MOVING: HCC Summer School

HCC Summer School – or how we want to raise awareness among young people in Brasov county about the importance of mountain areas and activities

The HCC Summer School is an idea that started in the fall of 2022. As part of the MOVING project, we held two series of dissemination sessions among young people in Brașov County based on the results of the project. In October 2022 we noticed for the first time the lack of knowledge and awareness among young people about the importance of mountain areas and activities in these areas (especially sustainable tourism and sustainable food systems), so we decided to organise a Summer School to address these topics with the local youth.  

The Summer School took shape at the beginning of 2024 and in March we started to promote it among young people in Brașov County. In two weeks, we discussed about mountain areas, disseminated the results of the MOVING project and promoted the Summer School to over 100 young people. 

The Summer School kicked off with a visual facilitation training, during which the participants learned how to use visual elements and tools to communicate more effectively, but also had the opportunity to interact with young researchers from Europe.

Starting May 23, we travelled with the Summer School participants to the final destination: the first certified eco-destination in the country – Zărnești-Piatra Craiului (the region studied within the MOVING project). We made a short stop at the Visitor Centre of Piatra Craiului National Park, where Andrea introduced us to the thematic route, the component localities of the park, the role of the park and the biodiversity we find within its borders. 

The last stop was at Villa Hermani – our host for the Summer School. We started the discussions by talking about the role of European Research and Innovation projects and the role of researchers, then we started the session on value chains in mountain areas.

Sustainable tourism was the first topic, as participants learned how to identify a sustainable tourism destination and business, discovered a number of eco-certified destinations in Romania and worked together to develop sustainability strategies for two tourism businesses: a hotel and a spa.  

The session continued with the role of quality schemes in building sustainable food systems, with participants learning how to identify the main quality schemes on shop shelves: Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication and Mountain Product. 

The day concluded with a discussion with Mr. Hermann, our host, who told us about the implications of opening an eco-certified tourism business and a documentary film about the importance of maintaining biodiversity in the Piatra Craiului Mountains area.

The next day we set off on a hike, having the opportunity to learn from experts about the traditional architecture of the place, the importance of preserving traditional economic activities (e.g. grazing) and the local biodiversity. 

Looking at the feedback received from the participants, the Summer School was an opportunity for young people from Brașov County to learn about mountain areas and understand their importance and the importance of practising sustainable tourism in these areas.