Simona’s story

Video: Simona looking back on her experiences

Conflicts and damage to nature are the results of years of communication

Boč is a beautiful nature park in Slovenia. Rare plants grow on the mountain meadows. The most typical of them is the Pulsatilla grandis.

It flowers in early spring. For years, park manager Simona complains about the damage caused by visitors to the biodiversity of the park. She communicates and communicates. About the value of the nature in the park and about the need to protect it. With schools, universities, people from the village, with visitors of the park, with hunters and mountaineers. She makes leaflets and publications. She lectures and gives speeches. All in vain. It is hopeless, she sees no improvement at all. Even worse, conflicts develop between the groups involved.

Unrealistic goal causes communication to fail

Camping on Natura 2000 site

Simona had a clear picture in mind: people visiting beautiful park Boč should appreciate the value of nature, embrace the importance of biodiversity and should not damage nature with their activities. In other words: all visitors should always behave in the right way.

There were many threats to nature: illegal picking of mushrooms, hunting, camping in fragile meadows, motor biking, mountaineering, hunting, et cetera. And there were many people involved: the local community, the municipality, the police, the hunters, the mountaineers, holidaymakers.

Simona communicated about all problems, with all people. The result: everybody felt irritated, nobody listened. And nothing changed besides increased frustrations. The people involved started to blame each other for the damage to biodiversity.

Finding Simona’s first doable step

Then Simona got help from consultant Frits Hesselink, who asked:

– ‘What is the problem, what is the threat to biodiversity, what species or habitats are threatened most?
– ‘Who are causing the threat, when do they cause that threat, what behavior causes the threat?’

Simona was surprised by these stupid questions. Her answer was: ‘The whole park is full of biodiversity, it is under threat of all visitors during the whole year. People do not know the value of nature. They don’t understand biodiversity. That’s why they don’t respect nature. If we educate these people about the value of nature in our park, their behavior should change.’
image002Frits did not give up and asked Simona: ‘What behavior, by whom and when is the biggest threat?’ The answer was easy for her: ‘The beautiful and very rare Pulsatilla Grandis is the most important threatened species in the park. Most damage is done during the 1st of May celebrations when large crowds of visitors come for a few days of camping and partying on the mountain meadow. And in doing so they trample our rare flowering plants.’
Well done Simona! Now we have a unique possibility that can bring us a decisive advantage. We have a doable first step: Stop damage to the Pulsatilla Grandis by people who celebrate the 1st of May on Boč mountain meadows.

Learn more from the full story

Go to the free course Strategic communication to learn tips from the full story of Simona. We can give away that she managed to solve all mayor problems and that the people involved are now working as a team of friends instead of fighting battles like enemies.

Simona communicated smartly, nature was saved!image002