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Management Board

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Mihael Brenčič
Polona Pengal
Nataša Atanasova, PhD

Supervisory Board

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Honorary Tribunal


Marjetka Levstek, phd

Following graduation from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Marjetka Levstek, PhD (Chem. Eng.), started working at the Domžale-Kamnik Wastewater Treatment Plant where she became Head of Laboratory in 2010. In her 25-year career she has been, along with her regular laboratory work, heavily involved in the treatment processes at the wastewater treatment plant and in numerous research and development projects in wastewater treatment, both in Slovenia and abroad. Levstek has specialized in improving and optimizing operation of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, as well as in their standardization and obtaining permits for them. She has authored several scientific articles, conducted trainings for wastewater treatment plant operators, carried out on-site consulting, and has been an in-company mentor to many BSc and MSc students.

Levstek has loved water and water protection ever since she was a little girl, and she puts that same energy into running the Slovenian Association for Water Protection (SDZV) as its Chair, which she became in 2014. Her vision is to raise public awareness and the awareness of experts about water protection, and to connect all the water and water habitats stakeholders. Her main message is that waters of high environmental quality can be ensured to the future generations only if we are all united, connected and have a clear vision of water protection.

Že od malih nog je velika ljubiteljica in zaveznica voda in to svojo energijo usmerja tudi v vodenje Slovenskega društva za zaščito voda, katere predsedstvo je prevzela v letu 2014. Njena vizija je povečati ozaveščenost prebivalstva in ostale strokovne javnosti na področju zaščite slovenskih voda ter povezovati vse akterje, ki jih združujejo voda in vodna okolja. Njeno glavno sporočilo je, da bomo lahko le enotni in povezani z jasno vizijo zaščite slovenskih voda zagotovili kakovostne vode našim potomcem.

Mihael J. Toman, phd

Mihael Jožef Toman is a Professor of Ecology and Inland Waters Protection at the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana and holds a PhD in ecology.  After graduating in biology in 1978 his first job was at the National Institute of Chemistry in the research group for chemistry, biology and water technology. He worked there for 15 years and narrowed his research to biological purification with active sludge and the role of the accompanying organisms in wastewater treatment. Toman was involved in the monitoring of rivers and lakes and specialized in biological methods for assessment of environmental quality. When he became Associate Professor in 1993, Toman continued with his research and started teaching at the Biotechnical Faculty. In 1998, he attained full professorship. Since then, Toman has been lecturing both in his home Department of Biology and in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Biotechnical Faculty, as well as at the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering. At the beginning of his teaching career, he worked and did research at the University of Copenhagen and at the Freshwater Biological Labs in HillerØd in Denmark for several years. After his return to Slovenia, Toman founded the Group for Limnology at the Chair of Ecology and Environment Conservation at the Biotechnical Faculty. He still runs the Group today. In his research, Toman collaborates with the National Institute of Chemistry and the Jožef Stefan Institute. There, he is an active member of the research group studying cycling of substances, especially the cycling of toxins in the environment and within food chain groups. He also collaborates with the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) on the monitoring of fresh waters.

Toman’s bibliography comprises 420 items, mainly in the field of ecology and environment conservation. He has mentored 15 PhD, 16 MSc and over 100 BSc students; published over 40 scientific articles with an impact factor (IF) (they have been cited over 200 times) in international journals; and given lectures at 80 conferences in Slovenia and abroad. He is a visiting professor at the University KazNAU in Almaty. Toman frequently publishes articles in Slovenian journals to help develop Slovenian terminology. In his media appearances, he always draws attention to topical Slovenian and international environmental issues. He strongly believes that every researcher should engage with the public, especially because of the many misrepresentations related to environment conservation and sustainable development that circulate in the media.

Toman is Vice-chair of the Slovenian Association for Water Protection (SDZV), a member of ecological societies in Slovenia and abroad, as well as a member of different commissions, including the Biological Society of Slovenia (DBS), the Natural Sciences Society of Slovenia (PDS), the Triglav National Park (TNP) board, the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation board, the expert group for biology at the National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, and the editorial boards of National Geographic and Proteus. He has written several textbooks, including Ekologija z varstvom okolja (Ecology and Environment Conservation), Varstvo celinskih voda (Inland Waters Protection), and Spoznajmo naše vode (Getting to Know Our Waters).

Science studies, biology in particular, seem to be interwoven in his DNA.  Toman dedicates his free time to nature and finds time for many hobbies connected to plants and animals. For years he studied butterflies of Slovenia and Durmitor creating a vast collection in his home. In addition, he is a great garden and biodynamic gardening enthusiast. He lovingly maintains his terraced ornamental garden Cvetlični breg (Flower Slope) at his home village Kamna Gorica. The garden, its technical and floristic design was even featured in a documentary series produced by the national television entitled Naši vrtovi (Our gardens).

He believes that any journey can be completed by taking small steps, that is why he feels that the mission of the Slovenian Association for Water Protection (SDZV) is to engage in an active partnership with local communities and the state with emphasis on expertise, raising awareness, and professional objectivity.

Pavel Gantar, phd

Pavel Gantar has a PhD in Social Sciences. His professional career can be divided into two periods. Between 1974 and 1994, Gantar worked at the Faculty of Social Sciences. His areas of research included socio-spatial processes and structures, the impact of new information and communication technologies (ICT) on spatial change; spatial planning processes and decision-making related to the use of scarce resources (space, natural resources); rationality in spatial planning; and building environmental awareness and environmental social movements. First as Assistant and then as Assistant Professor, Gantar lectured on two subjects: Spatial Sociology and Theories on Social Action (Spatial Planning). He also gave lectures on Sociology, mainly from the perspectives of space and environment, at the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, as well as at the Landscape Department of Landscape Architecture at the Biotechnical Faculty. During the first period of his career, Gantar was also actively engaged in several social movements, and was President of the ŠKUC-Forum Association, a columnist at Mladina magazine, and a board member of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights.

The second period of his career began when he entered professional politics. Between 1994 and 2000, the time of major changes in environmental, nature conservation and spatial planning policies and legislation, Gantar served as Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning. Between 2001 and 2004, he was Minister of Information Society. During that time a new telecommunications legislation and the Public Information Access Act were adopted. Gantar worked extensively on the issue of information and communication accessibility as well as on that of digital content development. Between 2004 and 2011, he was a deputy in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, and from 2008 to 2011, he also served as President of the National Assembly.

Following his retirement, Gantar returned to researching spatial planning, environment and water drawing on his rich hands-on experience from having created policies in those areas. In recent years, Gantar has focussed his research on water from the social science point of view trying to integrate the social and natural science findings into the body of knowledge on waters. He still gives an occasional lecture to postgraduate students. Gantar has written numerous articles and treatises; he has also published two books on urbanism and spatial planning.

Gantar is an active member of the Slovene Sociological Association, the Town and Spatial Planning Association of Slovenia, and DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia where he is also a board member.

Nataša Uranjek

After finishing her studies at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Ljubljana, Nataša Uranjek, BSc (Chem. Eng.), started working at the Public Utility Company Velenje as Head of Technology and Monitoring Department. At the beginning of her career, Uranjek was involved in water treatment and water quality monitoring in district heating systems, and then moved on to waste management.

Currently her main fields include drinking water treatment, water quality monitoring of drinking water, and wastewater treatment processes. Uranjek focusses on studying and optimizing wastewater treatment processes and on the anaerobic stabilization of biological sludge, in cooperation with various research institutions, such as the National Institute of Chemistry, the Jožef Stefan Institute, and the Institute for Environmental Protection and Sensors.

Mihael Brenčič

Mihael Brenčič

Polona Pengal, phd

After graduating in biology from the Biotechnical Faculty at the University of Ljubljana, Polona Pengal, PhD (Biol.) first worked as a lab assistant at the Marine Biology Station Piran for a few months. While working as a fisheries expert at the Fisheries Research Institute of Slovenia between 2009 and 2015, she continued her studies and obtained a PhD in Biology in 2013. At FRIS, she managed different projects, including national fisheries resource monitoring and biological bycatch and discard sampling in accordance with the EU Data Collection Framework. She also worked as an independent expert in the Working Group on Fish Stock Assessment of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), providing advice on fisheries management to ensure sustainable management of fish stocks.

In 2015, Pengal and her colleague founded a professional, non-profit, non-governmental organization called the Institute for Ecological and Ichthyological Research – REVIVO, of which Pengal is a Scientific Director and Project Manager. She has been the Slovenian representative in the Danube Sturgeon Task Force (DSTF) since 2016, and in the European Tracking Network (ETN) since 2018.

Pengal has mentored and co-mentored several undergraduate and postgraduate students, has regularly been giving lectures at various conferences and workshops both in Slovenia and abroad, as well as published several scientific and popular science articles. Since 2018, she has occasionally given lectures and conducted workshops on the importance of preserving ecosystems and biodiversity to ensure resilience to climate change at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands as an invited expert. Within the framework of the EVREKA I and II projects, Pengal supervised the development of a series of field workshops for elementary and secondary schools designed to raise awareness among the youth on the importance and methods for water ecosystems conservation.

In 2018, Pengal worked with the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering on the VORS project, part of the Creative Path To Knowledge initiative of the University of Ljubljana, in which she mentored students in their research of the impacts of barriers and in designing fish passage facilities to ensure river continuity for the Sava River.

Within the framework of the Horizon 2020 Programme, Pengal has participated in two European research projects: NAIAD and DRYvER, in which she has joined forces with leading European scientists to develop methods and tools for sustainable water management, transferring and applying the acquired knowledge and solutions to Slovenia.

Nataša Atanasova, phd

Nataša Atanasova