Nature Protection Supervisory Service
The Škocjan Caves Regional Park Act provided the legal basis for the beginning of operation of the Park's Nature Protection Supervisory Service. In many countries, this kind of work is called "ranger service", while in Great Britain, where efforts are under way to familiarize people with nature protection supervision, nature protection wardens are referred to as "countryside officers". The generally-accepted nature protection supervision strategy in Slovenia does not imitate the operation of the above-mentioned rangers, who are, incidentally, armed (Italy, the Czech Republic, the USA, African countries etc.), but resembles the less-strict approach to supervision in the protected area.
With the assistance of local inhabitants and nature protection supervisors, the Park's employees pay attention mainly to the preservation of natural ecosystems and life in genuine natural environment.
The Supervisory Service monitors the situation in the Park and its area of influence as well as supervising the implementation of protection arrangements and prohibitions established for the area of the Škocjan Caves Regional Park. It informs the competent inspectorates of violations of the prohibitions and their perpetrators and in cases stipulated in the Škocjan Caves Regional Park Act imposes financial penalties.
The supervisory service is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Decree on the Conditions for Filming and Photographing in the Underground Caves in the Škocjan Caves Regional Park Area (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 11/98 and.33/98), the Nature Conservation Act (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 46/14 ZON-C) the Natural Caves Protection Act (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 2/04) and the Decree on the Protection of Wild Fungi (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 38/94).
Currently, in the Škocjan Caves Regional Park this are authorized officers - rangers as follows: Marko Požar, Marija Fajdiga, Ales Iulita, Borut Lozej, Jana Martinčič, Damjana Može, Vika Hohnjec, Urška Čehovin, Tomaž Zorman, while the rest of the employees are still studying or have only partial powers.
In addition to professional we have a lot of sympathizers, acting as a volunteer rangers who have no powers of punishment, but they can legitimize in case of the violation of legal acts and they are reporting to the relevant institutions.
The general task of the Nature Protection Supervisory Service is educating, building awareness and providing advisory services to local inhabitants. The main task performed in the Regional Park area is the protection of the Regional Park with constant and direct monitoring of the implementation of protection regimes and prohibitions that apply to the Regional Park area, taking into account all regulations from the field of nature protection. In addition to these tasks, other activities are also carried out in the area of the Regional Park and beyond it, such as:
- direct monitoring and analysing of situation in the Regional Park and its area of influence, especially the protected natural and cultural valuable features;
- co-operation with persons performing various kinds of monitoring (of the Reka River, cave microclimate, radioactivity in the cave, flora and fauna, meteorological and hydrologic phenomena etc.) and follow-up of monitoring results;
- co-operation with the owners of individual monuments, expert assistance and counselling;
- co-ordination and participation in research projects within the framework of Public Agency activities, European parks, the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and others;
- managing monuments and sights;
- preparation and maintenance of trails and signs;
- co-operation with schools, faculties and scientists in building awareness and proper presentation of natural valuable features and their protection (lectures, presentations, joint actions, natural science days etc.).
Organisation of the Škocjan Caves Park Nature Protection Supervision Service
Association of Nature Protection Park Supervisors of Slovenia
The Association of Nature Protection Park Supervisors of Slovenia was founded by the Triglav National Park, the Škocjan Caves Park, the Kozjansko Park, the Notranjska Regional Park, the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, the Goričko Nature Park, the Logarska dolina Nature Park and the Society for Observation and Study of Birds of Slovenia – DOPPS (for the Škocjanski zatok Nature Reserve). The main task of the supervisors is the protection of parks as well as promotion and awareness-building of both local inhabitants and parks' visitors. The most important goals of park supervisors who are members of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) are the exchange of knowledge and experience and the implementation of variuos supervisory interests in co-operation with other nature protection organisations.
Text prepared by: Tomaž Zorman