Fourth Steering Committee meeting was held last week (24 - 27 September, 2018) in Apuseni Nature Park, Romania. The event gathered all project partners from 9 different countries, who discussed the progress on work packages focussing on the first round of workshops and making plans for the future.
Mr. Razvan Puia, the director of cabinet of a prefect institution in Bihor County held a welcome speech. Mr. Puia emphasized the significance of the ECO KARST project for the region, wishing the partners a lot of success in the following few months!
Participants were introduced to the meeting with an overview of results achieved in Period 3 presented by the Leading Partner. Each pilot area was given the opportunity to report about the feedback it received from its stakeholders during the first round of workshops. The meeting also included several dynamic and innovative activities where participants were able to prepare for the second round of stakeholder workshops and express their ideas for the PBB award concept.
In addition to meetings and workshops, a field trip was organized on the third day of the program. In the early morning, the ECO KARST team visited a cooper’s workshop, where the team was able to see how authentic wood and textile products are made. After a pleasant chat with the hosts, the team visited the Poarta lui Ionele showcave. The next destination was an amazing viewpoint – the summer village Calineasa where it was not possible to capture all the beauties of landscape with the camera!
In the afternoon, the team learned more about processing of Arnica montana in the Ecoherba – Bioflora Apuseni facility. Arnica montana collected in the park and processed in this facility later becomes an important ingredient of famous Weleda products. It is interesting that the Apuseni Nature Park is the only place in Europe where it is allowed to collect Arnica montana. The main goal of the Ecoherba – Bioflora Apuseni facility is the preservation of oligotrophic grasslands in the cultural landscape, rich with endangered species through sustainable land use patterns and the fair trade of Arnica montana. In collaboration with Weleda, the companies organise training courses for the local pickers to ensure sustainable harvesting of Arnica’s inflorescences.
Still carrying the pleasant scent of Arnica inflorescences in their nostrils, the team discovered the world’s largest underground glacier in the showcave Ghetarul de Scarisoara! What a stunning place!
After closing the 4th Steering Committee meeting, the ECO KARST team visited a facility for mushroom and forest fruit processing. The Emilian company supports local community development by involving women and youth in their business activities. Its strengths are women, youth, high-quality mushrooms and forest fruit combined with modern processing technology. The final product is visually apealling, practical and tasty. One of the products that was ready for tasting was the Terarium smoothie. CENER21 representative, Ms. Nadira Berbić, even prepared her own smoothie, using the static bike installed in the company'spremises!
In the evening, the ECO KARST team enjoyed marvellous traditional Romanian music and dance which made the stay in Romania even more interesting.
The Fourth Steering Committee was a great success, and the project partners were very satisfied with the activities and results achieved. ECO KARST team would like to thank the Apuseni Nature Park for being an incredible host and organizing our stay in Romania! In just a few days, we learned a lot about the Apuseni Nature Park, the Romanian tradition, the local population and their life in Apuseni mountains.