how to touch nature and help it through the Internet


The mode of remote work affected not only urban and rural workers, it also affected the lifestyle of environmental volunteers. Because of self-isolation, instead of putting out fires, counting birds and laying ecotrops,

volunteer assistants of nature reserves and national parks master web design and translation. However, quarantine provides protected areas with new opportunities: modern technologies allow us to show natural beauty from unusual angles, which it is often simply impossible to see live. What is able to give ecotourism a period of forced self-isolation, the portal “The Future of Russia. National Projects” was being examined.

Virtual nature

Unable to receive visitors, the reserve staff go online. The content is based on photographs of animals and landscapes, photographs and videos from camera traps, the opinions of scientists, and the stories of state inspectors about life in the wild. There is always something to tell, especially in the spring, because the scientific departments of the reserve did not interrupt their chronicle of nature – observations that are tens of years long. For the reserve, social networks are a platform for live communication, the opportunity to receive a slice of public opinion on various environmental issues, conduct discussions and, of course, form public support for the reserve.

Due to its remoteness and the high cost of travel for tourists, the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka has long been developing virtual travels. On the site of the territory you can see the world-famous Valley of Geysers, the caldera of the volcano Uzon, Lake Kronotsky. For online travel, the territory of the South Kamchatka Reserve is also available. From the height of the drone’s flight, you can see salmon spawning in the Kuril Lake, and watch brown bears fishing. The Kronotsky Reserve has the largest number of subscribers in social networks among the reserved territories of Russia: about 15 thousand on Facebook and over 19 thousand on Instagram.

“In order to preserve natural complexes, we receive no more than a certain number of visitors in protected areas every year. Each sightseeing route has its own recreational capacity. Together, in the reserve and reserve, we can take 12 thousand people per season. In addition, there are people who can’t allow ourselves a trip to Kamchatka due to economic reasons, a state of health, so we are working to make the reserve and reserve accessible remotely – we create virtual tours, share photos, videos, news on social networks, participate in making films, organize photo exhibitions in large cities of Russia and abroad, ”said Peter Shpilenok, director of the Kronotsky Reserve, to the portal.

Another way to attract user attention is through contests. Quizzes about birds and plants are held by the Vishersky Reserve in the Perm Territory, which, together with the Perm branch of the Russian Bird Conservation Union, launched the Berding Home contest. All observations of birds are proposed to be published on the VKontakte social network with the hashtag # berdingdom . A video contest for its 85th anniversary was also launched by the Khopersky Nature Reserve in the Voronezh Region.

Another genre is video sketches about nature waking up after winter, historical notes and stories about the everyday life of employees. They are led by Elk Island National Park in the Moscow Region and Pasvik Nature Reserve in the Murmansk Region.

The daily educational project, which tells about the visit to the Vologda Oblast by the famous naturalist Gerald Darrell, launched the Darwin Nature Reserve on social networks. The plans for environmental education are to prepare and conduct a lesson on the topic “Reserved Professions” on the Internet. In addition, webinars on eco-tourism are held by Orenburg Reserves.

Remote Volunteers

A new direction, which is now actively developing reserves, is remote volunteering. A person from anywhere in the world can contribute to the conservation of natural heritage. You can help with the site or social networks, parse photos from expeditions, write texts or give legal advice.

For example, on the website of the Kronotsky Reserve, the list of tasks for virtual volunteers is updated. At the moment, the reserve requires the help of artists to draw images of plants and animals; translators for translating booklets into English, German, French, Oriental languages; designers professionals in the field of scoring texts for an audio guide to the museum of nature; IT professionals to develop a guide training application; specialists in the field of PR.

However, to become a volunteer, you need to go through a contest, because in the reserve they choose the most competent and responsible. “We have different experiences of remote volunteering, including not the most productive one, when, for example, we had to redo the work done by volunteers with the help of paid specialists. The reserve works at a fairly high professional level, so we only accept professional help,” Shpilenok explains

Volunteer assistants have something to fight for: everyone receives a thank-you note and a memorable gift, such as a photo book or T-shirt, by mail. For large projects, a trip to the reserve is given, although you will have to get to Kamchatka on your own.

However, not all national parks and reserves publish their requests. Often it is better to contact the administration yourself and talk about your useful skills. For example, a Moscow student helped the Russian Arctic national park process dozens of profiles of Chinese tourists to make the park better.

Interested people use their talents in different ways to help protected areas, including for raising funds for something necessary. Recently, a member of the board of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) of Russia, Muscovite Tatyana Nikulshina, in just two days, managed to raise almost 200 thousand rubles using Facebook to build a house for observing animals in the habitat of the Amur tiger. This house is needed to continue the work of the famous tiger researcher Pavel Fomenko . Tatyana timed the fundraising to her birthday.

Even children can become environmental educators. For example, first-grader Katya Cherepanova from Izhevsk was inspired by the story of Amur tigers, watching the film “Save the Tiger”, conducted a poll among her peers about this animal and recorded a video message for the school conference. Katya organized an open lesson and came up with interesting mechanics to raise funds to save these rare animals with the help of school fives.

Also, without leaving your home you can carry out important work to prevent industrial pollution of water and air. Non-profit organizations in the Altai-Sayan and Amur ecoregions are already engaged in it. All eco-activists need is a computer and Internet access. So, for example, river pollution during the extraction of alluvial gold can be detected using satellite images that are in the public domain. Activists monitor changes in the color of river water in the pictures and report violations.

Even forests can be protected remotely, for example by checking the legality of sanitary felling. To do this, ecologists look at acts of forest pathological surveys that are published on the regional websites of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia and compare the areas marked on them with satellite images of the area: if the felling has exceeded the boundaries defined by the acts, this will be marked on the map and reported to the regulatory authorities. In addition, from the pictures you can see the state of the forest – whether it was vetoed, windbreak or drying out – and compare it with the information from the documents.

Camps and Holidays

If you wish, you can even make a volunteer camp remote – as happened with the Kenozero Tales held by the Kenozero National Park in the Arkhangelsk Region. Initially, the camp was supposed to work directly in Kenozerye, but the park was closed to tourists, and volunteers agreed to work from home. Camp participants will receive souvenirs, books and an advantage when selecting for the next volunteer projects in Kenozerye and Onega Pomerania as a thank you. During the camp, volunteers from different cities help researchers decipher audio recordings of conversations with residents of the reserved villages of the Arkhangelsk region. Information from these discussions will be used to create museum exhibits, design ecological trails and write research papers.

“I work with six audio recordings in which the stories of four women aged 70–90 years are recorded. And“ geographically ”we are in the village of Lyamtsa, Onega region. My heroines tell about the history of Lyamtsev houses, about clothes, drinks that were prepared at the beginning and the middle of the 20th century, about family relationships, as they called family members. About local craftsmen, woodcarvers, about the ruin of churches and participation in fishing, “says Alena Zakharova, a volunteer from Ingushetia. The girl is located about 2.5 thousand km from Lyamtsy and is immersed in the context with the help of maps, photos and videos.

“I saw the houses that the residents talk about, imagined that I myself am walking along the streets of Lyamtsy among them. This allows you to be set up for a” conversation “with the hero. In addition to the work of deciphering the audio recordings, you must, of course, present the geography and history of the place, because speech often contains the names of settlements, water bodies, cultural realities, and it is very important not to be mistaken in their name when creating the text, but in general throughout the work there is a feeling of some mystery when you immerse yourself in the personal stories of Lyamtsy residents. you approach it as a real conversation with a living person, “a volunteer camp participant shared.

It turns out that you can make a virtual holiday. Employees of the environmental education department of the Prisursky Nature Reserve in Chuvashia decided not to refuse to hold the Bird’s Day, beloved by children, moving it to a new format.

“Every year, the republic’s schools greeted us impatiently, with joyful expectation. It so happened that we spend Bird Day in different areas of Chuvashia, especially in those areas of the reserve. Children are waiting for us, preparing to participate in ornithological games and authors’ assignments. Therefore we decided that the holiday will take place in a new format – a thematic online quiz. On the first day we received about 300 responses! The competition is over, but answers are still flying to our e-mail like flocks of birds in the spring, “said the deputy director on environmental education and ecotourism of the Natalia Panchenko reserve.

Of course, not everything can be done on the Internet – subbotniks and garbage collection need to be done with your own hands, but today there is a good opportunity to carefully prepare for useful things in the future offline.


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