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Volunteering in Bashkiriya Nature Reserve, 2017

In the end of the season one of the volunteering projects took place in Bashkiriya Nature Reserve. Seven volunteers from association “Kerzhenskii Nature Reserve’s friends” ( spent there fortnight (Oktober 2-16, 2017).

Evgenii Syrkin, the head of Department of Tourism of the reserve, met us at the bus station of Meleuz city. Besides this work, he is also popularizing development of natural reserves in society ( He divided volunteers in 2 groups. The first was directed to Irgizly village, on the other side of the reserve. The second was taken to Nugush village.

In Irgizly participants were settled in small cozy log house with wood heating, since we were having frost at nights. Nearby there was a bathhouse (rus. banya), where we washed with a great pleasure while living here. The reserve provided us with the basic food supplies over entire period of the project.


In Irgizly the main tasks were removal rubbish on touristic campings along the Belaya river (white river), along roads, on observation platforms, also construction of summer house and fire place arrangement.


At the first day we were removing some garbage on the Belaya river’s shore, across the Antonovskaya rock. This place is mentioned in some legends about Antonius, who lived there in cave in XIX century. On the next day we continued cleaning in different places. Then we have built amazing roomy summerhouse with roof, benches, table and arranges fire place. Luckily we have made a lot of sightseeing tours around neighboring hills during these days.

Members of the reserve staff made an excursion on observation platforms, on Lysaya Hill (eng. as "bold hill"). They told us about the way of producing honey in Bashkiriya, apiculture. And even showed us main points of this profession.  We were in a visit-centre of Irgizly and in regional museum. There we learned the history of the region. A lot of type-sites were found there. The area of reserve is closely connected with bashkirian legends and folk epos about heroes and gods. In XVIII century rebellions of Emelian Pygachev and Salavat Ulaev rolled across these places.  And in XIX copper smelter yaws were built.

After a week we reunited with the second part of the group from Nugush village for 1 day. We spent this day and night talking about everything and learned a lot about each other. It was interesting to find out the motivation to come here as volunteers. Then we parted and the first group went to Nugush village.

In Nugush we raised nice decorative summer house for the eco-path “Tally”, demolished ramshackle houses on the shore of Nugush water-storage basin and helped with everyday routine.

Once we sailed with inspectors on motor boat for spot-check of the reserve across the Umaguzinskii water-storage basin. We checked camps with fishers whether their fishing methods and places are legal, were on duty on the shores trying to stop possible law-breaking, met participants of underwater expedition of Russian Geographical Society and explained rules and conditions of Bashkiriya Nature Reserve to them. They were examining the underwater cave in the water-storage basin.


Umaguzinskii water-storage basin is rather picturesque – sheer cliffs along the shore, covered with pine and birch wood, in some places with carpets of juniper. Our team was lucky to witness rich golden autumn in Nugush. The most spectacular views were from the shore of the Nugush water-storage basin and from observation platform on eco-path “Tally”.

We are grateful to the members of Bashkiriya Nature Reserve’s staff beyond all measure for warm welcome and wish good luck with that hard job, protecting our nature! And great thanks to Evhenii Syrkin for organizing this volunteering project.

More photos you can find here:

Author of the text - Oleg Sintzov.

Date of publication - 12.01.2018


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