Introducing Our Nature Heroes: Neza Peterca
We are super excited that today you get to meet another one of our Nature Heroes! Our Nature Heroes are real-life people, who are out there in the wild doing their best to change the world. But they don’t only exist in the real world... They are also characters in our letters! Where they get to join River, Tom and Rusty on their crazy adventures!
Today’s Nature Hero is Neza Peterca. Neza is based in Slovenia and is the creator of What Happened, a creative studio for all things outdoors where she repairs and repurposes old outdoor gear, runs workshops and DIY tutorials and educates people on how to take care of their clothing and equipment. Neza is also a part of Patagonia's Worn Wear Program and spends her spare time outdoors. She particularly loves to Bikepack and is committed to inspiring all women to get on their bikes and explore the world around them more independently.
Neza appears in Letter 5, one of my personal favorites because of its particularly beautiful illustrations! There she shows River and Tom the beauty of the weather & teaches them how they can save, reuse and repurpose almost anything!
We absolutely loved our chat with Neza, she is so cool and inspires us in so many ways, we know you’re going to love her too. Speaking with Neza is Masha, our Founder.
Masha: Hi Neza, why don’t you introduce yourself to our Nature Protectors.
Neza: I am Neza and I live in a really tiny village in the heart of Slovenia. My home is a small hut on the top of the mountain, where I also have my tiny workshop, full of sewing machines and fabrics. There I do my job – I am a clothing doctor. If a person comes to me with their broken pants or jacket, I help fix it for them so they can wear it for a few more years.
Masha: We love to ask the question, how does nature remember you? This question is really about turning your perspective around and looking at the nature you have come into contact with in your life. Were you curious about nature as a child? Or disinterested as a teenager? Whatever answer comes up for you :)
Neza: Nature probably remembers me as a kid running around barefoot, always rolling down the hills covered with wildflowers, sitting on the ground and making wreaths. I would lie on the ground and listen to crickets for hours until my head was so buzzed there was nothing more to think about. Funnily I still do exactly the same!! :)
Masha: OK, so that’s how nature will remember you, how do you remember nature?
Nature always meant freedom for me. There were no rules and I could create my own imaginary world, full of funny characters.
We are super lucky in Slovenia to have more than 60% of the country covered with nature, whether forests, mountains, sea, lakes. .and it’s been ‘implemented’ into our lives from a very early age.
And those memories I have from an early age really stuck with me and have set a foundation for who I am today.
Masha: How do you personally connect with nature on a daily basis?
Neza: I am lucky enough to live just on the edge of the forest – where I can go daily to ‘clear my mind’. Most of the time I go barefoot, except when there is snow. I’ve only been living here for about 8 months and I know every hidden corner of this forest, I know where the hedgehog mushrooms are growing, where I can pick chestnuts and I even found a secret cold dip spot!
Masha: Do you have any tips for other parents who want to create a closer connection to nature for their children?
Neza: I don’t have my own kids but I think it’s really important to show them nature through play. Forest is such a magical place, where imagination knows no limit.
Let them feel like they are explorers, get them binoculars, magnifying glass, take a bird-watching book!!
Masha: How would you envisage a world where all kids are Secret Protectors?
Neza: Kids are like sponges – therefore it’s important to feed them a diverse range of information so they will feel confident in their opinions and be able to make positive contributions to the world.
At the end of the day – we are responsible for who these kids will grow into – and if we can give them as much information as possible, we can then feel safe that mother nature is in good hands.
Masha: And finally, why is Secret Protectors Club important to you?
Neza: I’ve seen in the past how trades are dying – because people didn’t want to share their knowledge, because they were too afraid to lose their job or get replaced by younger generations. It is extremely important for me to share my knowledge with other people – and by sharing, other people are open to share something back with you. We have lost the sense of collaboration in this society, and everything is too focused on just taking care of yourself.
We will only ‘save’ this planet if we’ll step together and this includes our children!
🌱 We need your help to make sure that Neza and her mission reach as many children as possible via our Secret Protectors Club Box. You can support us via our Kickstarter campaign!