Early this year, the members of the “VERBUM BONUM” civil association in Spišské Tomášovce decided to try an unconventional way of presenting the beauty of rocks, rock formations and plants and animals in the “Slovenský Raj” (Slovak Paradise) National Park, and to establish an innovative community center with an environmental mission for children and young people. A grant amounting to EUR 1800.00 from the “Together for the Region” program run by U. S. Steel Košice and the Carpathian Foundation has helped them to make their dream true.
“We wanted to create an environment for children and young people in Spišské Tomášovce, where they will be able to spend their time in a meaningful way and develop their relationship to nature and the region through experience and awareness of ecological relations, both in words and images, and through touch and creative environmental activities. We led the project participants towards empathy and recognition of our values, and towards supporting the voluntary activities in the town. We have managed to breathe life back into disused areas, to improve public spaces, and to help children find a way to themselves and to nature,” says Mrs. Zuzana Hricová, describing the project of the “VERBUM BONUM” civil association implemented in cooperation with public volunteers, the Administration of the “Slovenský Raj” National Park, the local scout troop and the municipal office in Spišské Tomášovce.
They started in March. During their voluntary work they cleaned up an unused grocery store basement and changed it into a room for children and young people, established a rock garden around the grocery store and set out plants around it. “Since June we have been preparing several hiking tours for children with adventure environmental activities. The children could attend a photography course, to shoot natural beauties with their own eyes, to explore and collect medicinal plants, to manufacture natural soaps, or aromatic plant bags,” explains Mrs. Hricová, and also mentions a subsequent exhibition of the amateur photos with a competition. The best photos, selected by public voting, will be presented in a calendar entitled the “Magic World of Rocks 2016”, presented last month at Kláštorisko in the heart of Slovenský Raj during a tribute to people who have died in the mountains. “The photos of children and teenagers show the plants and animals living in our magic world of rocks – Slovenský Raj. Together we have been exploring the beauty and uniqueness of nature,” Mrs. Hricová added. “The “Together for the Region” program is fantastic as it gives an opportunity to the East Slovakian cities and towns. For example in Spišské Tomášovce the children and teenagers have no opportunity to meet together, to develop their talents and to experience educational or adventure events. Thanks to the support from the “Together for Region” program we have been able to achieve all this. Thank you,” Mrs. Hricová said.