Volunteering in Yugansky Nature Reserve
August 2, 2018 / Volunteering
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Due to GoodSurfing I got photos taken during the volunteer shift in the Yugansk Nature Reserve from the depths of computer storage. With such joy, with such trepidation I remember the two spontaneous weeks of my journey. All photos thrown out a year ago now seem important and necessary.
I am very grateful to the amicable team of the Yugansk Nature Reserve for making my trip possible, through the exact implementation of the agreements along with the genuine northern Siberian hospitality.
Communication with the outside world was carried out by Evgeniy Syrkin. It was very easy to cooperate with him. It was thanks to Zhenya that I managed to fly to Surgut. I was told in detail about the living conditions and features of the whole trip, the inspector assigned the site I was going to. Tickets for the flight were bought 5 days before the departure. They met me at the airport at the appointed time and drove in a comfortable bus to the village of Ugut, where the Main Manor of the Reserve is located.
Evgeniy Grigoryevich Strelnikov, the head of the reserve, a man who really loves what he does, told me about the Reserve, showed albums with illustrations of birds, which he studied and painted with colored pencils by hand. I was given access to the library with a selection of books for any taste; I went to the local history museum. Together with Evgeniy Grigorievich, we arranged an audit of the things I took, which resulted in me giving out additional sleeping bags, a spare jacket and boots, skis.
Acclimatization took a day and a half, and all this time the employees of the reserve were taking care of me: they fed me tasty food, brought drinks, they laid me to rest in a separate room and on a soft bed. They brought food which they personally cooked; all clothes were given from their wardrobes. These wonderful people completely trusted me, as if we had been cooperating for a long time and met at work every day.
And finally on the appointed day and time the groups gathered to go to the cordons. For me this was the first flight in a helicopter, and therefore before I boarded I was thoroughly explained the safety instructions. The flight itself is something incredible: you quickly cover the distance, you see the vast expanses of forests, but you can still see the moose that runs somewhere through the fur trees.
My site was the most remote among all possible and was named Vuya-Yana after the river flowing nearby. After a very noisy flight we suddenly found ourselves alone in the silence amidst the endless forest and snowdrifts. The cordon consisted of a few houses, solid, built of wood: the main one was for residents to stay, a shelter shed, a small forester's house, where twice a day they called by radio, a banya - Russian sauna, a couple of storage rooms and a water closet. All of them were located around the clean surface of the helicopter pad. There were several decks, tables, and most importantly the stove in the house, the last made us warm in the evenings.
The most interesting things happened in the mornings. Senior researcher, the theriologist Vladimir Mikhailovich, showed how to walk properly on hunting skis. I thank him for his patience during my initial setbacks. The skis were very slippery and not really adapted to ascend the hills, even small ones.
My new friend taught me to identify animals by their traces, paid attention to the birds singing, told about the plants that could be found in that area. He was very interesting to listen to, so I did my best to go near so as not to miss anything. The data on the tracks were recorded and in the evening they were uploaded to an electronic map.
Pavel, an employee of the reserve, also went with us. He helped a lot in the household: chopped wood, stoked a stove, brought snow and water from a frozen river, was very attentive to any needs. Together we cooked and in the evenings arranged a cozy meal. Food (cereals, pasta, canned goods) was provided by the reserve. But fruit, nuts and other delicacies familiar to the city resident, I took separately.
A generator operated in the evenings. This made it possible to read, edit documents on a laptop, view drawings made during the day in my spare time, and even listen to the radio in Chinese.
Every day was filled with activities and new discoveries. And above all, discoveries within yourself. This is truly a unique experience when you are away from cities without mobile communication, with a minimum of equipment, spend whole days in the open air, with physical activity and interesting tasks.
In my spare time I drew a lot. I tried to sketch in the cold for those short 10-15 minutes, when the hands can still move. And although these works do not differ in the complexity of the performance, time passes, you look at them and understand the real value. In the minimum lines, there is peace. Both photos and drawings help me to come back to this healing point of time fading.
During my stay in the Yuganskiy Nature Reserve the weather was clear, but by the day of departure it had become worse, the wind with snow had blown, the visibility had fallen sharply. Because of the bad weather, we had to stay on the cordon for another day. I was warned about this, so I did not buy the return ticket in advance. Aircraft between St. Petersburg and Surgut fly often, prices do not vary depending whether you buy tickets in advance, or on the day of departure.
Therefore, as soon as we returned to the Main Manor, I immediately bought a ticket and rested until the evening, got acquainted with the families of employees, visited others, gave away things that I took for the trip. I showed sketches and we hung one of them together in a frame on a wall. In memory, I was given a lot of gifts. I always write with this pen, the USB drive is used to print documents and many people in Russia have already learned about the Yugansk Nature Reserve thanks to it, and the magnet with a mountain hare is the only decoration on my refrigerator (I try to keep all surfaces clean), the calendar is now hanging on the wall, and all magazines have already been read.
I tried to write a detailed review, realizing that the team of the Yuganskogo Nature Reserve contributed a huge amount of work and funds both in me and in the arrival of each assistant. I would like to note the attention of every employee of the reserve to us, volunteers. Each person in their team is irreplaceable and brings their own particle of heat. Once I was there in the Main Manor in the village of Ugut at one of the distant cordons of the Yugansk Nature Reserve I still have the feeling of being a member of the team!
Author of the text - Alyona Agapova
Edited by - Kseniya Guschina
Translated by - Olga Gachkova
Date of event - 2018
Date of publication - 2.08.2018