The Municipality of Selnica ob Dravi is small municipality in the southeast of Slovenia with 4,600 inhabitants. It is a rural area in the Drava river valley surrounded with hills of up to 900 metres above the see level. It has stunning nature scenes – a river, streams, forests and meadows – and clean air allowing people to live and work in good environment. Municipal strategic development goal is to be the healthiest municipality until 2040 – regarding the living and working conditions and societal cooperation. One of the most important aspects for keeping good health is movement. Modern style of living is causing less and less movements in people that not only leads to different illnesses, but also influences environment through the increase use of cars – affecting air pollution and degrades land use. It is not easy to change the familiar bad habits and routines regarding the mobility and sitting.

With these in mind, the municipality decided to foster the healthy and sport life through different programmes – co-financing sports clubs especially the ones that engage children and elderly people, and planning to build a new sports hall. Nevertheless, the promotion of the sport and involving citizens is the most important issue.

Engaging people in sports activities is a difficult task. Therefore, the municipality has started to work very closely with its primary school and kindergarten. The mayor also established a sport Forum where people active in variety of sports propose the activities that should be implemented to establish long term sport’s active local society. One of the most important issue identified is engagement during formative years – engage children from a very early age. In municipal kindergarten there are children from age one to six years old. Kindergarten headmaster was deeply involved in searching for good ideas and developed a special programme for promoting walking activities – short organised trips around the village.

The municipality is lucky to have more than fifty kilometres of varied paths – long and short walking and cycling nature routes, different slopes, through valley by the river and streams, through forest and over the meadows. Kindergarten and municipality together have developed a special hiking booklet which children can use to mark their walking activities. The booklet was developed by kindergarten and sport teacher together with professional designer taking into account all pedagogical aspects for children. The name of the booklet is “Little Hiker” and it use different methods like drawing and stickers to fill in to express the weather situation on the hiking day, how the hiker feels, what they have seen on a trip, a part can be used for photos from a hike with family and friends. Some activities are explained on the Picture 1. Kindergarten has planned at least 3 organised walking per year (one in each season) and one trip to be done within the family. Bellow on Picture 1 you can see a booklet in Slovene language but is easy to understand. Children that will fill in 4 trips will get a small award. Because we work with the small children the whole family is invited to participate including grandparents or other relations. For the first hike 65 people were registered which was a surprisingly high number. Unfortunately due to the epidemic, the first hike was postponed.

When working on the booklet and on finding suitable routes, municipality recognised that the routes are not well-equipped with signs and that they need more equipment such as benches, tables, informative and learning boards, hike signs, tree names, etc. to make the routes more attractive. Municipality has started to map the routes and install informative boards in 2021. They would like to promote such routes not only to local people but widely. They see such activity as a fantastic combination of learning and touristic activities leading to sustainable tourism goals that municipality would like to achieve. The Little Hiker booklet also demonstrate the importance and success of working together with stakeholders.

Acknowledgment: Municipality Selnica ob Dravi thanks for the cooperation to kindergarten headmaster Martina Jaunik, designer and artist Marijan Mirt for developing the concept and lector Maja Vačun, also to school headmaster Manja Kokalj and the members of the Forum for sport to approve the hiking activity as one of the most important one to live healthy life.

Picture 1: The hiking booklet: “Little Hiker”

Pages 5,6,7 and 8 are the same as 3 and 4 just with picture of the winter and spring


For more information please contact:

Energy Agency of Podravje,

Institution for Sustainable Energy Use,

Maribor, Slovenia

E-mail: [email protected]