Intensive Study Programme Bison Hillock
Focus Topics and Activities
- Context – Largest European wilderness stronghold in the Carpathian Mountains
- Environment – nature tourism, sustainable landscape management, innovative local products and services
- Community – the local community of the Armenis village and vicinity, local stakeholders
- Goals – Aligning nature and local development interests at landscape level, healthy ecosystems powered by socio-economic wellbeing
- Relevance – addressing challenges the villagers face through co-design with the local community
Key dates of the Bison Hillock Intensive Study Programme 2019
- Time frame:
- digital programme from mid March - June 2021.
- On-site workshop might be possible in late summer, according to COVID-19 situation.
- Host: The Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE) and World Wildlife Fund Romania
- Focus Challenge: Nature based tourism and rural entrepreneurship
- Focus topic: Wilderness powers values-based communities
- Workshop Location: Carpathian Mountains, Armenis Commune, Romania
- Participants: students and staff members from the Community Learning for Local Change ERASMUS partnership, villagers from the Armenis Community
Vision of the Bison Hillock
WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe together with local, national and international partners are working to create a sustainable development model in the Southern Carpathians by valuing the largest wilderness stronghold in Europe.
We believe that the local communities’ wellbeing can be sustained through nature-friendly enterprises connected to the largest national bison reintroduction plan in Eruope. WWF is leading a bison reintroduction program in the Tarcu Mountains, an environment where the European bison disappeared over 200 years ago.
The bison is an umbrella species that has great significance for maintaining ecological processes specific to wilderness areas. A national bison reintroduction programme creates a unique opportunity for wildlife revitalization, local community development, eco-tourism, research and education. (Source: WWF Romania)
Our intensive study programmes connect international students, WWF experts and local villagers to envision innovative eco-tourism and rural business opportunities in this unique environment.
Topics of the Bison Hillock Intensive Programme 2019
The first CLLC intensive programme on the Bison Hillock in May 2019 evolved around the following ideas:
- The Herd: A Branding and Resource Sharing Community of Entrepreneurs of Common Heritage – This idea is to create a network that will link locals with customers. This network will be a place that joins all the local people who have products or services to offer but are not in a place to start a business themselves. This should give the locals an entry point to the tourism market and at the same time will provide tourists for local products and experiences they actively seek. Through this network, the locals will be visible and much easier to find because we will create visuals that will be put on the doors of people who have something to offer, as well as create maps around the city.
- Woolies – This team brainstormed the idea of revalidating sheep wool as a local resource. Currently, the local community cannot make use of this material although there is an abundance of it. Therefore, unfortunately, despite its value as a raw product, sheep wool often gets burned. The project intends to promote inter generational learning in the field of wool processing and to reestablish and re-brand local wool products.
- Bibi Bison: Videos for Social Impact – This idea involves publishing videos with stories from the local hunter community, of which Bibi is a well-known individual. The activity has two main goals: First, to involve the hunters’ community in the change process of the landscape of Armenis, in which hunting will hopefully have a different role in the future, and second, to promote the community by sharing local stories, customs and atmospheres. With this, the hunter community can become an important player in the transformation of Armenis for sustainable tourism.
- Bison Hillock Digital – The challenge the local community in Armenis is facing is the lack of access for tourists to get to know about Armenis. Bison Hillock Digital came up with the idea of having an integrated application for mobile devices. The creators would like to redesign the existing website in order to reduce the expense of developing a completely new mobile phone application. The new app will offer services where tourists can book their accommodations and other activities. The application will link the locals, who offer services, to the tourists. This way, we will create new job opportunities for the local community.
Impressions Bison Hillock Intensive Programme 2019
- WWF Romania, CLLC Team, Daan van der Linde, Judith Jobse, Jana Nau, Mihai Arghir