Altai State University scientists together with schoolchildren study flora and fauna of protected areas

11 August 2020 Press Centre of BB

In mid-July, in the Tretyakovsky District, within the framework of the project “Practical Science for Schoolchildren. University Level", supported by the Presidential Grants Foundation, Days of Science were held for local schoolchildren - activists of the Adopt a Wildlife Sanctuary program, the Friends' Club of the Tigirek Reserve, young ecologists of the Staroaleiskaya School No.1.

Scientists from the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology of Altai State University came to visit the children to conduct classes on the study of flora and fauna in the vicinity of the village of Staroaleyskoye and the Livlyandsky reserve. The heads of the school organization Ecological and Local Lore Association Globus- Olga Merkulova and Viktor Maisengelter, as well as the state inspector in the field of environmental protection in specially protected natural areas of regional significance of the Regional State Budgetary Department Altaypriroda - Andrey Lopatin became the main organizers of the scientific expeditions and trips to the native land. All participants became "scientists" overnight in 2 days of joint work.

On the first day, we worked in the coastal zone of the Alei River in a floodplain area. The group of young researchers was divided into 3 groups. The first group - "botanists" - worked with Tatyana Kopytina, an employee of the South Siberian Botanical Garden, Candidate of Biological Sciences, who taught the children not only how to lay a herbarium, but also the species diversity of flowering melliferous plants.

The second group - "ornithologists" - went on an excursion with Viktor Petrov, Associate Professor of the Department of Zoology and Physiology, Candidate of Biological Sciences. He taught schoolchildren to identify different types of birds that live in the vicinity of Staroaleisky. With delight, the children watched and listened to the voices of warbler, oriole, kingfisher, and rosefinch. We watched as a great titmouse with chicks flew to take a drink in the Alei River.

However, the most numerous was the third group - "entomologists" - they studied insects with Elena Kuchina, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Zoology and Physiology. Now we know exactly what a "killing jar", an entomological net, and have successfully mastered the method of collecting insects that scientists use - the "mowing method". The children have not had such delight for a long time: it was very exciting to take insects out of the net! More and more grasshoppers, locusts (filly) and butterflies came across. We have learned how to make envelopes for temporary storage of collectible specimens of butterflies. A dragonfly with an amazing name came across a pond - a beautiful girl. But the children immediately released the caught bumblebees, since their number is decreasing every year in our territory. The most active participants were the future first graders: Katya Soldatenko and Semyon Merkulov, as well as the second grader Polina Andreeva.

The second day began with a morning ornithological excursion to the grove. And again the young naturalists were delighted: the scientists brought binoculars with them and the children were able to examine in detail all the birds they encountered. After the walk, it was decided to go to our sponsored territory - to the Livonian Wildlife Refuge. The cloudy “non-flying” weather did not allow to enjoy the beauty of butterflies on this day, but flowering plants accompanied the expedition members along the entire route through the protected area. Along the stream we saw a beaver hut and a dam - a whole "beaver town". Ornithologists were lucky to see 2 families of Demoiselle cranes, listed in the Red Books of Russia and Altai Krai. Youngsters are only trying to take their first flight, their flight is not yet daring, but parents are always there, as they can support and take care of their kids.

The meeting with another "Red Book" creature in the reserve - the black-headed gull, became very bright and memorable for young naturalists. No wonder she got such a name! The birds shouted very loudly: "Ha-ha-ha!" - and it reminded everyone of the laughter of an evil hero from animated series.

At the final line-up, the "young students" thanked the biologists for the research expedition, who for these few days became their mentors, taught them the basic skills of research work in nature, helped to determine new topics of research work and projects, and also gave assignments to collect a herbarium of melliferous plants and the compilation of a photo collection of rare species of plants and animals of the Tretyakovsky region. The children are also grateful to their parents, who took care of the transportation issue, and also carefully waited for the expedition participants after hiking routes with hot tea and delicious pies. Like any good expedition, the Days of Science for the Tretyakov schoolchildren ended with songs to a guitar in a circle of people who became friends.

It must be said that after the departure of the scientists, the young researchers did not lose their fuse, and they began to hone their skills. Participating in the research competition of the Adopt a Wildlife Sanctuary program and the Tigirek reserve Living Water, we were able to observe the Great Migration of Frogs. It is clear from the title of the competition that the main objects for research are water bodies and their inhabitants. We went there: the path lay on the bank of the Alei River and a small floodplain lake-oxbow.

The Udalkins sisters, Nastya and Angelina, Blinov Ivan, Sviridova Darina, Vakulenko Rita and photographer Naumov Nikita - students of 5-7 grades with “killing jars”, nets and cameras for 4 hours walked more than 6 kilometers until they reached the goal of their trip. On the way, we saw insects (grasshoppers, locusts, butterflies) and reptiles, among which nimble lizards most often came across. In the swamp, near the lake, the guys observed an adult moor frog and small frogs.

After looking at the inhabitants of the river, they turned back: home. In the grove not far from the water, we saw frogs jumping along the wet track of a country road. At first we noticed two, a little further away twenty more, then more! And then they realized: these frogs, having completed their metamorphosis from tadpoles, migrate to their place of permanent residence and wintering! It was like a miracle: all the froglets were jumping in the same direction. At first, the schoolchildren decided to help them, because the frogs have a lot of enemies: crows, magpies, weasels, Siberian weasels that live in the grove. But then the children realized that the frogs themselves must find their way to the water, they know better than anyone where their home is. We hope that all the frogs made it to it!

Today the whole world, we, adults, are worried about the threat of a pandemic. Probably not in vain. And children live their own lives. Traveling brings a feeling of happiness and satisfaction, allows to better know oneself, skills, abilities and needs, and also develops worldview and open-mindedness. After the end, traveling will fill us with a sense of satisfaction and impressions for a long time!

O.I. Merkulova,
Head of ECO Globus
geography teacher, Staroaleiskaya secondary school No. 1

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