The Transylvanian Carpathia Society – Erdélyi Kárpát Egyesület (EKE) is a not-for-profit non-governmental association founded in Cluj-Napoca in 1891.

The goals of EKE are to: protect the natural environment; practice and promote hiking and ecotourism in general; and know, popularize, and protect cultural and ethnic values.

After a forced break of 50 years (1948-1989), EKE was reformed in 1991. As of today, there are 18 branch offices in cities throughout Transylvania, all operating under the main administrative center in Cluj.

EKE also publishes a bimonthy newsletter, Erdélyi Gyopár (Edelweiss).

gyopar Bimonthly Newsletter

The Satu Mare branch of EKE was founded in 1994 by a small but enthusiastic group of lovers of nature with the mission: “A healthy society in a healthy environment.” Since then, the number of members has been constantly growing, and the activities of the group diversified, owing to the expertise of some members in the natural and technical sciences.

Members of the association at the Dragons’ Garden

Because of the growing volume of the assocation’s activities, and with an eye toward long-term development, in 2001 the Satu Mare branch became independent from the administration in Cluj, with the name of “Transylvanian Carpathian Society – Satu Mare, Erdélyi Kárpát Egyesület – Szatmárnémeti”.

Activities of EKE – Satu Mare:

With the profound goal of raising consciousness about the environment, we regularly organize excursions into nature for members and sympathizers. We have programs specifically designed for senior citizens and families with small children. For this reason, we have purchased an orchard, vinyard, and a small cottage, assuring easily accessible and free recreation.

In the country
Visit to the Széchenyi Obelisk
Our successor before us
A familiar trip to the Blue Lake
A party with three generations

We have many young members who are experienced in hiking and who organize frequent expeditions and mountain hikes, climbing and caving expeditions, both in this country and abroad.

Clay sculptures at the end of the 20th century
Christmas on Piatra Craiului
Against the light
Expedition with members of SalvaSpeo from Slovakia
On the summit of Mount Rodnei
The last beam of light
The next step?
Mountaineering school

Because of the growing number of members and the growing diversity of our options, we now make more cycling and water trips. Through a cycling demonstration on Earth Day and an annual cycling/orienteering race, we ensure programs for amateur cyclists in our city.

On guard for turtles
Two-wheeled Tour of Transylvania
For fresh air
Bicycle trip to the Ukraine

The photography collection (with geographical and biological themes) of the society has had many prize-winning exhibitions in Romania and abroad. With pictures and slides we have taken and collected in the past, we regularly make presentations to students and to the general public.

Retezat National Park
Waiting for mosquitoes
Hall of wonders
The runway
A dead branch of the Tur River
The Dragons’ Garden
Storybook landscape
Horned Beetle
In reverse !

Also having a role as educators, we participate on cultural festivals and organize these types of actions as well.

Every year, for Earth Day, we organize a bicycling race, “Pedal with Us!” and organize a photo exhibition with a theme of environmental protection, and the beauty of nature, plants, and animals. In connection with this event, we organize a drawing contest for children with the theme of environmental protection.

Earth Day bicycle race
Outdoor exhibition, April 22

In the year 2000, we organized the 9th annual EKE Summer Camp in the mountainous area of Satu Mare County, at Luna Şes. The camp lasted four days with cultural and tourism programs, with more than 700 participants from many countries. At the time, it was the largest ecotourism camp ever in Romania.

Segment of the camp
Around the campfire
Hitting the road
At the initiative of our specialist members, we have been well prepared to implement a number of projects for the protection of nature:

We have a program for the healing and re-release of wounded birds of prey, which began in 1998. At the present, we have healed and re-released 48 rare and protected birds.

Doctor and patient
A look of reproach

In 1999 we began the long-term project “Refugee” with the Independent Ecology Center of Budapest, a project which entailed the enumeration and protection of owls and certain species of bats living in buildings in Satu Mare County. This project is continuing in collaboration with the Romanian Bat Protection Association.

We like it here !

In the year 2000, we finalized the program “Identification, Recording, and Analysis of Potential Sources of Pollution in the Tisa River Basin” in collaboration with the Independent Ecology Center of Budapest and ECOTOP Oradea, financed by IEC-Budapest. Through this program we identified over 350 barren waste dumps and 15 fish ponds severely polluted from industrial mining. From this, the program will continue with the goal of analyzing the remaining 200 objectives.

Sterile waste dump

The program “A Gesture for the Someş,” financed through REC Romania had the goal of discovering the knowledge of the people of Satu Mare County about the effects of pollution to the Someş with chemcials and to raise awareness about the consequences of polluting the water.

Protect nature !
The lives of swans !

In 2001, we launched the program, “Together for Clean Rivers” in partnership with ECOTOP Oradea and financed through the Consortium Partnership. The program attempted to find alternative solutions for the recultivation of barren waste dumps, especially those polluted with mine waste, and to begin a dialogue between the affected population, civil society, environmental groups, and legislators.

A waste dump

In May 2001 for Satu Mare City Holiday we created a program in collaboration with the City Hall of Satu Mare and the assistance of the Someş Sport Club, which was comprised of a photo exhibition with a theme of protecting nature, a orienteering competition in the city, a slide show, and rock climbing on an artifical wall. More than 17,000 people participated in this program.

Photographs of the Carpathian basin
Orienteering competition for children
The climbing wall
Demonstration of mountaineering techniques: 5 climbers, 20 floors, and 70,000 spectators

For the project ECO-TUR 2001 sponsored by the Partnership Consortium, we examined the wetland ecosystems of the Tur River, a zone which was recently declared protected but unexplored. In addition to the examination of the geology, hydrography, botany, and zoology, we studied the relations and effects of neighboring zones. Our goal is the elaboration of a project to utilize the full potential of the zone, in the sense of abandoning traditional agriculture in favor of ecotourism.

An uneffected bend of the river
Woods in the flooded zone

To function more efficiently and at at a higher level, we participate at a number of training courses with themes of professional and community development.

Instructional course
Fun and games

We have 65 active members in EKE Satu Mare, and we meet weekly. Many sympathizers help us with our different programs. We are the most representative NGO in the county with goals of promoting ecotourism and protecting the environment.

Our mission is to organize and improve infrastructure. Each sector of activities has responsibilities, important problems are deliberated in special committees where decisions are made.

We sustain good relationships with the local mass media, residents, other NGOs, government institutions and historical churches.

We have relationships with many institutions and NGOs both in Romania and abroad.