Has it occurred to you how much ecology is taught, presented and debated in dark, airless rooms in large buildings in big cities, where we sit quietly, ordered in straight rows? We cannot get much further away from the natural world that we are trying to understand! So, we hold our workshops within settings where we can be inspired by our surroundings.
The Boros valley is in Harghita County, Romania, one of the best preserved traditional landscapes of the Outer Eastern Carpathians. It is well away from the busiest tourist regions and about 4 hours drive north of Bucharest; the nearest city is Miercurea-Ciuc, 36 km away. About 90% of the local people speak Hungarian. The landscape comprises a mosaic of woodland, wonderfully diverse meadows and small villages, where the land is still farmed in traditional ways. Click here for a detailed video explaining the ecology and management of the region’s pastures. Although the tallest hills in the immediate area are only around 1600 m in altitude, it is certainly not flat and there are plenty of walking trails which we will explore every day.
The Borospatak Guesthouses are a cluster of traditional peasant houses, relocated to the Boros valley and furnished traditionally; other existing buildings have been modified to accommodate conferences and workshops. The format of the accommodation is such that most of us will need to share rooms within the cottages, but you will not be cramped! And sharing keeps the prices down! There is plenty of room to spread out and where possible we will situate activities outside (weather permitting). We have exclusive use of the whole site, so – within reason – we will not have to curb our enthusiasm! The facebook page for our hosts is https://www.facebook.com/skanzen.ro/
All food will be locally-sourced and traditional. Nearer the time, we will contact you for details of dietary requirements, room sharing preferences and disabilities.
Please note that although it is not a farm, the venue does raise some animals for meat, including pigs, sheep and poultry, so if this is a concern to you then you should consider whether to attend.
You will not need to book conference accommodation yourself : this is all included in the workshop price.
Although our meeting is about global ecological principles and future approaches rather than case studies, there will definitely be opportunities to talk to local stakeholders about their ecosystems and their specific needs for ecological research. We will do our best to build this into our afternoon walks, on which we will also be accompanied by ecologists familiar with the local fauna and flora, so that you can label all your photographs! A highly successful Mountain Hay Meadows conference was held here in June 2010, organised by Laszlo Demeter with the Poganyhavas Association and you can read the papers here www.mountainhaymeadows.eu),.