Saiga sanctuary promotes nature reserve to students

Students who participated in the nature reserve lessons sponsored by the Russian government.This blog comes from Vladimir Kalmykov, Director the Stepnoy Sanctuary in the Astrakhan District.--MV

One hundred years ago, on the shores of Lake Baikal in the Republic of Buryatia, the first nature reserve in Russian history was founded.

The Barguzin Nature Reserve launched the shaping of the framework for protected natural territories in our country. The year 2017 commemorates this event, and it is designated according to the Order of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin - the Year of the Specially Protected Natural Territories and of Ecology.

Currently in Russia there are more than 12,000 specially protected territories of various levels (from federal to municipal) and different categories (nature reserves, including biosphere reserves, national and natural parks, sanctuaries, natural landmarks and others).

So that the young generation can learn more about the nature of our country and the systems ensuring its protection and conservation, the Plan of Activities is devoted to the Year of the Specially Protected Natural Territories all over the country “All Russia Nature Reserve Lessons” are taking place.

Last month, staff of the Stepnoy Sanctuary participated in the first Nature Reserve Lesson at the Promyslovsky Comprehensive School, where G.A. Kalmykova, a staff member of the Sanctuary, responsible for information materials and public outreach, talked to students in the 7th and 8th grades about the Stepnoy Sanctuary and its inhabitants.

Galina Aleksandrovna’s lecture was accompanied by presentations which demonstrated the wealth of plant and animal life, and showed the hard work of the Sanctuary’s staff to protect this fragile and vulnerable natural territory of the Astrakhan Region. She spoke, of course, about the saiga antelope, the unique inhabitant of the North-Western Caspian Sea Region, their fate, existing threats and the future responsibility of her audience to continue protecting the nature of their native land.

Aleksandrovna said she uses educational resources developed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which has a long-standing friendship with the Stepnoy Sanctuary and supports its saiga conservation work. The students also learned about the International Saiga Conservation Alliance and its activities both in Russia and in the other saiga range countries.

At the end of the lesson there was a short quiz: The students answered questions and for a correct answer received a souvenir from IFAW.

Similar lessons will be held in several schools of the Limansky District. Winners of respective quizzes will be able to visit the Stepnoy Sanctuary during the most interesting and colorful time of the year, in the end of spring – beginning of summer.

--VK

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