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GOVSI podcast: Non-governmental organisation Birdlife Slovenia first recipient of the Rado Smerdu national award

In the new episode of the GOVSI podcast, host Zoran Potič interviewed two guests, one from the public sector and one from the non-governmental sector – Director of the Directorate for Nature at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning Dr Katarina Groznik Zeiler and President of the Society for Observation and Study of Birds of Slovenia (BirdLife Slovenia (DOPPS)) Dr Tanja Šumrada. The occasion for the interview was the awarding of a new national award, the Rado Smerdu Award, for contributions to the development of the profession of nature conservation and to nature conservation itself.

The first recipient of the award is the Society for Observation and Study of Birds of Slovenia (BirdLife Slovenia (DOPPS)), one of the largest non-governmental organisations specialising in nature and environmental conservation in Slovenia and a member of the global organisation BirdLife International. The society has contributed to the implementation of various activities in the field which have already demonstrably improved the condition of bird species and their habitats and thus also the wider condition of nature values and biodiversity. Members of the society have been involved in the establishment of three protected areas, which they also manage: Škocjanski Zatok Nature Reserve, where a comprehensive restoration of the area was carried out; Ormož Basins Nature Reserve, where a varied mosaic of wetland habitats was arranged; and Iški Morost Nature Reserve, where grassland birds and other inhabitants of the sustainable agricultural landscapes were protected through conservation of wet grasslands. Upon the accession of Slovenia to the European Union, BirdLife Slovenia made a key contribution to the designation of Special Protection Areas, which are part of the Natura 2000 network – the world's largest network of protected nature areas.

As stated in the award's justification, the society constitutes the core of professional development in the field of the protection of birds and their habitats and has a significant impact on the development of the wider nature protection profession in our country.

Who was Rado Smerdu?
Biologist and nature conservationist Rado Smerdu (1949–1984) contributed significantly with his work to the development of methods of nature protection and to the publication of the Inventory of the Most Important Natural Heritage in 1976. One of his key professional contributions was the presentation and testing of the natural heritage valuation method on Planinsko Polje. He contributed to professional journals and made several films with natural, caving and nature protection content. At the International Speleological Film Festival in France in 1980, he received, together with his co-author Vilko Filač, a special jury prize for the film Kje so tiste stezice? (Where are those paths?).

You are invited to watch and listen