Kozjansko is a magical, hilly region in south-east Slovenia, covered with ancient forest, where many trees have their legends and stories. Our family has been living in these forests for centuries, living with them and protecting them.
Recently some of the ancient trees were cut down by workers, unaware of their cultural meaning for the area. As a child I played in our forest valley, imagining that I had discovered this magical place and I'm the first person to ever walk there. Now, having a child myself, I would like to protect this forest as it was for him and future generations to come.
WHY is protecting
and preserving forest
in kozjansko so important:
1. AGE OF TREES
Some trees are more than 800 years old and in danger to be cut down.
1. monitoring of trees
We would like to make a map of important trees in this area and collect data about them. We'll make the data accessible.
2. water Streams
The forest is full of fast water streams. Branches that are left by cut trees block the flow and cause dangerous foods.
2. CLEANING THE BANKS
We would like to clean the stream banks of all wood and build natural water steps to reduce the speed of the stream.
3. Walking paths
There are many important pathways - among them the European pathway E7 - that are being destroyed because of deforestation.
3. preserve the paths
We would like to clean the paths and add new signs.
4. earth slides
Because of deforestation it comes to earth slides in the clay foundation and steep terrain.
4. Plant trees
The only possibility to avoid earth slides is to plant trees and to reduce the deforestation.
5. protected area
Despite the fact that the area belongs to Kozjansko natural park and is protected by Natura 2000 and UNESCO, the organizations don't achieve sufficient protection of the forest.
5. SPREAD awareness
Our plan is to connect with the present institutions in search for solutions. We plan to spread awareness with articles and projects.
6. animal species
There are many animal species that are loosing territory because of deforestation and are in stress because of excessive hunting.
6. hunt free zone
We would like to establish a hunt free zone in our forest and help it to establish a natural equilibrium.
7. planting foreign species of trees
After trees are being cut down, the area is deserted or artificially replaced by fast growing spruce, that produces more wood and is not a local species, therefore intruding in the natural biosphere.
7. monitoring the tree forestation
We would like to monitor the forestation by collecting data with drone pictures and prohibit invasive and foreign species to be planted in the area.
9. our HOME
Last but not least: The forest valley represent the sacred home to our family, that was living in and with this forest continuously for centuries.
9. Unique view
We would like to preserve the forest area as it was and to protect it for the new generations. We believe it is a cause worth fighting for.
8. wild garbage
Our forest is contaminated with areas of wild garbage.
8. Cleaning actions
With cleaning initiatives, we would like to free the area of garbage and install and manage garbage cans next to the paths.
Protected area Viza
We would like to set our goals high and to make our valley a special protected area with a name VIZA -after a mythological dragon monster from this 1.5 km long valley.
The folktale about Viza:
There is a steep canyon on the east side of the Podsreda castle. On it's bottom flows a lively stream till it reaches Bistrica river. By the source of this stream used to stand a giant beech tree. One night it fell down and nobody took much notice about it. It started to decay and spread the smell of fried fish. A forest worker went by every day on it's way to the castle. One day when he was very hungry and was tempted by the smell. He cut a brunch and tasted it. It tasted as fried fish. Since then, he took a bite every evening. But there was another creature feeding on that tree.
In the tree a dragon monster named Viza grew in. This monster is born inside of a tree when after a hundred years in certain night, certain hour and minute a tree is cut. »Viza« is strong as dragon, but peaceful if it has enough to eat. But be aware of it's powers, when it runs out of food. Because the forest worker fed on the tree, it ran prematurely out of food. One day right at midday a terrifying storm was formed. The little stream rose to a mighty river, took the whole village and washed it to the Black sea. Monster Viza jumped from its forest nest and jumped into the waters with a loud thunder. The old Podsreda village was gone, just the name Old market was left on the spot where the river Bistrica turns toward east.
The true facts and meaning of the myth:
The Myth represents true events in symbolic way. The forest worker eating the tree, represents, that people were cutting down the trees. On this suggests also the name Viza, from the German word die Wiese that means a meadow, - place without trees in forest. When the high water came, there was nothing to hold the earth on its palace, because of clay foundation. The fact is that an major geological event took place in that area cca. 1000 years ago. When the massive slide burred the village underneath. The myth was created as a warning to further generations, not to cut the trees in this area.
We would like to make the area:
- free from deforestation
- free from hunting
- free from wild garbage
- used for education
- the role model for other critical areas
- protected for further generations
cca. 2km long, 1km wide
Plant a Tree
1 seedling | 30€
On the deforested area we will plant a local type of tree
Help to clean the Forest
1 helper fee | 130€
We will organize a cleaning action in spring 2019 to clean the forest
Help us to
buy the forest
1 small area | 300€
The best way to protect the forest is to buy it and take care of it
Please help to save the forest by donation. The society for protecting the forest will be establish soon.
For now we accept donations on:
Andrej Grilc, Argentinierstr. 48/16, 1040 Wien.
IBAN AT49 2011 1826 5563 8700, BIC: GIBAATWWXXX
Funds raised till now:
In autumn 2021 we will organise a cleaning and forest working groups.
If you'd like to join us to clean and preserve the forest, please write to
We offer nature, fun, great vegetarian food,
accommodation and pocket money.
We would love to host you!
Volčja zvončnica and Širokolistna Lobodika (Ruscus hypoglossum) are plants found just in our valley.
They are both endangered and protected.