TPA/RPS Environmental Bursary update with Nicholas White - Bursaries now open for applications

28 February 2018

Region: Headquarters

In January of this year I made the first trip to Romania to begin making work as part of the Royal Photographic Society Environmental Bursary in association with The Photographic Angle.

This project will see me spend time in the Southern Carpathian Mountains, documenting the work of Foundation Conservation Carpathia as they strive to create a new wilderness reserve. By purchasing large tracts of virgin forest, the foundation then works to restore previously clear-cut areas of woodland in addition to revoking all logging rights, thus ensuring the protection of the ecosystem. These landholdings will ultimately be returned to the public domain for permanent protection in the form of a National Park.

The formation of a new National Park is no simple task, it feels a lot like spinning-plates; from juggling the practical elements of maintaining and managing these large areas of forests, to monitoring the many species of wildlife and - perhaps the most difficult task of all - winning the hearts and minds of the communities who were once able to make a quick fortune from felling these now protected forests.

Documenting this process, then, would not be an easy task either. Especially in Winter, I discovered, where the temperatures plummet to around minus 16 on a good day. Navigating the smallholdings on the valley floor wasn't too difficult but as the altitude increased, waist deep snow made for slow progress. Even on snowmobiles, the soft powder snow presented it's own set of challenges.

However the views from the alpine meadows were well worth it, and there's no denying that this region of Romania is truly breathtaking and worth protecting.