Digest April 2021

April 1st is one of the oldest eco-holiday: the International Bird Day in Russia. A lecture dedicated to changes in the diversity of the avifauna was held. The scientific department of the Reserve organized the event and invited some specialists from all other departments. Ilya Murashev, Senior Researcher was the speaker who told the audience about the avifauna research on the territory of the Prioksko-Terrsny Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO and touched upon the change in the species diversity of birds in this area in the context of several decades. Now 153 bird species are known here, but the range of some of them has changed recently. For example, there were no meetings with such species as a dwarf eagle for a long time. However, the long-tailed owl and the black stork have been recorded for several years in a row. Even though the territory of the Reserve has been withdrawn from human influence permanently, there are still some changes connected with agricultural changes of surrounding areas and natural processes of landscape changes. Therefore, we can still see the constant process of changes of the avifauna. Thus, the first event dedicated to the Day of Birds was held at the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve. Furthermore, there are more interesting events dedicated to our feathered neighbors ahead

We invite you to take part in our eco-aware project called 12 miracles of the Prioksky Forest. The first stage starts on the 1st of April and is dedicated to the representatives of the flora and fauna characteristic of the territory of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Natural Biosphere Reserve. Kindly remind you that the project will last about a year from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2022 and consists of 12 stages. The second chapter opens one of the earliest plants in our forests – open lumbago. Our forests wait for the charming transformation from cold winter landscape to spring bright-color view. The flowering of the dream glass has been connected with legends and traditions. We suggest you look at them in detail. Within the framework of the competition, it is supposed to search for the most interesting legend associated with this unique plant. The participant of the competition must confine himself to the choice of one legend (legend), arrange it on an A4 sheet, possibly using illustrations and calligraphy.

Dream apartment is waiting for the new guests! The events dedicated to International Birds Day in Russia continue. April 3rd, we chose the winners of the interregional ecological competition Birdhouse is the Dream Apartment. There were two nominations: “The most creative birdhouse design” and “The most correct and convenient birdhouse”. More than a hundred people took part in the competition that is why it was very difficult to choose the 20 best birdhouses for the final. All guests and their companions enjoyed an educational and entertaining program. Children and adults participated in a quiz about the bison birds, for whom the birdhouses were made. Then the participants visited our Central Bison Nursery. All the presented works were very skillfully designed and most importantly, functional. We are sure that this spring, they will not remain without feathered inhabitants for long. The committee had a very difficult task – to choose the winners among the fascinating works! All the little things were taken into account – the presence of a shelf before the entrance to the birdhouse (which is not necessary to do, so that it was harder for predators to penetrate inside), treatment of the inner walls (processing them is not necessary, because the chicks in the future will be able to get out) and many others.

The emblem of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve has been approved. The Heraldic Council under the President of the Russian Federation registered the emblem after an examination of the received package of documents, which was prepared by specialists of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve. The official emblem is a reflection of the key features of the territory: the bison restored in the nursery, the hilly landscape of the Oka valley, and the presence of steppe vegetation in the Central Russian strip of Russia. The image of the reclining bison conveys the outlines of the relief of the Reserve and the rare plant – feather-grass.

April 6, at the “Vystavochnaya” station of the Moscow Metro a colorful photo exhibition was opened, prepared by employees of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve”. The main purpose of the exhibition is to inform and promote among the general public Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve, located in the most densely populated area of our country, just 100 km from the capital. Here, on an area of 4 960 ha, there are 57 species of mammals and 153 species of birds, 981 species of vascular plants grow. The specially protected natural territory is rightly considered a pearl of the Southern suburbs. The main pride of the Reserve is the last wild bull of Europe – the European bison. Only thanks to many years of joint work of specialists from different countries, this species managed to be brought back into the wild. The exposition of the photo exhibition “Reserve Treasury” consists of 30 works devoted to the flora and fauna of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Biosphere Reserve and tourist sites.

April 5, employees of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve held an event dedicated to International Birds Day for the pupils of the Serpukhov (district) Social Rehabilitation Center for Minors. “Serpukhov (Rayon) SRC” is a long-time partner of the Reserve. Each year specialists of the Department of Environmental Education and Cognitive Tourism carry out thematic activities for the young inmates. They regularly participate in the “Day of Earth”, “Day of Birds” and the campaign “Feed the Birds in Winter”. The children are always happy about the meetings because each time the guests from the reserve come with a new exciting program. In addition, the participants enjoyed solving an ecological crossword puzzle on the birds of the Moscow region. Residents of the Serpukhov (district) Social Rehabilitation Center for Minors coped with this task perfectly.

As part of the “Symbol of the Year – Pride of the Century” photo exhibition organized by Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve at Vorobyovy Gory, thematic lectures were held on the history of specially protected natural areas and the bison, the last wild bulls of Europe. The lectures were held in the format of broadcasts on the online platform ZOOM. The speaker of the first lecture was Vasily Demidov – Deputy Director for Science of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve. In his presentation, Vasily told about the history of the reserve system: from the works of the first theorists such as Hugo Konvetz and Grigory Kozhevnikov to the present time. A significant part of the presentation was devoted to the history of Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Biosphere Reserve. The hero of the second lecture was the main symbol of our reserve, the bison. The speaker was Olga Kalinina, leading environmental education specialist at Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve. The audience learned about the enormous work carried out in the Central Bison Nursery for many years and the miraculous story of the ancient forest giant’s return to nature.

On April 16, within the framework of the “March of the Parks” campaign, the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Center is launching a traditional children’s art contest “The World of Protected Nature”. The motto of the 2021 contest is “Wetlands Need Protection”. The contest includes one category: “Wetland Life.” Artwork dedicated to wetlands and their inhabitants is accepted. Young naturalists should get acquainted closer with the amazing world of streams, lakes, rivers, man-made ponds, and marshes and then depict it in a drawing. The results of the first stage of the Contest will be summed up on May 26, 2021. A jury of employees of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve will determine 20 finalists by voting. All works that took part in the Contest will be marked with diplomas, which participants will receive in the electronic form to the e-mail indicated during registration.

On April 22, the National Park “Ugra” received newcomers from the Moscow region. Young bison born in 2019 went to join the free-living population in the Kaluga region. Also, 4 bulls and 2 females from the nursery “Oksky State Reserve” arrived. As our colleagues report, the weather was favorable for the trip, the bison are alive and healthy. Carriage and release were optimal, without surprises. Irina Zemlyanko, Deputy Director for Bison Husbandry and Breeding: “The Middle Russian group already counts about 900 animals. It is the biggest free-living herd in the world. It is very pleasant to know that in the veins of these animals flows the blood of our pets”. The bison will spend the next month in a large enclosure in quarantine. They will have time to get used to the new conditions and get to know their Oka congeners better. After that, the new inhabitants from the Moscow and Ryazan regions will be released into the wild.

Representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation and the “Information and Analytical Center for Supporting Protected Areas” of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology took part in the first volunteer day of 2021 on the territory of Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Biosphere Reserve. Millions of Russian citizens and guests of our country took part in the All-Russian Subbotnik, which was held on April 24. The Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve timed the opening of a new volunteer season to this event. Specialists from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Information and Analytical Center for Supporting Protected Areas, together with employees of Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve, planted tree seedlings in pens on the territory of the Central Bison Nursery. The work was done with a tree-planting shovel called the “Sword of Kolesov. Several hundred new trees were planted in a few hours. The young saplings will be fenced off from curious animals – big fans of twig food – until the trees have grown strong roots and are of sufficient size.

On May 1, based on the State Biological Museum named after K. A. Timiryazev. K.A. Timiryazev State Biological Museum will open the photo exhibition “Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve” “Symbol of the Year – the Pride of the Century”. The exhibition is symbolically dedicated to the last wild bull of Europe. Bison are living fossils that survived to our days by a miracle. It is one of the few species that managed to return to the wild after almost complete extermination by man. In 1924 only 54 bison survived in the nurseries and zoos of the world. Many countries of the world joined the program for the restoration of this rare animal. Our country could not stand aside, so in 1948 the first Central European bison nursery was organized on the territory of Prioksko-Terrasny state natural biosphere reserve. Since 1951, about 400 European bison have been released into the wild and released into other habitats.

Tourist object “Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve” was included in the rating of places that Alexei Shimko, the acting Minister of Tourism of the Government of the Moscow region recommended visiting during the May holidays. “The long-awaited long weekend in May is ahead. They can be spent in the Moscow region – there are so many interesting things in our region. Ecotourism, active entertainment, walks through manor houses and picnics – choose an option for a great holiday for every taste”, – says the message of the tourist portal of the Government of the Moscow region on the website welcome.mosreg.ru.

The third chapter of our eco-aware project called 12 miracles of the Prioksky Forest opens with the only wild steppe plant of the lily family in the Moscow region, the Biberstein’s tulip. This is a rare flower, growing only in a few isolated plots in the floodplain of the Oka River. As part of the contest, we invite you to share photos of tulips from your garden. The participant of the contest should choose only one photo, which most reflects the beauty and grace of the representative of this family. When people talk about tulips, they usually imagine red luxurious beauties that cover the green carpet of the steppe in bright scatters, but in the middle belt, there are yellow modest Biberstein tulips. They are much more graceful and delicate, inferior in size and brightness to their counterparts. The Biberstein’s tulip is a bulbous plant belonging to the European-Asian steppe species. It is named after the famous Russian botanist F.K. Biberstein, who studied the flora of the Caucasus. The tulip blooms in mid-April to early May and bears fruit in late May-June. It grows only in a few specially protected natural areas of Russia.