Events and Newsletters -
Spring 2003 - Issue 19
What’s New At SEN’s Russian Environmental Partnership Program
We have been excited and proud to be involved in a number of inspiring projects in the Altai this past year. With the Russian Environmental Partnership Program (REPP), SEN has teamed up with some “old” friends, as well as more recent acquaintances, and we are delighted with the fruits of our collaborative efforts. In addition to sponsoring seminars and publications, we have helped in our partners’ creative approaches to environmental protection: from producing a draft law on alternative energy and energy efficiency for the Altai Republic, to setting up tourist infrastructure for a newly established nature park, to building a composting toilet. This article highlights some of our partners and the projects they are involved in.
Argali EcoCenter, Yailyu [email@example.com]
SEN has collaborated with the dynamic team of Argali Ecocenter on several fronts over the past six months. This nonprofit organization carries out vital projects at the nature reserve Altaisky Zapovednik where most of its members are employed. At long last, SEN has helped establish a working e-mail connection (by satellite phone) at this remote and mountainous reserve. Previously, the reserve’s only communication was through a largely inaudible crackly ham radio. Now they are easily keeping in touch with both their anti-poaching teams and the outside world! SEN also sponsored slide shows by the talented photographer, Alexander Lotov, in an effort to promote the nature reserve in neighboring villages.
Yailyu Village, near future visitors center
“Greetings, Susan! Our e-mail message to you definitely was sent from here in Yailyu, and we have already received 3 messages from you. This is simply fantastic, we still don’t believe that our long-time dream has finally come true! Now we can easily communicate with the whole world from way out here in the boondocks.”
We have also embarked on a cooperative project with Argali EcoCenter in helping them create a visitors center for Altaisky Zapovednik that demonstrates the latest technologies in environmentally-sound construction and energy. Igor Ogorodnikov of Ecodom, Novosibirsk [firstname.lastname@example.org] has joined the team by providing consulting on the building’s construction plan as well as obtaining and installing its new SEN-funded solar power system. We have also helped Argali EcoCenter with the purchase of a small sawmill and other equipment to begin their eco-building project at the reserve’s base village, Yailyu.
Fund for a 21st Century Altai, Barnaul [email@example.com]
SEN’s ten-year partnership with the Fund for a 21st Century Altai continues to blossom. In addition to the solar energy installation at the alternative energy demonstration site in Chemal (see SEN Newsletter #18, Summer 2002), we helped 21st Century Altai produce architectural plans for a straw-bale building as a permanent structure on this site. SEN also sponsored the Fund’s work in putting together a draft law for the Altai Republic on alternative energy and energy efficiency, as well has their efforts in creating a new nature park in the Chemal region. The Chemal district is a strikingly beautiful area of the Altai that is a popular tourist destination, especially for river rafting. The dam would put an end to these activities and flood large areas of biologically rich ecosystems. 21st Century Altai has achieved the initial approval of the local authorities and is currently in the process of conducting the complex documentation process required to establish the nature park.
Lake Teletskoye, Altaisky Zapovednik
photo by Alexander Lotov
Karakolsky Nature Park, “Uch Enmek”, Ongudai [firstname.lastname@example.org]
We have been delighted to develop a partnership with Uch Enmek as they seek support in the further establishment of Karakolsky Nature Park. The Ongudai community welcomes visitors, but they were in urgent need of the basic infrastructure and systems to allow visitors in some areas while restricting sacred sites for only their own local traditional uses. SEN sponsored the printing and installation of park signs and instructions; the construction of public toilets and waste management mechanisms; and the purchase of communications radios for park rangers - all vital to both safety and rule enforcement on the park territory.
Siberian Interregional Center Zapovedniki (SICZ), Novosibirsk [email@example.com]
SEN helped in SICZ’s on-going efforts to establish an environmental awareness center and home base for their wilderness protection work, in the mainly indigenous town of Ulagan. In July, our REPP Program Director Susan Cutting, brought alternative construction specialist Colin Garland to help the group build a composting toilet and demonstrate an effective approach to addressing Ulagan’s grave water safety concerns. SEN translated and distributed step-by-step instructions on building this low-cost model toilet. We also contributed to the construction of the center itself, which combines the “Ail” —a traditional indigenous round wooden building— with environmentally sound construction and technologies.
Istok Altai Regional NGO, Biysk [firstname.lastname@example.org]
It has been a joy working with our new partner Gulvaira Shermatova of Istok, and we were delighted that Global Green Grants [www.greengrants.org] has joined in support of her work as well. We sponsored several activities organized by Gulvaira and her colleagues that were aimed at strengthening the region’s indigenous organizations in their efforts to protect their natural and cultural heritage. In October, Istok held a seminar on fundraising and grant proposal writing for members of the indigenous network, Light of the Ancient Lands, as well as other Altai groups. They also organized a seminar on ecotourism in the Altai in November in collaboration with the Youth Ecological Center of the Altai Republic. Finally, SEN sponsored Istok’s participation in the Altai Interregional Ethnic Festival. This served as an important networking opportunity for these representatives of the Kumandin people.
“I want to say, that in holding these two seminars with SEN’s financial support, we are doing something big together—training and giving inspiration to the people who are directly involved in nature protection in the Altai.”
SEN has also recently funded a number of publications, including the following:
Altai Regional Center for Non-traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency, Barnaul [email@example.com]
Victor Fedyanin and his colleagues produced a brochure for the public on “the potential for using non-traditional renewable energy resources to make a more comfortable life.” They also wrote a series of publications in the Altai regional press on accessible non-traditional renewable energy resources.
Istok’s Ecotourism Seminar in the Altai
Agency for Research and Protection of the Taiga, Mezhdurechensk [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Alexander Arbachakov wrote and published a booklet called “Nature Culture of Indigenous Peoples” on native peoples of the Altai, Shor, and Khakassia.
Novosibirsk State University Ecoclub, Academgorodok [email@example.com]
SEN sponsored the Ecoclub’s latest edition of their impressive, “Together on Earth” journal that is devoted to alternative energy in the Altai region.
Istok, Ust-Koksa [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Vera and Leonid Bailagasov have been producing environmental awareness publications in Ust-Koksa for several years. They are actively involved at Katunsky Zapovednik as well as at a popular regional newspaper. SEN provided a new computer to replace their ancient model which will permit them to work on GIS maps for the zapovednik and other projects.
Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of REPP’s work over the past several months has been the naturally emerging cooperation among our regional partners. We were delighted to see that our old friends at Ecodom were helping Argali EcoCenter and SICZ, and that the Novosibirsk State University Ecoclub was working with Fund for a 21st Century Altai and the Altai Center for Non-Traditional Energy on their publications. Also, representatives from a number of the above-mentioned organizations took part in the seminars held by Istok. We welcome you to participate as well in this work aimed at preserving these precious ecosystems and cultures. This summer we plan to bring a group of volunteers to help our partner organizations build their demonstration sites. Come join us!