Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice

Enrolment is now open for placement hosts and participants interested in taking part in 2021’s edition of the EIT Climate-KIC programme, Pioneers into Practice.

Pioneers into Practice is one of EIT Climate-KIC’s most established educational programmes. For over a decade the programme has been connecting climate change professionals across Europe, challenging individuals and organisations committed to climate resilience to get out of their comfort zone and experiment with different methods to address the problem.

Climate change impacts regions differently, so the programme is tailored to each location’s climate mitigation and adaptation needs. Pioneers is typically delivered through a mix of placements, workshops, projects, coaching and e-learning, but given the rapidly changing circumstances, 2021’s Pioneers programme has been designed for partners to easily adapt for both online and face-to-face delivery.

“Being a host means meeting different people”

In 2020, Katarzyna Mordak took part in a four-week Pioneers programme placement at Călimani National Park in Romania, working alongside hosts Cristinel Ortoanu and Benone Gavrilas.

Călimani National Park is an IUCN Protected Area and popular ecotourism destination located in the Eastern Carpathian mountain range. Cristinel Ortoanu has worked at the park since 2006 as an ecological education specialist and has been a Pioneers programme host three times. “A local manager reached out to us and we were immediately interested,” she says. “Being a host means meeting different people from all over Europe who work on environmental protection. They support us and we also learn a lot from them.”

Katarzyna Mordak was challenged to develop an ecological educational plan for children. Cristinel and colleague Benone Gavrilas, who works as a ranger at the park, were both very impressed with her work, saying that “Katarzyna was a great fit – we wanted someone with a geology background who had experience working with children and she had experience in both fields. She helped us create an educational programme which includes ecological lessons and an introduction to geology.”

Katarzyna developed a plan for local students of different ages. “The goal was to improve children’s environmental awareness and teach them about the surrounding natural world,” she says. “I needed to get acquainted with existing lessons and games connected with the environment, improve them and come up with new ideas for activities for students. The whole cycle of lessons is connected to the Călimani National Park’s geography,” she adds.

“A fantastic challenge”

Her hosts supported her throughout the placement, says Katarzyna, adding that the biggest challenge was adjusting the difficulty levels for different ages. But colleagues at Călimani provided her with all necessary information while being very encouraging. And although the COVID-19 pandemic meant Katarzyna’s lessons couldn’t be delivered in schools, Cristinel and Benone said the programme was adapted to be virtual and delivered at the visitor’s centre when children come to visit.

Katarzyna says she learned a lot during her placement. “Working in a foreign country was a fantastic challenge, as I needed to learn a lot about the area which I was developing lessons for and how best to raise ecological awareness among young people,” she says.

Her hope is that her work will help raise ecological awareness amongst the students, while helping them understand the natural heritage related to their local area.

But she also got a lot from the placement.

“Working in an unknown environment is something everyone should try once – it opens your eyes to other points of view and problems that sometimes are completely different from yours – and sometimes exactly the same.”

Host Cristinel agrees. “There are so many benefits to being a Pioneers host – you meet new people from across Europe and experience different cultures and backgrounds. Katarzyna did a great job as a Pioneer and we learned a lot from her.”

Pioneers into Practice is now open for applications for hosts for 2021. Find out more here.

 
Location
Romania
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC welcomes opportunity to unlock trillions for climate adaptatio...

The European Commission has opened a call for feedback...

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes opportunity to unlock trillions for climate adaptation and mitigation
In The News
As a crucial vote on EU plastics policy looms ahead, a vision of creating circ...

The European Parliament will vote in Plenary today to...

As a crucial vote on EU plastics policy looms ahead, a vision of creating circular economies and societies emerges
In The News
A day dedicated to the future with world-renowned speakers

When science fiction meets economics Created in 2012, Edgeryders...

A day dedicated to the future with world-renowned speakers
In The News
Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity

Branch Magazine, a collaboration between EIT Climate-KIC, Mozilla Foundation...

Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity
In The News
Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans

The circular economy concept is of crucial importance to...

Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans
In The News
Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Co...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lixea (formerly Chrysalix Technologies) has received...

Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Council Fund
In The News
Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova

Moldova is one of Europe’s most modest contributors to...

Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova
In The News
Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality

Poland’s former capital and one of its oldest cities,...

Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality
In The News
Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?

On 23 April, EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop spoke...

Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?
In The News
EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy

The European Commission has published its EU-wide classification system for...

EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy
In The News
New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?

On 22 and 23 April, the first conference dedicated...

New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?
In The News
Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase

EIT Climate-KIC supported Estonian start-up Sympower has raised €5.2...

Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase
In The News
Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list

Twelve entrepreneurs from across the EIT community have been...

Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list
In The News
These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe

Google, in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, launched the €10...

These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe
In The News
New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups

Found by us, funded by you, a new start-up...

New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups
In The News
From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching ...

It’s a beverage revolution: Healthy hydration while fooling your...

From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching in new markets
In The News
#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enabl...

As part of the fifth SDG Global festival of...

#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enablers
In The News
New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is...

New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education
In The News
Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik

“We are preparing plans for the next decade. Mentality is...

Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik
In The News
Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience

The new Urban Action Kit, launched by the International...

Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience
In The News
Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists

The DigiEduHack, supported by EIT Climate-KIC as well as...

Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists
In The News
GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 

GreeMko (for Green Management Technology), a Spanish start-up that...

GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 
In The News
What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?

EIT Climate-KIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Dunlop addressed the...

What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?
In The News
Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change

Starting today, the seventh edition of the global green...

Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change
In The News
Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution

Ensuring that fresh water is available, in a sustainable...

Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution
In The News
Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation

The European Commission released the new EU Climate Adaptation...

Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes the new EU strategy on adaptation...

EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change
In The News
Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities

A labyrinth of cobblestone streets, dimly lit and presided...

Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities
In The News
Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neig...

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Leuven...

Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neighbourhood
In The News
Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience

Start Park, a project led by citizens from Florence,...

Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience