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SIAE Awards 2001
Oton Župančič Library Ljubljana

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2004

Awards to institutions, enterprises and local communities for outstanding professional or promotional achievements as well as for achievements related to the enrichment of one's own knowledge or the knowledge of others 

Manor Parks of the Šaleška Valley study circle, University of the Third Age from Velenje

(Mentor: Nataša Dolejši, expert leadership: Barbara Pajk, 5 members)
Proposer: University of the Third Age, Velenje


"This was the perfect dovetailing of the professional knowledge of our mentors and the rich experience of the members. They drew the attention of the entire Šaleška Valley. Parks are seeing many more visitors."

If we peruse the rich fruits of learning and work in the study circles of Velenje's University of the Third Age, we can state without reservation that the pulse of life in Velenje and the Šaleška Valley would not be what it is now without their contribution. Self-sacrificing members determined to do something good for their area is one particular feature of the Manor Parks of the Šaleška Valley study circle, which operates under the mentorship of Nataša Dolejši and the expert leadership of Barbara Pajk. At first it seemed that this would be some kind of historical circle, since many of the parks they studied had already been destroyed, and the trees in avenues and stands had died, but they realised - as Marija noted - that "without the past there is no present and this in turn is the stairway to the future!" They therefore decided that everything they discovered by studying old documents, browsing through books, visiting parks in all seasons and what they heard from people who talked to them, they would communicate to their grandchildren in a beautifully designed brochure, which would at the same time serve as a guide along some of the carefully tended trails. They collected a wealth of pictorial material, both from the period between the two world wars and from the present day, and they made sure to add some entirely personal records of the feelings they experienced while visiting the parks. They also collected expert data on the plants that still grow in the parks and gardens within the municipalities of Velenje (Gorica Manor, Villa Herberstein, Velenje Castle) and Šoštanj (Gutenbichl Manor, Villa Široko), and the booklet was ready! It was then presented to the public. Following the presentation, they have been called quite a few times by local residents who have noticed changes in the parks, and ask for their opinion; they are also approached for advice by people arranging their own gardens. They also try to inculcate young people with their concern for trees and other plants. They invited schoolchildren to the ceremony in which they planted a linden tree in the local community of Gorica, where the most magnificent tree had started to die after being struck by lightning. The children watered the sapling, and the adults protected the old linden with a special coating. They also put together a puppet film to promote the parks culture. Another well-received contribution from the members of the circle was arranging the estate of the Šoštanj gardener Alojz Kojc. As soon as they were acquainted with the invaluable collection, they decided to present it to the public. They made an inventory of the implements, books and research tools, and determined that this was the richest gardening collection in Slovenia, and some experts even wonder whether this is not one of the finest in Europe.

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