The reserve opened its doors to children and adults to introduce them to its activities and to unite around the idea of supporting and preserving the natural area.
About 50 representatives of the local administration, representatives of the nature reserve, students and teachers from the villages of Gumkana and Kyzyl-Suu, specialists of the CAMP Alatoo PF gathered at the reserve to spend the whole day in the forest area to learn more about the history, goals and objectives of the Dashman SNR and to contribute to the improvement of the environment. This reserve is a new one among all 22 specially protected areas in Kyrgyzstan. Dashman was established 10 years ago on an area of 7958 ha. «The reserve is small, but in spite of this, it can be rightly called the «nut treasury» of the Fergana Valley. The main difference is that the forest here has to regenerate naturally, without human intervention. In case of creating favourable conditions, the forest can survive for a very long time. Therefore, our goal is to preserve the gene pool of relic nut forests», said Kadyrbek Sadabaev, one of the leaders of the Dashman State Nature Reserve, at the opening of theevent.
What needs to be done to conserve the forest ecosystem? This question, often raised by the participants, echoes the motto «Conserve and Restore Natural Ecosystems» for this year's International March of Parks. This question was posed to schoolchildren, who, according to the State Natural Reserve's staff, should take on the task of forest conservation and become transmitter of information to their parents and peers on the importance of acting for the good of nature. During a discussion with the children, Davletbek Boobekov, an OZL engineer, said that the«main pests» in the forest are humans and livestock. «Many people don't realise that they cause damage, even tying a horse to the trunk of a tree and damaging its bark. No human being is invested in reforestation because trees grow naturally in the reserve. This is a merit of nature,» said Davletbek Bobekov.
Rubbish dumps are another negative manifestation of human behaviour in the forest. The schoolchildren were asked to reflect on this during an interactive exercise led by Azamat Usupbekov, project specialist of the CAMP Alatoo PF. With the help of landfills pictures, signs of responsible waste consumption, the children understood how to deal with the problem. The students assessed the negative impact of piles of plastic bottles and bags on the environment while picking up litter. Sacks full of bottles, ice-cream cones and food waste clearly demonstrated the urgent need to develop an environmental culture in the community. «Our school has a «Green Apothecary»club. We, as eco-activists, see how people behave in the forest and oppose it. We will try to preserve our forest. Some people dream of visiting these places to see unique nature with their own eyes, not littered glades and riverbanks, » said schoolgirl Nuriza Arstanbekova.
The participants expressed hope that this year, proclaimed the Year of Mountain Ecosystems Protection and Climate Resilience, will encourage Kyrgyzstani people to change their attitude towards forests and the environment so as to give the younger generation a chance to also possess and conserve this unique natural treasure in practice, not in words.
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