Bikin National Park (Primorsky Province) unites young supporters
The project was carried out as part of the WWF small grants project «Amur Coalition for Nature Protection» implemented in the Amur River Basin with the financial support of the European Union.
Earlier this year, several youth environmental groups launched their work in the schools of Pozharsky district. These groups of students conducted monitoring of the rivers, lakes and forest in nearby areas for the duration of six months. Armed with hoop nets, test tubes, binoculars, field guides and questionnaires, the students researched, studied and analyzed the state of the environment. Students were assisted by the scientists of the Institute of Biology and Soils of the Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, experts of district NGO «Pervotsvet» and Pozharsky district administration.
'The project «Bikin united us!» is a follow-up of the research work launched in 2014 in the framework of the regional action «Along Shibnev's path: 20 years later». Five school environmental agencies were created in Pozharsky district back then. The area of their research was the lower and middle reaches of the Bikin River. Today, environmental agencies are working in all nine village schools and in the district center of Luchegorsk. The new project also united southern villages, located in the Ussuri River Basin», - says Natalya Prodan, chairman of the local environmental NGO «Pervotsvet”, manager of the project «Bikin united us!” project.
Twelve environment research projects analyzing the ecological condition of the rivers and the environment were presented at the rally that brought together 60 young researchers, 15 teachers and their friends. The results of environmental monitoring of Pozharsky district rivers will become an important part of public monitoring of the ecosystem condition in the Amur River basin, where the Bikin and the Ussuri Rivers bring their waters.
«WWF Russia supports public environmental movement in the Bikin River basin since the first days of work in the Russian Far East, - says Anna Barma, coordinator of protected areas projects at WWF Russia Amur branch. - In September 2016, the regulations on the creation of the Bikin National Park were implemented. Now the priority task of the Park administration is the development of traditional nature use, tourism and environmental education. It's great to have such support of local friends of Bikin from Pozharsky district including children from environmental groups. We believe that one of the main achievements of the project 'Bikin united us!” is the creation of the “the Friends of Bikin National Park” club, and the adoption of a joint action plan for 2017, the official year of Protected Areas in Russia.
In August, students and their leaders - teachers of biology and geography – learnt various scientific methods necessary for environmental monitoring while participating in the environmental school, based in the Udege village of Krasny Yar. Consequently, several master-classes on field work, monitoring, and presentation of the research results, were held. The representatives of the municipal district authorities and of two National Parks «Bikin» and «Udege legend» attended the event, to meet with young researchers and learn about their activities. They immediately hit the «green» stream of events and joined the jury of the environmental projects contest.
During the research, young environmentalists used a variety of monitoring methods such as study of the state of vegetation, analysis of the chemical composition of snow cover, air and water, and determining the purity of rivers and reservoirs using bio-indicators - aquatic invertebrates. Conclusions were supported by public monitoring protocols, records of sample taking, maps and charts with the changes in species diversity, demonstrating that the rivers and forests, located close to human settlements, are subjected to anthropogenic impact. After a questionnaire survey in villages, the students found out that forests and rivers have been dramatically degraded due to logging operations and poaching. And more frequent occasions are now floods and poor crops. Also, local people are seriously concerned about waste dumping sites that are burning next to human settlements, polluting water protection zones and the territory of nature monuments. They are also worried about the smoking chimneys of Primorsky hydro-electric power plant.
«I was deeply impressed by the children's projects that may become the guide which unite the government, business and public to make the territory of Pozharsky district attractive for ecotourism,' - said Stanislav Filatov, Head of Pozharsky municipal district administration.
Indeed, «The public and authorities: making the territory of the Pozharsky district attractive for ecotourism,» was the title of a business game at a rally. Many environmental agencies presented projects on restoration of anthropogenically vulnerable nature sites such as Spondinskoe lake, Chomulynza mountains, natural monuments of provincial level, or the Small Muziza River and Verkhnyaya Mount, unique nature objects of Pozharsky district. The students have been already working in these areas on creating ecological routes and educational platforms to promote eco-tourism.
«It is important that such a strong public organization “Pervotsvet” is working in Pozharsky district of Primorye, where Bikin National Park is located. “Pervotsvet” has been studying the Bikin basin problem by involving students in this work. Indeed, as it was highlighted by the neighbors from “Udege legend», Bikin National Park can be proud to have fifty bright young supporters! We hope that these children environmental groups become our true friends and ambassadors in their schools and villages', - said Alesya Malyukova, deputy director of Bikin National Park on environmental education, tourism and science.