Name of organisation
Khakass Regional Public Ecological Fund “Live Planet”
Ecofund “Live Planet” is funded by a combination of grants, financing from regional government, education and excursion activities and donations from the Friends of the Fund.
Number of staff
4 staff and volunteers from the local residents.
Overall aims of the centre
Our main objective is to interest and engage people in the protection of nature and ecology and environmental issues. The main task of the fund is to conserve the specially protected natural territories – lakes, wetlands, steppes and forest. The fund also supports education, protection and preservation in ecology, nature and bio-diversity.
Description of the centre
Lake Itkul (sometimes also called Itkol) is the largest freshwater lake in Khakassia – an important source of drinking water in the valley.
This quite large lake (23 km2), fed by waters of the river Karysh, is a bit of a surprise in the steppe as it is surrounded by a number of smaller and larger salt lakes, including Shira Lake, just 3 km away.
There are five neighboring slightly mineralised Spirinski lakes in the surrounding steppe wetlands near lake Itkul.
The typical steppe vegetation of Khakassia is well represented here with several different steppe types present not far from one another.
Many rare and endemic steppe plants like locoweed (Oxytropis includens), storksbill (Erodium tataricum) are also present, furthermore the lake is rich in fish species (bass, perch, zander, bream, Crucian carp). Crane (Anthropoides virgo L.), (Larus ichtyaetus Pall.), some kinds of falcons (Falco peregrinus Tuustall, Falco cherryg J. E.Gray), eagle (Aquila heliaca Sav) – rare kinds of birds from the Red Book of Russian Federation – are also present in the area around the lake.
There is a small visitor centre and a few ecological paths, which run along border of the Reserve “Khakassky”. The wooden chalets have a nice view of the lake and a picturesque setting and they offer simple, but comfortable accommodation for those interested in exploring this part of Khakassia.
Kamyziakskaya steppe represents a primordial Khakassian steppe with cuestas characteristic of this region- long low ridge with steep scarp slopes and gentle back slopes, formed by the differential erosion of strata of differing hardness.
There are several types of steppe near one another interspersed with patches of stone scree and salt marshes. It is a peaceful place where one can feel the infinity of time and space.
The silence is only interrupted by the occasional whistling sounds of the wind. The inconspicuous salt lake Ulug-Kol is an important bird area. Thousands of ducks, swans, wild geese and other birds stop at the lake during their migration, providing unparalleled experiences for birdwatchers.
In summer, the area is abundant with Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Garganey (Anas querquedula), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Demoisele Crane (Anthropoides virgo) and various gulls. Furthermore, it is the major breeding area of Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) in Siberia.
The protection of the area is also of historical and cultural importance with several Skiff burial sites (7th-2nd centuries BC), kurgans (10th and 11th centuries AD) and remains of the irrigation system used in the Middle Ages found on the territory. A famous complex of kurgans – the Vale of Kings – stretches southeast from the unit, including the largest burial mound in Khakassia – Stalbik (18 metres high). The stone bulwark of the mound has a diameter of 120 metres and is made of huge rock blocks weighing up to 60 tonnes. It is still a big mystery how the ancient people (2nd and 3rd centuries BC) were able to transfer the blocks from the quarry 30 kilometers away from the actual kurgan site.
The basic activities of Ecofund “Live planet” include:
- Work with mass media
- Advertising–publishing activity
- Excursions and development of ecological cognitive tourism on wetlands and steppe areas of Khakassia
- Work with schoolchildren and interaction with educational authorities
- Organization of ecological actions and holidays
Main CEPA work area
The objective of the ecological and educational activity of Ecofund “Live Planet” is to achieve an understanding of the modern role of natural landscapes – in particular wetlands – throughout the population.
Key themes are conservation of landscape and plant and animal life in order to maintain bio-diversity and the importance of the different landscape types in the social and economic development of the region.
Excursions suitable for the differing local populations is a priority and work with children is focussed on interesting them in the protection of nature, broadening their ecological outlook and developing the appropriate knowledge and skills.
The basic forms of work with the local population are organising ecological camps and expeditions to nature areas; assisting ecological work by children and young naturalis societies in connection with Central of Children’s Creativity and Union of Young Naturalist; providing themed lessons to schoolchildren and students; organising competitions, quizzes, Olympiads and conferences for students and teachers.
Top three successes
rganisation and delivery of ecological camping on Lake Itkul every year since the foundation of the fund, the camp is organised together with WWF and National Fund “Reserve Country” and is successful because it combines relaxation, knowledge and travel.
Ecological holidays and actions are an effective means of attracting the attention of the local population, members of the governement and local management to the modern environmental issues. Holiday and actions programmes such as “Day of the Earth”, “March of the Parks”, “Day of Birds”, “All for fight against steppe fires!”, and “Preserve the world of birds” have become regular and traditional events in the Republic of Khakassia.
People have had the opportunity to voluntarily help and thus contribute to the success of the centre.
Creating signage; using audio-visual tools; producing written materials; developing nature trails.
Running a visitor centre
Engaging young people; engaging hard-to-reach groups; engaging the local community.
Education and communication
Early years education; working with primary schools; working with secondary schools; delivering adult education; developing resources / materials.
Running effective administration; fund-raising; PR and marketing.
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