Centrul de Ecologie Montană is a non-profit ecological foundation specialized in the protection of alpine and mountain ecology.
It was founded in 1998 by Michael Orleanu (geophysicist) who loves the mountains and is passionate about the alpine and mountain nature.
In the Bran County, more exactly on the mountain village of Moieciu de Sus, is the area of greatest interest, study and development of the Centrul de Ecologie Montană. Moieciu de Sus is where CEM operates and is involved in various projects together with other partners.
Centrul de Ecologie Montană is a foundation that since its inception in the village Moieciu de Sus activated in the region and attracted specialists from various fields to conduct studies and research in the area.
Since the beginning of its establishment, the CEM Foundation opposed urban-industrial tourism development in the region, drawing attention to the dangers related to such developments in the mountainous region of Bran-Moieciu-Fundata.
The history of the projects and actions undertaken by CEM shows a red thread easy to follow that exactly fit the Foundation’s goals as early as 1998, but dates even in the previous period.
1990 – During a trip made by a group of students from the Geophysics Faculty, University of Münster / Germany in the Apuseni Mountains the idea of a ‘center for students excursions’ in a mountainous region of the Romanian Carpathians is born and develops. The organizer – Michael Orleanu – takes the idea and starts ‘looking’ for an appropriate region in Romania
1991 – Then follows – accompanied by the pedologists Dr. Konstantin Orleanu and Dr. Valentin Bălăceanu – the ‘discovery’ of the mountain region of ‘Bran County’ by M. Orleanu and the acquisition of the property in Moieciu de Sus – a region ‘predestined’ for student activities and trips.
1991 – Centrul de Ecologie Montană is established as a group without legal support with the interest to conserve biodiversity and support the concept of sustainable development in the mountain and alpine area in Romania
1993 – CEM receives the first trip of students from the Faculty of Geology of the University of Köln / Germany
1994 – The organizing of multiple trips and eco-thematic meetings university in Moieciu de Sus
1996 – CEM involves and works under the project Phare-rural tourism developed by the organization ‘Operation Villages Roumains’
1998 – Centrul de Ecologie Montană is set up as a Romanian legal form of organization -“Foundation” under Law 21/1924
1999 – CEM starts the project ‘Conservation of Habitats in Bucegi National Park’, program co-financed by the European Life-Nature99 grants
2000 – present – CEM runs several environmental projects in collaboration with various organizations and institutions from Romania and EU
2001 – present – CEM maintains, supports and coordinates several diploma projects, master and doctorate of some students from Romania and abroad
2005 – Renovation of CEM Guest House
2007 – CEM decides to engage more strongly in organizing events in mountain regions in order to attract attention to agro-pastoral mountain landscape endangerment caused by the urbanization process left to chance by the local governments
2010 – With a new concept to address issues the mountain area CEM involves and starts organizing several events (EcoMarathon, EcoCross, EcoKids etc.) continuously growing and at the 2015 edition it gathered around 1,400 runners, making it one of the most important tourist events in the area
2011 – present – CEM initiates, supports and coordinates civil protection actions of agro-pastoral mountain landscape, of the conservation of biodiversity and traditional architecture of the mountain environment (www.moieciudesus.ro).
To mention some examples:
• Lobby for putting under protection of the natural site “At Chisatoare” in Moieciu de Sus (habitat “Petrifying springs forming tuff / travertine” – code Natura 2000 habitat: * 7220 – considered to be of priority conservative interest (after Romanian nomenclature R 5417) is represented by Cratoneurion communtati springs)
• Successful combating construction of an amusement park inside the site “La Chisatoare”
• Successful combating the start of a project to build a chain of four small hydro plants on the Popii Valley in Moieciu de Sus etc;
2012 – CEM initiated and supported the establishment of Citizen Advisory Committee in Moieciu de Sus village under the Law of Local Public Administration in order to improve collaboration between Moieciu City Council, City Hall and citizens (www.moieciudesus.ro);
2013 – CEM initiated and supported the establishment of administrative actions to combat the building of the Transcarpatica road, road intended by the initiators to link Brasov to Dambovita County through the Bucegi Natural Park protected area.
2015 – 2016 Centrul de Ecologie Montană (CEM) in partnership with the Fundata Village Hall, implements the “Conservation of agro-pastoral landscape and biodiversity in the Fundata-Moieciu de Sus” project, funded by EEA grants from 2009 to 2014, the NGO Fund in Romania, a Sustainable Development component with a grant amounting to 143,695.30 EUR.
Through this project, the initiators aim to create prerequisites for sustainable development of the area through ecotourism as a key factor in conserving agro-pastoral landscape.
Through the projects carried out during its history, Centrul de Ecologie Montană Foundation showed that in its actions it has:
• The ability to mobilize locals
• Supports local citizens
• The organizational capacity in starting and implementing projects financed through its own sources and attracted from third parties
• The professional collaboration ability with the local, county and national levels,
• The ability to initiate and develop projects with other NGOs and state institutions,
• The experience to collaborate and organize volunteers (ex. The EcoMarathon event involved about 170 volunteers) etc.
• Development of nature conservation in Romania, but particularly in the Bran County (Bran, Moieciu, Fundata);
• Promoting international collaborations (universities, colleges, vocational schools, etc.) in mountain ecology;
• Knowledge and exploitation of the environment, flora and fauna;
• Preservation and Conservation of Agro-Pastoral Landscape and Biodiversity;
• Promoting and preserving mountain villages, especially the Moieciu de Sus village;
• Sustainable development of the area;
• The scientific monitoring and research of mountain natural habitats;
• Involvement in informing and educating students concerning extremely labile ecosystems in the mountain area;
• Encourage dialogue between the public, private sectors and administrations of national/ natural parks;
• Determination of tourism development policy area (lobby ecotourism);
1. CEM wants to participate actively in the planning and implementation of projects and actions for environmental protection.
2. Develop permanent capability of collaboration with CEM partners.
3. To work with other institutions and organizations in a partnership relationship based on trust and goodwill of each partner.
4. Apply the principle of transparency in all activities and projects.
5. To communicate openly and regularly with partners depending on the initiatives and activities related to ongoing projects.
6. To debate any divergence of views regarding any activity of joint projects with CEM partners and seeks constructive solutions to ensure efficient collaboration.
7. To not prejudice in any way the partners.
8. To not allow partisan politicization of projects managed by the Foundation or those in which CEM is a partner.
9. To not allow the implementation or collaboration of projects with religious involvement.
“If you want to build a ship, do not start by sending people after wood, nails, tools, string and other materials. Teach them to yearn for the vast and endless see first.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
‘The heart of Centrul de Ecologie Montană is today the house built in 1947 by the Gârbacea Zinca and Ioachim family of Moieciu de Sus. Before this, the house had the name ‘House over the Meadow’ being the only one in the large Bangaleasa Valley. The meadow was called ‘at Zinca’ after its owner. Between 1985 and 1991 the house was not maintained by the heirs of owners who had died in 1985 and ended in 1991, in a degree of degradation.
Arriving for the first time in 1991 in Moieciu de Sus we decided almost immediately after we saw it, to buy and renovate it. Its position in a small forest at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains surrounded by meadows charmed us. Simultaneously with the renovation and restoration of the house we developed the idea of creating Centrul de Ecologie Montană as a foundation with the purpose and well defined activity in mountain ecology (see CEM status).
Today, the house is divided into an area reserved to Orleanu family and another that offers CEM members the possibility to spend the night in one of the 4 bedrooms as well as to use the dining room and other common spaces which provides the members with a multitude of opportunities to spend time working, studying or researching, developing projects or preparing actions to be undertaken.
Located in a distinct building, the CEM seminar offers members the opportunity to organize meetings and roundtables. Sometimes, this space is used as creative workshop or temporary deposit for advertising materials or other documents required for CEM projects.