Young Biologists Internship

The students of Moscow school №179 with an emphasis on biology visited the reserve during their educational internship program, which lasted from October 31 to November 3. The students learnt a lot of new information not only about the reserve, but also about Russian nature in general.

The field trip was devoted to bird watching, studying animal footprints in the forest and in the Oka river flood basin, identifying plants by their branches and dry weight, getting to know tiny underwater inhabitants of rivers Oka and Tadenka, which are still active before first winter frost, with the use of the microscope.

The internship tasks for 13 students of 9-11 grades included a cycle of lectures about the reserve management and studies in Russia and OPZ, which included the lectures by the head research scientist M.M. Zablotskaya, PhD. First, the students got to know the historiography of reserve management and the peculiarities of national reserves in Russia, they learnt about the main aims and tasks of specially protected natural areas work. Then they studied in more detail the history of founding and development of the Bison Breeding Centre, the results of its work including the peculiarities of keeping, feeding and resettling European bisons, as well as the difference between the species of European and American bisons. A particular interest was aroused around the lecture on the work of L.V. Zablotskaya on the recovery of the beaver and the roe in the south of the Moscow region, as one of the successful examples of accomplishing the main goals of the reserve, as well as the lecture on the role of M.A. Zablotsky in the recovery of the European bison in the USSR and Russia. After the lectures, the students could see the unique archive photos, which have an important historical value.

The school teachers shared their impressions of the educational field trip: “During the field trip we have noticed a white-tailed sea eagle hunting for fish in the flood basin of the river Oka. We even managed to take a photo of him, carrying a bream in his beak. We have also seen a confirmation of the bird autumn migration halting: despite the snow, we noticed a robin, at the tour on November 3 we saw a wren and a redstart at the river Tadenka dam, and in the flood basin of the river Oka we met two grey herons.

On behalf of all students and teachers, we would like to thank Marina Mikhailovna Zablotskaya. First of all, for her detailed report about the development of reserve management in Russia and in the Prioksko-Terrasny reserve in particular. But the thing we all enjoyed the most was the Bison Breeding Centre tour organized for the students. We learnt a lot of interesting facts about the beast’s biology and the strategy of recovering its population on the territory of Europe”.