NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS : existing completed examples
Naberi si čaj
Full project title
Naberi si čaj - educational webpage
Herbalism is an important cultural heritage in Slovenia. Knowledge is passed down between generations, and due to oral transmission, it is deficient. Many people also lack knowledge of sustainability which impacts nature. That encouraged us to create an educational website (nabericaj.si), a free-to-use tool about medical plants and their usage to ease health issues. With our project, we preserve cultural heritage, share verified knowledge, and teach people to harvest plants sustainably.
Where was your project implemented in the EU?
When was your project implemented?
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Which programme(s) or fund(s)? Provide the name of the programme(s)/fund(s), the strand/action line as relevant and the year.
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Please provide a summary of your project
In Slovenia, we have a strong tradition of picking medicinal plants like elder and linden flowers, chamomile, and nettle. Even from a young age, we are taught that for every disease, a plant grows. This custom is usually transmitted between generations and represents our rich cultural heritage. We Slovenians are extremely fortunate with our biodiversity. Even if we live in the capital city, only a walk away from the main roads gives us opportunities to become a herbalist or a forager.
Due to mainly oral and thus superficial transmission of knowledge, we believe that we hold nostalgic and limited views on medicinal plants and especially lack knowledge of sustainable plant harvesting and usage. That encouraged us to create a project Naberi si čaj (eng. Pick yourself tea).
Our main product is an educational website (nabericaj.si) about useful plants, which is a free-to-use tool available to anyone. It describes important medical plants, their abilities to ease health issues, and their usage. Through interactive searching and filtering by name or health issue, a user quickly finds himself in the world of herbalism.
Along with the website (visited with around 2000 users monthly), we developed a community through social media that gives us excellent responses on the usability of the project. We believe we excite the community that is becoming more environmentally aware and active outside.
With our project, we preserve and enhance access to cultural heritage and teach people to harvest plants sustainably. The website is interactive, attractive, functional, and easy to use since we find aesthetics crucial. In terms of inclusion, the project provides users with verified knowledge, is improved in the interaction with users, is free to use, and accessible to all.
Our project is non-profit, and we currently do not have any benefits out of it. We put a lot of effort while creating it during our free time and all costs are covered by ourselves.
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability and how these have been met
We promote sustainable use of medicinal plants, strengthen environmental awareness, and promote a sustainable diet.
One of the most important goals of our project is to educate people on how to use medicinal plants sustainably. Many people who harvest medicinal plants lack knowledge of their sustainable use. They harvest them in a way that harms the environment. For example, they collect all the plants at one site or even uproot plants. If the plants have not yet been in the seed production stage, they cannot reproduce, and we will not find them at the same location next year. In this way, many plants are on the verge of extinction. We educate people to collect only a few plants at one site, to use scissors so that they will not uproot a plant, to pick an amount they will personally need for one season, and to never pick or harm the protected plants. We encourage cultivating plants, especially ones that are rare in nature.
With the knowledge we share, we strengthen environmental awareness. We help people to know medicinal plants, start appreciating their healing powers, and the nutrients they give. With this knowledge, our concern for nature, and the planet grows. We discovered that the more we are in contact with nature, the more we take care of it. It leads us to behave less consumeristically and more sustainably. Plants teach us modesty and moderation which strengthen our environmental awareness.
Many medicinal plants are also edible. A plant-based diet is more sustainable than a meat diet and has lower environmental impacts. It contributes to food and nutritional security and healthy lives. People can enrich their daily menu with (wild or cultivated) medicinal and edible plants. Because of their diversity, strong flavors, and nutrients that cannot be found in cultivated vegetables, people rarely reach for meat. We provide information on dishes that can be prepared with these plants and which vitamins and nutrients they contain.
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met
Our goal was to make a user-friendly and modern web page that is simple and transparent to users. We created a web page where information is delivered creatively. Articles are equipped with many high-quality photos of plants for easy identification.
Naberi si čaj is a webpage with a modern design that is user-friendly, easy to use, responsive and transparent. We took special care about easier readability. Text columns are narrower, with most of 75 characters per line, which makes the text more readable. Also, the selection of fonts makes text easier to read.
Our goal is a good user experience where information about medicinal plants is gathered at one site and where users quickly get to the specific information. We have created quick filters where plants are divided into categories according to their usefulness and the symptoms they alleviate. For example, if our user has a cold and wants to know which medicinal plants to use to ease the cold symptoms, then clicking on the category “common cold” provides him with all the information about medicinal plants for the common cold and their ways of usage.
The information is presented creatively, which helps the user to more easily find the required information. Text is split into smaller sections for better transparency. We use interactive icons to provide important information about plants (for example, whether the plant is cultivable). The time bar is used to visualize the time of harvesting the plant. The plant overview is gathered in a section we name - plant passport.
Each medicinal plant is equipped with several high-quality photos for more accurate and easier identification. Photos show different plant parts and their growth in different seasons. We took most of them ourselves, others are under creative commons license. When we take photos, we take care that they are useful, knowledgeable, and aesthetic.
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion and how these have been met
Our goal is to raise awareness and educate people through quality content about medicinal plants, their ways of usage, and sustainable harvesting. Since herbalism has a long tradition and is an important cultural heritage in Slovenia, we want to preserve this knowledge in the community. We encourage people to cultivate medicinal plants in their garden, especially those that are rare or harder to find in nature. We also educate about toxic plants, how to distinguish them from others, and about protected plants or plants that have a limited amount of permitted withdrawal from nature.
We encourage people to spend time outside. Social media is a powerful tool for influencing people for their good. When we share information about currently available plants and share tips on their usage, we set an example for them. This way, we make them more active, connected with nature, and spend more time outdoors. Being physically active has many good influences on a human's well-being and health, both physically and mentally. In the long run, this can contribute to relieving public health.
The content on our website is free and accessible to everyone, regardless of social status. In this way, our nature conservation efforts reach everyone. Since this is the modern way to reach people and educate them, we are very active on social media. We are also members of different Facebook groups about medicinal plants, herbs, and foraging, where we post content about preserving plants, correct ways of harvesting, and usage. This way, we reach people already interested in this topic and would like to expand their knowledge.
We are accessible to all people who have some extra questions and comments. They also contribute to the improvement of the content with their experience and knowledge. They can reach us through our web page via email or through social media accounts. Every day about five people reach us through the mentioned channels.
Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for
Our project contributes to maintaining and enhancing access to herbalism, which is an important cultural heritage in Slovenia. We share verified knowledge and teach people about sustainable harvesting and usage of medicinal plants.
We preserve herbalism as an important cultural heritage in Slovenia. In the past, the preservation of herbal knowledge was typical in the domain of monasteries. Given that religious practices in Slovenia are changing, we must maintain this rich knowledge in the community. With the content that we publish on our website, we preserve this important cultural heritage. Since knowledge, which is orally transmitted between generations, is deficient, we provide people with verified and factual information about medicinal plants.
We teach people to harvest plants sustainably. The way we collect plants has an impact on the environment that is the reason we are delivering knowledge on how to harvest plants correctly. We got several responses from our followers who said that they learned from us.
We teach people to live a sustainable lifestyle connected with nature. Knowledge about medicinal plants results in being connected with the environment and more sustainable. When we promote this kind of lifestyle, we indirectly make people spend more time outside. It contributes to their health in the long run.
We believe we have created a community of people interested in herbalism. Around 2000 users monthly visit the website (the number is growing). In only half a year, we reached 2,165 followers on Facebook and 1,882 followers on Instagram, which is relatively good for a small population of Slovenia.
We have even been noticed by local TV. They have found the idea interesting, especially because we are young. Stereotypically, the topic is in the domain of older people. However, we proved it wrong, since our project encourages many young people who are interested in this topic and joined the movement with great enthusiasm.
Please explain the way citizens benefiting from or affected by the project and civil society have been involved in the project and what has been the impact of this involvement on the project
Citizens gain new knowledge about herbalism as a cultural heritage. They learn about medicinal, edible plants, and sustainability. We give people knowledge on how to identify useful plants in nature and make various products that can ease symptoms of the disease, health issues, or even spice up the menu. At the same time, they gain self-confidence when they use their knowledge in real life. A special feeling arrives when we connect through foraging with our ancestors in some way and can find food and herbs outside of our backyard.
The citizens are also leading healthier lifestyles when they spend time outside picking plants. Search for the plants makes them walk longer distances and fulfill them with feelings of pleasure and excitement, which contributes to their physical and mental health. They are more aware of nature and season changing, how much life is there all year long, which makes them more connected to nature and at the same time with themselves.
Leading this kind of lifestyle even helps to lower consumption. When we realize how fragile nature is and how much harm we do when living a consumer lifestyle, we slowly begin to reduce our need for material goods and focus on the more important things.
Please highlight the innovative character of the project
With our innovative approach, we educate, make people active outdoors, and connected with nature. The website itself is innovative since it is the only of the kind in the Slovenian language. Our content is of high quality, and the website includes interactivity.
We identify our strategy to educate people to be sustainable and to spend quality time outside as innovative. With our website and our presence on social media, we give knowledge and make people curious to go outside and do something for themselves. We try to make them aware of nature and more sustainable in everyday life. We know that our innovative model works since we have got many positive feedbacks from people not involved in medicinal plants and nature before.
New and innovative is our website itself. Our webpage is the only one in the Slovene language that offers information about medicinal plants in one place. It includes innovative filtering, searching, and categories for plants, which cannot be found elsewhere. We started this project since we found out that many sources describe medicinal plants, but no site includes all significant medicinal plants in such an interactive way.
While searching for information, we found out that many sources have low-quality content, which is usually not double-checked. We identify the quality of our content as innovative. All content is double-checked between independent sources. Besides books and web pages in English, we also check scientific articles which offer verified information. In our articles, we cite all sources. It allows users to backtrack to the source and improves our content quality.
An important feature of our page is the part where it is listed which plants are currently ready for harvesting. We found ourselves in the situation when we forgot when a specific plant should be harvested, so we missed it for this year. With the help of our application, it cannot happen again since this feature is available at the visible position on our webpage.
Please explain how the project led to results or learnings which could be transferred to other interested parties
We developed a model where we write quality content that educates people and along with that we also motivate them to go outside and be sustainable. A similar model could also be transferred to other fields. For example, one could create a similar educational website about cultural heritage and hidden gems in the city, which would encourage people to go outside and discover architecture gems that they have not seen yet.
We developed a theme for our webpage that could also be transferable to other domains. The theme is responsive, easy to read, and includes innovative elements such as categories, interactive filtering, and searching. Some of those elements are rarely used on other websites. For example, we could use a theme for a gardening website where we could also reuse the timeline and plant passport designs from our website.
The whole model and the website layout are also transferable to other languages. One of our wishes for the future is also to make content available in English, such that also other people from around Europe can benefit from it.
Is an evaluation report or any relevant independent evaluation source available?
III. UPLOAD PICTURES
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed project has not been proposed for the Awards more than once under the same category and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
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