A summer visit to the Austrian and Slovenian Infopoints

As the travel restrictions eased slightly among the Alpine countries, Secretary General Alenka Smerkolj recently visited three of the Alpine Convention Infopoints: the two Slovenian Infopoints in Tolmin and Mojstrana, and the Austrian Infopoint in Villach. During each of her visits, the Secretary General discussed and reaffirmed the importance of cooperation between the Alpine Convention and the Infopoints.

The Infopoints regularly participate in many of the Convention’s projects and activities, most notably the annual Reading Mountains Festival. In addition, the three Infopoints participated in the first edition of the Climate Hour in June, initiated by the Swiss Presidency of the Alpine Convention.

For Secretary General Smerkolj, the visit to Tolmin was the first one since 2019 and was therefore also her first meeting with the new director of the responsible institution, the Soča Valley Development Centre, Simon Škvor. One of the centre’s current work focuses is mobility, especially passenger transport, with activities ranging from supporting new and existing regional public transport routes, including across the Italian border, improving personal mobility of the elderly and contributing to the regional mobility strategy. The discussions went on to cover the other ongoing priorities of the centre in the scope of the Alpine Convention, including sustainable building, climate change adaptation, and green economy. Tolmin is also a very active member of the Alpine Town of the Year association.

The Secretary General’s second stop was the Dobratsch Nature Park, the Alpine Convention’s Infopoint in Villach. The meeting was very constructive, and the Secretary General was interested to hear about the exciting projects the nature park has been organising.

One of its instruments is a trailer which the staff of the park can set up as a stand at different locations, especially for educational projects. Another educational activity the nature park coordinates is a cooperation with seven primary schools in the municipalities in and around the park. They offer various outdoor programmes and give free entrance to classes that visit the park at least four times per school year. Through this programme, they are able to reach around two thousand children each year to teach them about the Alps, nature, the Alpine Convention and international cooperation for the protection of the Alps. The park is also engaged in a strategic programme about its future, in which it thoroughly refers to the implementation of the Alpine Convention and Protocols.

The final stop of the Infopoint tour was the Infopoint in Mojstrana, housed in the Slovenian Alpine Museum. During the meeting, the acting director of the museum, Irena Lačen Benedičič, gave an overview of some of the Infopoint’s activities planned for the rest of the year, including hosting a Christmas market in December.

The Slovenian Alpine Museum is undergoing construction to acquire additional space for a permanent exhibition. The museum has also recently extended its sustainable mobility offer to include bicycle rental. Moreover, the Slovenian Alpine Museum also organised the kick-off conference of the Juliana bike trail that connects the Sava and Soča valleys.

The museum also helped the Triglav National Park with the preparation of a photo exhibition on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the national park. The exhibition will show old and current pictures of the same location in the national park side by side, and will open in November in Tivoli park in Ljubljana.

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