The Obsotelje and Kozjansko biosphere area
Since 2010, the Kozjansko and Obsotelje region have been a part of the international network of biosphere areas within the Man and Biosphere programme (MAB) under the auspices of UNESCO. The MAB programme recognises biosphere areas as concept and means for realization of sustainable balance between the often conflicting goals of maintaining biodiversity and promoting human resource development by preserving cultural values.
The global network comprises 631 biosphere areas in 119 countries. Apart from Kozjansko and Obsotelje, the Julian Alps and Karst region are two other biosphere areas in Slovenia.
The Kozjansko and Obsotelje biosphere area comprises the region between the Sava, Savinja and Sotla rivers, covering 947km2 of land.
It is divided into:
- the central part with major nature protection goals (140km2),
- the peripheral part (360km2) with goals supporting protection of the central part, and
- the transitional or influential part (447km2) with major goals of sustainable development.
In the central part, the entire protected area of the Kozjansko regional park is located, and nearly half of the central and peripheral parts belong to areas of Natura 2000.
The region encompasses 11 municipalities. The largest parts of the central and peripheral areas of the biosphere area are within the municipalities of Bistrica ob Sotli, Dobje and Kozje, followed by Podčetrtek, Laško, Šentjur, Brežice, Sevnica, Krško, Šmarje pri Jelšah, and Radeče.
The network of scholls in the Kozjansko and Obsotelje biosphere area
The Kozjansko and Obsotelje biosphere area is managed by the Kozjansko Park Public Institute.
One of the most important tasks of the management body of the biosphere area is the promotion of research and education on every level, which is why on 24 October 2012, the Network of Schools of Kozjansko and Obsotelje area was established. The network includes 6 primary schools: Bistrica ob Sotli, Kozje, Lesično, Laško, Gorica pri Slivnici, and Kumrovec (CRO).
The purpose of establishing the school network is to encourage pupils in the early stages of their institutional education to discover and study the parts of their home environment that they find the most interesting.
Every autumn, at the beginning of school year, new research topics are published. Pupils and their mentors carry out their research until May. Then the research papers are publicly presented at Biodiversity Day and Parks Day (22 and 24 May). As a reward, they are taken to one of the protected areas in Slovenia and they also receive small gifts.