Environmental Congress of Friends of Protected Islands
From the 2nd to the 6th of November 2015, the International Youth Environmental Congress of Friends of Protected Islands has passed in Voronezh; it was dedicated to the coming 100th anniversary of the system of protected areas in Russia.
The Congress was organized by EcoCenter "Zapovedniks" and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the Voronezh region in the framework of the project of the Interstate fund for humanitarian cooperation of states - members of The Commonwealth of Independent States, with the support of the Ministry of Russia.
Participants and guests of the Congress were schoolchildren and young people, educators and representatives of the national nature reserves and national parks of Russia, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Common cause brought together representatives of more than 30 protected areas from Kamchatka to Smolensk.
Polistovsky Reserve Friends Club was presented by the students of Bezhanitsy School - Anna Zakharova and Ekaterina Stepanenkova accompanied by a specialist in environmental education and interpretation of Polistovsky reserve.
Inauguration of the Congress was held on the 3 of November 2015 at the Palace of Children and Youth of Voronezh, more than 100 members of the Club of Friends of protected islands gather in the hall. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskoy sent a welcoming address to participants of the Congress, which was read out by the head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Voronezh Region Alexei Karyakin.
The opening program ceremony included bright performances of children's creative teams from Voronezh, and also in the framework of the event, the winners of the contest of the realized projects "Friends of protected islands" were awarded: steppe clubs "Living Heritage", national nature reserve "Black earth" and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The project of creation of the Polistovsky Reserve Friends Club became the winner of the Contest of the 1st degree; its implementation was supported within the framework of the All-Russian contest of prevention programs in the field of mental health of children and teenagers "Healthy Generation", held by the Union of Mental Health in 2015.
Within 5 days of the Congress lots of fascinating master classes, presentations of experience of the reserves’ and national parks’ Friends Clubs, trainings, creative performances of teams. An important part of the Congress was the joint planning in preparation for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the PAs system and the Year of Protected Areas in 2017, declared by the President of the Russian Federation.
A memorable event for the participants of the Congress was visiting Voronezh National Nature Biosphere Reserve named after V.M. Peskov. The organizers had prepared an environmental quest, as well as trips to the Museum of Nature and beaver farm. Some children tried themselves in overcoming sports touristic route "Yozhkiny tracks". The final event of the Congress was an action "Congress’ footprint". Now the symbolic pillar on the territory of the Voronezh Reserve homestead has a sign with a pointer in the direction of Polistovsky «Bezhanitsy 844 km»!
Participation in the International Youth Ecological Congress of Friends of protected islands from 24 regions of Russia and 4 CIS countries once again showed that nature protection is not indifferent to today's students. This means that protected islands will live and beautify our planet!