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Immersion into 'Wilder Nature'

The first WILDER NATURE training course has been successfully delivered last May. This new collaborative training has been designed between EWES (European Wilderness Education School), MOYO Training Foundation, and with local support of WeWilder, in the Țarcu Mountains in Romania.

The first days of the course consisted of outdoor classrooms with an introduction into nature positive tourism and community engagement, hospitality, expectation management and ethical guiding standards. One of the participants mentioned: 'I liked to discuss the topics about nature positive tourism and community involvement and to be taken along and be participant of activities that include the local community. it is 'practice what you preach' in a really clear way. But also the discussion on how to do that, and the challenges in getting the locals' involvement was valuable'.

Hands on involvement with the community played a large role in the learnings, with the participants joining in for an immersive experience by foraging wild flowers with Doda Natural, and milking the cows and making cheese with the the Plāiesu family. An incredible community experience that sparked the imagination of the participants to see what is possible in the nature positive tourism realm.

Our participants were very impressed with this social enterprise: 'The team was always ready to support us, with amazing food and great attention to detail like the natural soaps, local vegetables, a library on nature books... I love this place and their love for their region is contagious'.

After three days of nature classrooms and community immersion, it was time for the participants to venture into the wild. Sleeping in self-made shelters, learning how to make fire, observe bison and track animals.

This part of the course aimed to offer insights and training in wilderness expedition, wildlife observation, and interpretive guiding, but also also focused on personal development and (re)connection with nature. 'My eyes were opened to how much you can learn and understand by just looking at things. One of the things I will remember most is how during the night walk we were asked 'Can you hear how loud we are?', and that really helped to become more aware. Just these small things can make a big difference'.

By combining the necessary technical skills in the wilderness and interpretive guiding with the teachings on nature positive tourism, community development and guest management, participants will be able to create memorable experiences in their own area, after experiencing best case examples in this special location.

Over the past decade, the local community of Armenis together with WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe, have been working together to create a stable free-roaming population of European bison here, which forms one of the last remaining wilderness strongholds in Europe. 

To participants, the location was a 'a perfect example of what the course was about: nature positive and with local community engagement'.

Interested? A new course will take place from 9 till 15 September 2024.

Read more here.

Many thanks to all participants & the team.

Photos by Vincent Greeven, Radu Luchian and Aukje van Gerven.

Text by Aukje van Gerven.

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