Digest December 2021

Every year we wait for the beginning of December with special feelings because December 5 is our favorite day of the year. It is dedicated to kindness and sincere help. This is the International Volunteer Day, or Worlds Volunteer Day. Being a volunteer in a specially protected natural area is an opportunity to work with amazing nature in the background and observe rare animals. From April to November the Prioksko-Terrasniy Reserve hosts dozens of volunteer activities for both individuals and organizations. Volunteers help clean the pens of the Central Bison Nursery from dead wood, paint fences, collect acorns and root vegetables, clean up the territory of the Central Farmstead, conduct scientific work, and much more. Volunteers can do anything!  On Saturday, December 4, an ecological holiday was organized for the most active helpers – a hike through the northern part of the reserve accompanied by the staff of the ecological education department, refreshments and awards with letters of thanks and nice souvenirs. “This is the best gift one can only dream of! Several hours in the “taiga” area were very intense, the employees of the reserve tried to tell and show us as much as possible about the life of a small piece of untouched nature. The best part of the day was buckwheat porridge with stew – thank you! I note that the porridge was cooked at the cordon, in the house, without any harm to nature!” – Valentina Berezhnaya, volunteer from 2019 shared her opinion. “There was a tricky bison quest waiting for us… we managed to complete it quickly and easily. We are passionate about bisons and we really hope that they distinguish us, too, at least for a little bit and in a very animal-ish way. We are ready to come to a place that brings us joy and to share it with friends and families.” – wrote Irina Sabitova, a permanent volunteer of the reserve since 2017. Congratulations to all the volunteers! As we summarize the results of the 2021 volunteer season, we say THANK YOU to everyone who has visited the Reserve, participated in scientific work, helped as a designer and programmer, artist and writer! Your participation and attention to our place is very important to us. The whole staff of the FGBU Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve wishes you good luck and all the best! See you again in the new year!

“Russian Bison: The New Life”, a book written by Victor Pererva, was presented on December 9 at the Visitor Center of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve. Leading Russian specialists in bison breeding, scientists and representatives of organizations whose work is connected with the conservation and restoration of the European largest mammal population attended the event. During the presentation, the author of the book presented the summarized 22-year experience of the “Strategy for Bison Conservation in Russia”. This is a period when there appeared 17 free groups of bison and the number of the species has been increasing steadily from year to year. At the round table, the heads of specially protected natural areas discussed a number of important issues concerning the maintenance and dispersal of the bison into the wild, which are currently faced by protected areas. The participants had an opportunity to buy a limited edition book signed by the author himself and led a conversation in a friendly atmosphere. Viktor Grishenkov, Director of the Ugra National Park: “I think what has been done in terms of conservation of the red-listed largest wild bull of Europe is a real feat for the sake of nature. People, our contemporaries, and our ancestors did it. At an extreme moment for the country, they thought of saving this species, and immediately after the war, they established the first nursery. Now our Central Russian population is the largest in the world. Prospective, with excellent genetic diversity. Today is a joyful day. We are getting a new quality book – this is a story of successful conservation of a species wiped out by man and it deserves attention at the highest level. I thank Viktor Ivanovich – you are a central participant in this very success and the person who substantiated the successfully implemented strategy.

“The Pearl of the Southern Moscow Region” – this is the beautiful informal name of the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. The flora and fauna of this specially protected natural area is a source of genuine admiration. Many photographers, video camera operators and artists go here to capture the beauty of wildlife, which is impossible for an ordinary person to see. The trademark of the reserve is the bison – the largest wild bull in Europe. At the beginning of the last century. This animal was on the verge of extinction. Only due to the unification of the international conservation community and the creation of the first bison nursery, the contemporary of the mammoth continues to live next to us in the XXI century! FGBU Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve presents a banner photo exhibition “The Reserve: A View through the Lens”. Tula citizens can see rare photos taken by the reserve’s staff and professional photographers, get acquainted with its flora and fauna, with the king of bulls and learn interesting facts about the only reserve in the Moscow region. Tuvans can see rare photos taken by the reserve’s staff and professional photographers, get acquainted with its flora and fauna, with the king of bulls and learn interesting facts about the only reserve in the Moscow region. Wildlife photographers Olga Itina, Igor Zubkov, Olga Kalinina, Alexander Kulichenko and Konstantin Zverev presented their best works at the exhibition. The photo exhibition “Reserve: a view through the lens” is open to all visitors of the Central Park of Culture and Rest named after P. P. Belousov and will work from December 15 to January 31. Do not pass by! Moreover, if you like the exhibition and want to see the king of bulls with your own eyes – come to Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve and visit the Central Bison nursery with a tour “The road to the bison”. You will also be able to take beautiful photos.

An environmental online lesson for fourth graders at schools in the Moscow region was held on Thursday, December 16. The open lesson entitled “Rare and protected animals of the Moscow region and where they live” was organized by the Ministry of Ecology and Nature Management of the Moscow region, together with the Ministry of Education of the Moscow region and the Public Control. The subject of the lesson was the red-listed wild bull, the bison. The class was conducted by the staff of Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve. More than 540 educational institutions from 62 urban districts of the Moscow region joined the broadcast, which is about 20,000 students! The lesson was opened by Andrey Razin, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Moscow Region and Minister of Ecology and Nature Management. Then, Natalia Shpilenok, Deputy Director for Environmental Education, Development and Tourism of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve, addressed the children and teachers with a welcoming speech. To the delight of the young audience, during the live broadcast, everyone was welcomed from the protected forest by Bison life-size puppets named Mulya and Musya. The lesson was accompanied by a video dedicated to the rare and ancient inhabitant of broad-leaved forests, the bison. Olga Kalinina, leading specialist of the environmental education department of the reserve, told about the life of the last wild bull of Europe. The class finished with a quiz of several questions. The answers were accepted in written form in the format of internal chat. The schools answering the questions the most correctly were awarded with a WWF toy souvenir “The Bison”. The event was finished with a speech by a representative of Radio 1. Novosti Podmoskovya. Mira Alexa shared the story of the adopted bison Mulentia. It wasan  active and demonstrative hour. We hope that this format of events will be used more often and we will meet again in the near future for new interactive lessons!


Saturday morning, December 18, was noisy in the reserve. A stage was set up on the Central Manor Square, the sound was adjusted, and a huge tent appeared. This happened because the reserve decided to revive an old good tradition and to hold a New Year’s street party. As planned, at 12 o’clock sharp, vocal and choral group “Romantics” appeared on stage. Seventeen kids set the tone for the event: their dances and songs were greeted with friendly applause. The concert part of the holiday was continued by a performance of the variety song band “Nostalgia”. To the favorite New Year songs, the guests danced. A real kaleidoscope of dance was arranged by the Snow Maiden from the Releve dance school. At the same time, the organizing committee of the reserve summed up the results of the regional contest “Toy for the reserve beauty. Participants who came to the Reserve with their toys were in pleasant anticipation. Moreover, at the end of the concert part of the program, diplomas and memorable gifts were handed out to the winners. All participants dressed up the Christmas tree and took memorable pictures. The highlight of the event was an interactive fairy tale “Carrot Detective, or Terras Terrasovich is Investigating”. Children helped the reserve inhabitant and his companion Sonya Oreshnikova to make sense of a complicated and complicated story, so that together they could return their favorite dainty – carrots to the bison. Evil forces represented by Baba-Yaga and Kikimora, were defeated. It couldn’t be otherwise – the children left them no chance! In addition, all this time Russian Post employees were accepting New Year cards to deliver them to the addressees just in time for the New Year.  We hope that everyone who visited us on Saturday enjoyed the holiday. We look forward to seeing the rest of you at our next event – Shrovetide (Maslenitsa)!


The end of the year is the time to sum up the results.  Back in the fall the Federal State Budgetary Institution “Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve” announced a competition “Tour Guide of the Year”. Five people from the team of 21 guides decided  to take part in it. The participants were faced with difficult tests: 1. showing the depth of knowledge of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Natural Biosphere Reserve and the Central Bison Nursery, as well as general intelligence; 2. practical work accompanied by a strict jury. The main criteria for evaluation were: completeness of knowledge and the ability to convey it to the excursionists, establishing contact and feedback, attention span, and much more; an author’s story-essay dedicated to one of the representatives of the fauna of the Moscow region. The two best essays written in different styles, we will publish in our social networks in the near future. The top three received gifts from the partners of the competition – Clarins Russia and KinoLux Serpukhov. It is worth noting that no guide was left without attention at the event. The management of the FGBU Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve presented everyone with branded calendars for 2022 and noted the effective work in the past year, with personal thanks.

FGBU Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve has summarized the results of the regional contest “A Toy for a Protected Beauty” and is pleased to announce the names of the winners. The contest was held from October 28 to December 18, 2021. Works made by our own hands, both individual and collective, were accepted for participation.  About 300 authors took part in the contest.  Most of them came with their works to the reserve on December 18. The jury was very surprised – at the preliminary registration of the works on the site they had already seen the pictures of the toys, but in reality they were much more interesting. The winners received diplomas and souvenirs from the Reserve. All participants were awarded with certificates.

The “Luch” Production Company and “Tvoi Kantselyarskiy Mir’ stores announced a fundraising campaign to sponsor the development of the Central Bison Nursery infrastructure at the Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Reserve. The “Luch” company has been branding its products with images of animals for many years.  Its website has a section called “World of Zoo,” which tells about the animal world of our planet. Here is how the company writes about itself: “our task is not only to involve children in creativity, inspiring them with the beauty of the world around them, but also to teach them to protect it.”mTwo products of the company – colored cardboard and gouache, were marked with a picture of the bison and a special QR code to go to the web-site and get the information about this animal. The head of “Tvoi Kantselyarskiy Mir” stores, where these branded products are sold, appealed to the administration of the reserve with a proposal to conduct an action “Saving the bison TOGETHER!” Svetlana Kartuzova: “Residents of the region are very lucky to live near a unique natural landmark, the reserve. Business should be socially responsible. With the help of our campaign, we are inviting everyone to make a feasible contribution to the long-term restoration of the bison population.” The essence of the campaign is that by buying stationery with the “European bison” symbol, you will help restore the rare red-listed animal, while 10 rubles from each purchase will go towards developing the infrastructure of the Central European bison nursery. Your World of Stationery stores are located at the following addresses in Serpukhov: 94 Voroshilova St. and 12 Yubileynaya St. The management of the Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve supports charitable initiatives. Dear parents, develop the creative abilities of your children and accompany the lessons with stories about the biodiversity of the world around us. And you can see the bison with your own eyes by visiting the Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Reserve and the bison nursery on the “Road to the Bison” tour.

On Tuesday, December 21, the Prioksko-Terrasniy State Reserve held a meeting of the Academic Council, which approved the plan of scientific work for 2022. Deputy Director for Scientific Work Demidov Vasily Eduardovich introduced to the Council a new employee – zoologist Anna Yurievna Rodnikova, and also made a report on the work of the department in the current year 2021, highlighting the completed studies of the appearance of the ancient vegetation of the reserve and the origin of the Okskaya flora by studying bog peat and buried soils found in the floodplain of the Oka. Analysis and processing of the materials continues, and the final conclusions will be made by the forthcoming publication of the Annals of Nature in June 2022. Ilya Arkadievich Murashev, ornithologist, told about the bird ringing that allowed our colleagues to discover a new subspecies of long-tailed puffins, Aegithalos caudatus europaeus, new to the Moscow Region. We congratulate Ilya Arkadievich on this discovery and look forward to publication in the article. Mikhail Mikhailovich Shovkun, a geobotanist, made a report on the study of invasive flora on the territory of the reserve. In the course of the observations the area of yellow acacia growing in the pine forest belt was delineated and observation of the areas of its continuous cover was established. The area of whistlewort was also monitored and an extensive list of other invasive species was compiled. During the discussion of the expediency of haying forest glades on the territory of the reserve, Senior Researcher Victor Ivanovich Pererva made a report on the history of haying in the glades and on the territory of the bison nursery. The question of which glades should be mowed and which should be excluded from anthropogenic influence and allowed to overgrow with forest caused a lively discussion, during which arguments were presented both for preservation of hayfields with their inherent biodiversity of light-loving flora and against, in favor of preservation of the natural course of natural processes and complete elimination of human interference. At the end of the discussion, it was decided to commission the scientific department of the Reserve to conduct an additional study in order to identify a list of the most valuable glades, after which it will be necessary to revisit the issue of haymaking at the next meeting of the Council. At the end of the meeting Svetlana Alekseevna Rodionova, director of the institution, thanked everyone present for the productive work.

The means of collective accommodation of the FGBU Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve have passed the classification procedure in a proper way. As a result, our collective accommodation facilities received the category “without stars” with the marketing name: the country hotel “White House” and the hostel “Cordon 19”. This fact is confirmed by the certificates obtained on the basis of a decision of an accredited organization, issued for a period up to 2024. This fact is certainly a status event for our institution in the outgoing year of 2021. Currently, the collective accommodation facilities “White House” and “Cordon 19” are used for temporary accommodation of biologists, participants of summer camps and expeditions, carrying out scientific activities in the reserve. In the near future, mass use of facilities for tourist purposes is not planned.

The end of December is a magical time. During these days, it is a good old tradition to sum up the results and make plans. We have done a lot this year. Inspectors in the field of environmental protection guarded the territory and suppressed violations of law, the scientific department conducted long-term observations and conducted new research, the Central European bison nursery successfully conducted its difficult work over decades, the department of ecological education and educational tourism held events and hosted guests. The scientific department remembered the year with intensive work. In addition to traditional ecological monitoring the Reserve ringed migratory birds, which discovered a new subspecies of long-tailed puffins for the Moscow region. Samples of bog peats and buried soils were collected for spore-pollen and radiocarbon analysis to reconstruct the history of vegetation. For the first time, laser scanning (lidar survey) was carried out and the highest resolution relief maps of the Reserve were obtained. Nine new names with the syllable “Mu” appeared in the Bison Breeding Book. The bison pens were renewed and became compliant with international veterinary standards, thanks to the financial help of the Adopt a Bison program participants. Summing up the results of the year, the Department of Cultural Tourism is proud to note an increase in the number of guests. So, our business card – an ecological route “The road to the bison” was visited by 103 035 people this year (last year – 79 972 people). The number of excursions also increased significantly. This year there were 3,837 excursions, one third more than last year.  These results were achieved largely due to the fact that this year actively worked “School guide”, and the first held contest “Guide of the Year”, allowed to reveal all the potential of our guides. It was not an easy year, but at the same time bright and fruitful! Let’s have a little rest and with new forces we will again take up work! The year 2022 is waiting for us all! Happy New Year!