Today it’s impossible to speak about nature reserves and preserving the uniqueness of wildlife habitats without mentioning environmental education.
The main target of environmental education is an environment-friendly and ecologically competent society.
The work of the environmental education department aims at enlightenment of various population groups: children, teachers, elected officials, representatives of public authority and non-governmental organizations, and their involvement in nature protection activities.
The ecological department of the Katunskiy nature reserve was founded in 1999. Within the framework of its activity a great deal of attention is paid to ecological education of children and young people. In 2003 a WWF friends club “Rubicon” was established at the Katunskiy reserve. The main aim of its activity is to preserve the unique nature of the region. Several generations of young ecologist have already been nurtured on the principals of environmental protection, conducted environmental campaigns and programs and taken an active part in various environmental activities. However, a single club is too little for the realization of all the ecological education ideas; hence it was decided to open more friends clubs at regional schools. So, in February 2011 at the initiative of the Katunskiy nature reserve and with the support of the World Wildlife Fund new clubs were opened at Verkhne-Uimonskaya, Terektinskaya, Sugashskaya and Ognevskaya secondary schools.
It should be noted that the Friends club members pay great attention to ecological enlightenment of the local population trying to attract more supporters and followers; and this is entirety supported by the local authorities and public organizations.
It’s very important to start planting a love for nature at an early age. So, since 2008 the children ecological society “The Young Forester” has been working at the nursery school “Fairy Town” in Ust-Koksa village. In 2008 the children from “Rubicon” and “The Young Forester” participated in the interregional environmental campaign “Save the Birds” and took the first prize.
Ecological newspapers “Wildlife paper” (Zapovedny Listok) and “Springlet” (Rodnichok) are published quarterly and very popular both among the locals and guests. In these papers one can easily find interesting and useful information and read the nature reserve latest news.
The staff members of the environment education department systematically read lectures and hold discussions at regional secondary schools. Field classes are very popular with the young. At such classes pupils have an opportunity to learn more about the nature protection system in Russia and the Altai Republic, get comprehensive information about the Katunskiy reserve, its territory, animals and plants.
In the last two years the department has established close relations with several secondary schools in Ongudaysky and Ust-Kansky regions and a boarding school named after Zhukov situated in Gorno-Altaysk.
Lately the reserve has organized a number of various competitions and nature protection campaigns on the following topics “Forest is our future”, “The Snow Leopard Land”, “Save the Birds”, “Kabarga campaign”, “Say NO to plastic”, “Clean forest” and “Christmas Beauty” and took part in such international events as “March for Parks”, “Panda Calendar”, “Green Finger”, “Earth hour” and others.
An eco camp “Multa” works in summer on the territory of the cordon “Sredneye Multinskoye Lake”. Living under strictly natural conditions children get useful knowledge of and practical skills in scientific and research work and learn how to be environment friendly.
Various exhibitions are regularly held by the Katunskiy nature reserve: informative exhibitions, art exhibitions, children’s painting and photography exhibitions. An exhibition devoted to specially protected natural areas of the Altai region and Altai republic was held in Barnaul in 2010-2011. In the near future they plan to have a photography exhibition devoted to the transboundary nature reserves. In 2010 the ethno-ecological museum of Altain culture was opened in the main building of the Katunskiy nature reserve. The visitors get acquainted with the Altai people history, culture, their way of life and nature protection traditions.