slovenia. The members of the Slovenian National Commission were Saša Vochl and Andrej Verlič from the Slovenian Forestry Institute.

We would like all the participants to use the knowledge they gained about the woods and build upon it, and we would especially like to congratulate the winners.

Information on the YPEF 2012 competition

The Slovenian Forestry Institute


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