How the Young Lynx Guardians at the Gymnasium France Prešeren took on their new roles and talked about the lynx in different languages

Posted - Jul 13, 2023

This school year, the Gymnasium Franceta Prešeren has been integrating topics about large carnivores, especially lynx and wolves in Slovenia and Europe, into various subjects, both natural and social sciences. The Gymnasium is part of the Young Lynx Guardians programme in the framework of the LIFE Lynx project, and they are also Stewards within the LIFE WOLFALPS EU project. Because the lynx and the wolf are so different in their conflict with humans, we worked on each one separately. Sometimes, however, the topics related to large carnivores overlapped a bit – then we linked them together in a meaningful way.

In the LIFE Lynx project, students were informed about the threats to our lynx population and the importance of lynx translocations to Slovenia and Croatia. Through the lynx, they learned about a wide variety of topics, some of them also visited the DINA Pivka Centre for Large Carnivores. This June, during the workshop for the Young Lynx Guardians, the students did a role-playing activity; they tried to put themselves in the role of a breeder, hunter,  nature conservationist or secretary from the ministry and tried to present and defend different positions of their role through discussion. Role-playing is not a common way of learning in the classroom and can therefore be a bit unusual or even challenging for many students. Nevertheless, we were delighted to see how well some of them took on their roles.

During French and German Language lessons, students worked on a variety of written, artistic and visual arts projects, and learned about the lynx and other large carnivores in various literature, poetry, posters and discussions. In biology lessons, they discussed the social aspect of large carnivores with an English native speaker, learned about winter tracking methods and genetic sampling of wild populations, and learned about the anatomy, morphology and ecology of lynxes.

Students designed a poster about the lynx in German language – its biology, visual characteristics and impact on ecosystems. Photo: Nina Ražen

Some students convincingly played their role in a play. Photo: Nina Ražen

In the framework of the Open Doors Day at the end of June, they presented their knowledge and inventions to each other (quizzes, questions, puzzles on anatomy, morphology, ecology, posters in foreign languages, demonstrations on protecting small livestock and the makeover of the bear-proof garbage bins). 21 students participated in the preparation of exhibits, independent workshops, challenges and tasks, which were attempted by about 150 other students.

During a biology lesson, students discussed the social aspects of large carnivores with a native English speaker. This way, they also linked different subjects and skills. Photo: Nina Ražen