Events and Newsletters -
Winter 2004 - Issue 20
Russian Environmental Partnership Program (REPP)
SEN staff and our NGO colleagues in the Altai continue to collaborate on some exciting projects. Aside from the exchanges described in other articles, we helped Altai protected areas improve communications and public outreach, promoted environmentally sound approaches to building, and empowered indigenous organizations to further protect their lands and traditions.
Protected Areas of the Altai
Last winter, we discovered that Tigereksky Zapovednik was in need of communication radios for their highly regarded ranger team. SEN funded the purchase of radios, a base station as well as a GPS system to help the reserve better protect their territory from illegal poachers.
Two Altai nature parks also requested some extra support for their rangers. SEN provided funds to “Uch Enmek” Karakolsky Nature Park, so they could acquire a hand-held remote radio for one of their rangers. SEN helped this park set up a base station and 4 remote users for their park last year to improve their central communications system which is so crucial for their work.
Famous Shor story-teller Vladimir Napazakov: Photo by Alexander Arbachakov
SEN was also delighted to support the salary for a ranger-guard at Chui-Uzy Nature Park. This recently established park had applied for funds for ranger guards for their most important petroglyph sites, but it would be several months until that funding came through. Meanwhile, during our visit we came upon two people treating a sacred petroglyph very inappropriately. The director immediately hired a guard to protect the site as soon as we issued the small grant.
Our partner NGOs in the Altai are keen on integrating the public into the preservation of regional nature reserves. SEN sponsored Svetlana Bondarevskaya’s travel to participate in a Moscow gathering entitled, “Friends of the Reserve Islands.” There she was able to consult with other NGOs supporting protected areas and make plans to share resources in this work.
Finally, SEN provided funds for the EcoClub of Novosibirsk State University to design a web site for Altaisky Zapovednik. A basic page (only in cyrrillic at this point) has been set up at www.ecoclub.nsu.ru/altaizap/ and the Ecoclub will be adding to it over the next few months.
This September, SEN, with our US and Russian volunteers, and partners of Argali EcoCenter, built a state-of-the-art composting toilet in Yailu at Altaisky zapovednik! (See article on page 3). Brad Little has also written a longer, humorous article about the toilet construction project. Contact Brad or Susan Cutting for more details.
Fund for a 21st Century Altai continues to plan for the construction of their straw-bale Environmental Education Center in Chemal. SEN sponsored the compilation and writing of three complex documents needed for an environmental assessment for its construction. With SEN’s support, the Fund also translated and printed “Build it With Bales,” a practical guide to building straw-bale structures.
Preserving the Altai’s Indigenous Heritage
During her travels, Gulvaira Shermatova of Istok found that local administrations can play an important role in helping indigenous villages address threats to their cultural and natural heritage. Istok organized a seminar in cooperation with the Tengri School of Ecology of the Spirit on how to work with local governments. This two-day SEN sponsored seminar included 22 participants from 7 Altai towns and villages.
In addition, SEN contracted Ecotok to translate an inspirational article by Rebecca Adamson entitled, “First Nations and the Future of the Earth,” into Russian. Ecotok distributed it through a broad network of indigenous rights organizations, in the Altai and beyond.
SEN has been honored to help our Altai partner organizations research and document sacred sites of different tribes in the Altai-Sayan region. Kamila Shermatova and her colleagues from Istok interviewed elders in the Altai’s Turachaksky district and compiled a report on the area’s sacred sites and traditions.
Alexander Arbachakov of the Agency for the Research and Protection of the Taiga, has also been implementing a project to study and document twelve sacred sites of the Shor people. They have studied history and legends and conducted interviews with elders in 7 settlements of the southern Kemerovo district. SEN issued a grant to Arbachakov's organization for outreach and documentation of the sacred sites.