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Berezinsky Centre for Environmental Education

Berezinsky Centre for Environmental Education

Name of organisation:  Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve

Funding support: The activities are financed by the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve. The Centre was developed with the financial support of GEF/UNEP project “Strengthening the Network of Training Centers for Protected Area Management through Demonstration of a Tested Approach” and the UNDP project “Raising environmental awareness of the youth through establishment and development of Green Schools in Belarus”

Number of staff: No permanent staff. The Centre is run by the Ecological Education and Tourism Department of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve

Number of visitors per year: 20,000

Overall aims of the centre

The centre’s aims are to raise environmental awareness of youth and public as a whole regarding the sustainable use of natural resources, environmentally friendly behaviour, unique character of specially protected areas and the necessity of their conservation; create a methodical framework, train workers of Belarusian protected areas, train teachers on organizing and conducting observation of the status of ecosystems and biodiversity by pupils, and run an intense awareness raising campaign.

Description of the centre

Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve is located in the north of Belarus in the Belarusian Lakeland, on the territory of three administrative districts – Lepel and Dokshitsy districts of Vitebsk region and Borisov district of Minsk region. It covers an area of 85,151 ha. Berezinsky Reserve is a unique complex of different types of forest, mires, big and small rivers and lakes. The prevalent landscape element of the Berezinsky is mires, the most valuable nature conservation and scientific object. Its values are connected with excellent richness and variety of hydrological conditions and mire phytocenosis. The reserve is a habitat of the number of threatened plant and animal species, it is one of the most important nesting and concentration sites of wetland birds in Belarus.

Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve provides life conditions for a considerable number of rare and protected species of animals and plants in Belarus and in the region. In particular, the site supports 113 species of animals listed in the National Red Data Book of Belarus which is 59,8 % of the general number of species listed in the Red Data Book, including 9 mammal species, 58 birds, 2 amphibians, 1 reptile, fishes and 42 insect species. 74 species of plants listed in the National Red Data Book grow there. The European status of protection have e.g. 43 species of birds and 17 plant species (Annex II of EU Habitats Directive and Appendix I of Bern Convention).

According to the current environmental legislation the reserve’s territory is completely excluded from economic usage. The basic type of economy practiced in areas adjacent to the wetland (mostly drained land) is agriculture, i.e. growing perennial herbs, cultivated and grain crops, and cattle grazing.

Every year the Reserve attracts about 20,000 tourists and sightseers of Belarus and foreign countries. Hotels, restaurants, sauna, comfortable guest-houses, located in the neighborhood of picturesque lakes are at tourists’ disposal. At tourists’ service in summertime are bicycles and boats, in winter – skis for tourist routes along exotic places, and also routes by foot and by car are organized for tourists to get acquainted with historical sights of the reserve – the Berezina water system; the Berezina River crossing of Napoleon; ancient burial places of Slavs; monuments of the World War II. Visiting local villages for acquaintance with everyday life of natives, traditional Belarusian cuisine, work of craftsmen, participation in cultural traditions and ceremonies are organized. Since 1994 ecological tourism based on nature observing, studying of flora and fauna in small groups is practiced in the reserve.

Main CEPA work areas

Ecological education is among the priority aspects of the reserve’s activity. The unique nature conditions have an exclusive educational interest. Year-round at the visitors’ disposal are Centre for Environmental Education, Natural history museum, ecological paths, and open-air cages with wild animals. Educational work is also organized on the basis of the station of complex background monitoring and the secondary school, where the school forestry and ecological lyceum, natural history study groups under the direction of the research workers are organized. The reserve offers daylong excursions into the nature for the visitors of different age, organizes youth eco-camps and practical training for the students specializing in biology, scientific training and specialists advanced training in studying of species and conservation of natural ecosystems biodiversity. Nature-information educational objects are perfectly illustrated and are represented by the system of ecological paths, routes, profiles and scientific permanent establishments. Every year the reserve publishes different ecological- information materials – booklets, books, folders, postcards, and it also affords an opportunity for making original ecological movies. In prospect the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve could be an international ecological education center due to the advantageous situation in Europe, the quality of the environment and level of nature knowledge, developed infrastructure, available professional community and conditions for visitors’ reception.

Top three successes

There exists a permanent historian and documentary exhibition “Reserve management and studies in Russia and Belarus. End of XIX – beginning of XXI centuries”. Several times a year the educational centre welcomes inspectors of the State inspection for animal and vegetal life protection, when seminars for them with the help of the Reserve’s workers are held. Ecologically purposed meetings with teachers of secondary schools are performed within a framework of Green Schools program.

Top three challenges

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails

Visitor centres

Running a visitor centre

Participation

Engaging young people; Engaging the local community;

Education and communication

Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials

General

PR and marketing; Running effective administration;Fund-raising; Project planning.

Mrs. Anastasia Ryzhkova

Junior Research Scientist

Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve

Republic of Belarus, 211188, Lepel District, Vitebsk Region, Tsentralnaya str., 3

Tel./Fax: +375 2132 26344

E-mail: a.ryzhkova@tut.by

 

Mrs. Diana Simonovich

Deputy director for Tourism

Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve

Republic of Belarus, 211188, Lepel District, Vitebsk Region, Tsentralnaya str., 3

Tel./Fax: +375 2132 26406

E-mail: bbsr@tut.by

 

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