NEWS ARCHIVE: NOVEMBER 2008

November 30, 2008 Website "TUT.BY" Belovezhskaya Pushcha Prepares for a New Year. Video

The home of Father Frost renewed its look and is sparkling again. Tourists are promised a very warm welcome this time.

Inside, the mansion is humming with preparations for the festive season. Bag loads of letters arrive to Belovezhskaya Pushcha throughout the year. Letters contain all kinds of wishes. There was one in which someone “ordered” an Italian furniture suite. But for the most part, the nature of wishes is different.

Father Frost: "The letters are soulful, children ask for health, for father to return to their family."

For five years now, Belarus’ Father Frost has had his own residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The fairy-tale mansion has undergone significant changes to this important date. Next to the house of Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) is a team of harnessed reindeer. There also stand a large chest, a house of beekeeper, and this season’s new attraction – a magic mill. Grown-ups can be seen coming to it more frequently than children.

Iryna Siz, a guide of the Museum of Nature in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha": "You need to touch a stone in the wall of the mill and all sins and problems will be milled".

There will be no deficit of snow, it is promised. From December 1, a snow-producing machine will ensure that visitors can enjoy drifts of snow and snow-covered fir-trees in any weather. A special mini-train will help children to see everything by taking them on a tour around the mansion’s whereabouts.

The colors of new strings of lights are especially charming in the evening. As dusk fells, this puts children even in a more festive mood.

Tourists from 70 countries have visited the home of Belarus’ Father Frost over the last 5 years. The number of visitors grows every year.

In early December, Snegurochka and other fairy-tale characters traditionally common to all new-year celebrations will join Father Frost in his mansion, to meet a new year together and to make the visitors happy.

Click here to download the video (in Russian) here (7 Mb)

"The Second National TV-Channel (ONT)"
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Translated by Dmitry Kosach
November 29, 2008 Website "21.BY" Grandfather Frost is waiting for Snow Maiden in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

What is new in your life?

Although kids are coming to my residence the year round but the peack of their visits here is from the 20th December to the 7th January, the Grandfather Frost was delighted to our call. The pre-New-Year-holiday celebration will begin next week. My grand daughter Snow Maiden will arrive in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on December 6. In this connection we will certainly arrange a cheerful and noisy holiday. Folklore and children's dancing groups will act for the spectators. We expect that 1,500 kids will come here. Both songs, dancing and, of course, gifts will be there. By the way, adults will also get sweets this year. For now I receive packs of letters every day. For the last two weeks, for example, about 1,000 messages were addressed to me. The correspondence comes from different corners of Belarus, even from Russia and Germany. Boys and girls ask mobil phones, computers, roller skates, foreign trips, skateboards, doll and machine with electronic console. Some guys are waiting for the snow winter. But, alas, weather forecasters have said to me that the weather will meet us with the thaw for the first days of December. The snow will melt and the daily temperature will be six degrees above zero. The winter is also expected to be warm. However, there is also good news. In comparison with the last winter, abnormally warm, this season will be colder. So, frosts will be without fail.

Oksana SIDOROVICH
Photo by Alexander RUZHECHKA
The Nespaper "Belarus Segodnya (Belarus Today)"
November 28, 2008 "Vecherniy Brest" (The Evening Brest) newspaper Mirror Facade for Belovezhskaya Pushcha


Facilities of Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be reconstructed.
Photo by vb.by
On the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Belovezhskaya Pushcha since first nature protection, its staff will get new offices, while its guests – a new Nature Museum.

A great deal of the reconstruction work will be performed on the tiny territory where the old Nature Museum, hotels and a restaurant have been located until now. The building occupied once by the park administration has been turned into a new hotel that can accommodate up to 39 guests and has two in-door swimming pools at guests’ disposal. The building of the old Nature Museum will be converted into a restaurant.

The construction of an administrative-ecological centre that will house a new Nature Museum is already under way in the vicinity of the new hotel. The center is supposed to be a “real diamond” of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The authorship of the project belongs to a group of young architects and designers from OJSC Brestproekt.

It was first project of its kind developed by Brestproekt. They studied architecture of the most famous European Museums, including the one located in the Polish part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, and drew on the most successful experiences. They also considered proposals made by archeologists from the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, who carried out researches on the territory of the National Park. It is expected that artifacts discovered in the course of the research will be exhibited in the new Nature Museum. The project developed by Brestproekt was approved at the ministerial level. The chief architect of the project is Yuri Prudeliuk.

The new administrative-ecological center will be a two-storey building with gross floor space of around 5 thousand sq. m. There will be a library, a spacious conference-hall with Wi-Fi Internet connection, the museum storage room, and a souvenir shop on the ground floor. The museum will be located on the upper floor and will include three exhibition areas. The exhibition will be developed by Polish specialists who are going to offer a really new approach for the exhibition design.

As daylight will cause damage to the museum exhibits, there will be no windows in this part of the building. In order to avoid the impression of the building exterior being too dull and solid, it was decided to provide the building with mirror facade.

Dmitry Varshitsky, the project chief engineer, admits that to work on the project is both interesting and challenging at the same time. It’s interesting to work on the project because it is unique. Time constraints pose the main challenges: the project has to be completed within half a year. Besides, the complexity of the building requires nonstandard decisions.

The construction of the administrative-ecological building will cost BYR 18 billion (currently around $ 8.5 million. It is to be finished by July 2009. OJSC “Stroitelny Trest No 8” assures that the deadline will be met. There no doubt about it as the construction is managed and financed by the President Administration.

Elena Tribuleva
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Translated by Olga Khlebous
November 27, 2008 Website "BELTA" Belarus wants to partake in Baltic Region Programme 2007-2013

Belarus is interested in the participation in the Baltic Region Programme 2007-2013, BelTA learnt from Consul General of Belarus in Tallinn Alexander Ostrovsky.

According to him, an international conference Baltic Region Programme 2007-2013 was held in Tallinn on November 26-27. This conference was organized by the Ministry of Regional Development of Estonia, BCR Secretariat in the city of Rostok (Germany) and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The event was opened by Estonia President Toomas Ilves and Director General of the Directorate General for Regional Policy of the European Commission Jose Andres.

About 500 participants from 11 countries discussed the implementation of the EC common strategy on the development of the Baltic Sea States (BSS) and the ways to improve the subregional cooperation.

Belarus was represented by director of the environmental fund Euroregion Belovezhskaya Pushcha Zoya Mechkovskaya. She met with representatives of the BCR Secretariat and the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) to discuss the further participation of Belarus in the INTERREG programme (Belarus-Poland-Ukraine neighborhood cooperation) financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and to consider the opportunity to join new projects.
November 27, 2008 Website "Naviny.by" The management plan for Belovezhskaya Pushcha to be approved

The management plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has been approved in Belarus, the BelaPAN News Agency writes.

According to information from the press-service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the participants of the Belarusian delegation has said about this during the 28-th session of the Permanent Committee for the Bern Convention (dealing with issues on conservation of flora, fauna and natural habitats in Europe) which was held on November 26 and 27 in Strasbourg (France).

Let's remind that the development of the plan was a necessary condition to renew a European Diploma earlier given to the National Park. This Diploma is a prestigious award for national parks and biosphere reserves granted for successes in the field of nature protection. The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has gained it in 1997 for successes in conservation of wild nature.

The Belarusian party should present the Park's management plan as early as October of 2007 at the session of the CE Permanent Committee on Conservation of Biological and Landscape Diversity. However, it was failed to prepare the plan for that term. The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has submitted to the CE Committee a letter in which reasons of the delay of preparation of the plan were explained. There was also affirmed that nature protection and economic activities in Belovezhskaya Pushcha meet all requirements and recommendations of the Council of Europe.

The Committee has taken explanations of the Belarusian party into account and has rescheduled consideration on this issue by November of 2007, and then by spring of 2008. On March 17, in Strasbourg, based on results of the discussion of the expert team of the Council of Europe on awarding the Diploma to protected territories, the decision was taken to prolong the European Diploma only after the management plan for Belovezhskaya Pushcha will be approved at the national level.

At the today's session of the Committee, the representatives of Belovezhskaya Pushcha were invited to present the approved management plan of the National Park in March of 2009 at the next session of the Working Group on European Diploma for Protected Natural Areas at the Permanent Committee for the Bern Convention.

Anastasia Yanushevskaya, BelaPAN
November 27, 2008 Website "Eco-Press" Representatives of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" will take part in the session of the Working Group on European Diploma for Protected Natural Areas at the Permanent Committee for the Bern Convention.

The Eco-Press has learned from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus that the appropriate invitation was received during the 28-th session of the Permanent Committee for the Bern Convention (dealing with issues on conservation of flora, fauna and natural habitats in Europe) which was held on November 26 and 27 in Strasbourg (France) with participation of the Belarusian delegation.

During the session the Belarusian representatives have given information that the management plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" has currently been approved as its development is a necessary condition to renew the European Diploma for protected natural areas.
November 14, 2008 Website "BELTA" Belovezhskaya Pushcha area included in UNESCO World Heritage List may cover 80,000 ha

The territory of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park included in the UNESCO World Heritage List may be expanded 16 times to cover 80,000 hectares. This information was announced at the international scientific and practical conference “Belovezhskaya Pushcha: from forest area to national park” dedicated to the preservation of protected areas, BelTA has learnt.

According to Director General of the national park Nikolai Bambiza, only a small part of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha – 5,000 hectares - is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It should not be forgotten that the Belovezhskaya Pushcha which area exceeds 160,000 hectares on the territory of Belarus is a unique European forest area.

In 2008, UNESCO experts visited the national park to carry out the assessment of its forests.

Olga Kobiak, the city of Brest
November 12, 2008 Website "TUT.BY" Belarus will advertise Belovezhskaya Pushcha on Euronews

"Visit the oldest protected forest of Europe" - the TV Euronews will shoot an advertising trailer with such the slogan for Belarus, Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism Cheslav Shulga has said in interview for one of the Belarusian TV-channels.

According to the official, the advertising trailer will be devoted to the beautiful nature of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Its purpose is to create a positive image of Belarus and to attract foreign tourists in the country.

It is expected the trailer will start to be broadcasting on Euronews since February of the next year.

Alexander KUTITSKIY, "WE"
November 12, 2008 BP-21 Website News Service Photo-Kaleidoscope: Photos of the Bialowieza Forest (Poland)

If clicking this link (http://flickr.com/photos/marcin_gda2/sets/72157603292527950/) you can open 40 photos of wild and cultural landscapes of the Bialowieza Forest, its Polish part.

November 10, 2008 Website "Belarusian TV and Radio Company" An international conference on specially protected natural areas to be in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Archaeologist, historians and biologists from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine will take part in this conference. The purpose of the conference is to make clear about the level of knowledge on history of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and to find topical issues of the current state of the Reserve. Participants of the conference will also discuss issues on preservation of archaeological monuments in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
November 09, 2008 Website "TUT.BY" Belovezhskaya Pushcha to get Br60 bln in infrastructure investment by its 600th anniversary

The National Park will see 60 billion Belarusian rubles (currently around $28 million) invested in its infrastructure by the time Belovezhskaya Pushcha marks its 600th anniversary in September 2009.

Three of the six new tourist routes that have appeared on the map of Belarus this year are dedicated to 600 years since first nature protection in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

The Pushcha brand

Belarus’ Ministry of Sports and Tourism, in cooperation with their Polish counterparts and the World Tourism Organization, is in the process of preparing a large-scale program to draw tourists to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The slogan of the program will be "Come to Europe’s Oldest Protected Forest."

"Undoubtedly, national parks are a brand understandable to both the citizen of this country and a foreign citizen," Galina Zaburyanova said, explaining how the idea for the program came into existence.

Galina Zaburyanova is the supervisor of the Department of Tourism Development at the Administration of Affairs of the President of the Republic of Belarus, the organization in charge of the largest relatively undisturbed primeval woodland in Europe.

The deeper you go into the wood...

Belovezhskaya Pushcha has more than a thousand giant trees, with some of the oaks in the reserve older than 500 years. One can see 350 year pines and spruces that are 250 years old.

"Why don’t we use a weekend to show them once again how nature reserves live, how one should treat flora and fauna? Or watch animals from a tower, take pictures," Cheslav Shulga, Deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism, said as he encouraged tourists to visit the forest.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is unmatched in Europe in the number of plant and animal species. UNESCO included it on its World Heritage List in 1992, and in 1997, the nature reserve was awarded a Diploma by the Council of Europe.

Planning of four eco-tourist routes across the forest is currently under way. What Belovezhskaya Pushcha has to offer is not to be seen in any other national park or nature reserve in Europe, stated Galina Zaburyanova.

"From the rare birds, animals, the air, even the cooking. That said, the project is not just limited to new tours or eco-tourist routes. This is the construction of a new nature museum. These are new roads, places for recreation."

More than 20 recreation facilities will have been built or renovated in Belovezhskaya Pushcha by 2009. A new hotel boasting a 25 meter long swimming pool and luxurious rooms opened its doors in the National Park just the other day. Galina Zaburyanova said she was convinced Belovezhskaya Pushcha’s global popularity will grow to a point where rooms are reserved a year in advance by as early as 2010.

"In any case, near-border tourism here is ever growing and ecotourism is in demand," Cheslav Shulga agreed.

How to turn dreams into money-making reality

However, it is not the eco-tours they have been betting on at Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Here they have been making money on children’s belief in the existence of Grandfather Frost, the eastern Slavic counterpart to Santa Claus. The Grandfather Frost’s estate appeared in the forest reserve five years ago. Year after year, the National Tourism Agency of Belarus has said interest in that tourist attraction is growing.

For instance, in 2007 the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park welcomed 190 000 tourists. The influx of tourists peaked starting on December 20 as schoolchildren were taken to the forest to see Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden.

"Seven thousand tourists were arriving every day," said Galina Zaburyanova. "I believe no other place in the country is this popular. The figure will only increase this year," she predicted.

You bet it will! The Tour-Business 2008 trade show which has just closed its doors in Minsk saw Aleksandr Romanovsky, deputy head of the Presidential Administration of Affairs, call on travel agencies to work harder on drawing tourists to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Meanwhile, on the eve of the 600th anniversary of Europe’s oldest nature reserve, Belarusian environmentalists have voiced concerns that the renovation and construction operations might damage the National Park’s ecosystem. After all, the protected area has a critical load.

Marina Mazurkevich, Radio "Deutsche Welle"
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Translated by Alexander Sukhoverkhov
November 09, 2008 Website "ZJIS.RU" New tourist facilities to construct in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

More than twenty tourist facilities will be either constructed or renovated in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park by 2009, the BelaPAN News Agency lerned.

New facilities planned for construction in the National Park include a Nature Museum, a hotel, recreation sites, and roads. Besides, promises were made to renovate houses and to repair electricity supply networks in inhabited localities of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, including in Kamenyuki village. All these grand projects will be implemented - let’s hope that the promises will be fulfilled - in accordance with the celebration plan developed in connection with the 600th anniversary since protection regime for Belovezhskaya Pushcha was introduced.

Many local residents got anxious about effects the construction and renovation may produce on the Park’s ecology. Galina Zaburianova, Deputy Head of the Protected Natural Areas and Nature Management Department of the Administration of Affairs of the President of the Republic of Belarus, said "As the work goes on, specialists determine facilities in need of renovation and add them to the plan. All renovation activities carried out in Belovezhskaya Pushcha do not harm the Park’s ecology".

Belovezhskaya Pushcha has been already noticeably renovated: the estate of Belarusian Grandfather Frost has been expanded, a new hotel has been opened, and the road to the National Park has got reflective marking. Besides, four new ecological routes are under development in the Park which will include observation of the Park’s rare animals and birds, its unique nature and the Belarusian cuisine.

By the way, in 2007 Belovezhskaya Pushcha welcomed around 190 thousand visitors. A great number of tourists, around 7 thousand per day, came to the National Park during Christmas time to visit the estate of Grandfather Frost. Most likely, that by 2010 those wishing to visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha will have to make one-year advance hotel reservation which is common practice in Europe.

The above statistics indicates tourism development. It would be also great, if the beauty of our region would bring real money that would be spent not only on the park’s infrastructure, but also on the welfare of the region residents.
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Translated by Olga Khlebous
November 06, 2008 Website "21.BY" Issues on nature protection

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is valuable for all people.

What is a national park first of all – a unique reserved forest, scientific laboratory or resource to harvest timber together with hunting lands? Is it possible to make artificial restoration of those things which were already changed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha due to economic activities? In November all wishing people can inform scientists about their opinion and vision of the future of this reserve.

In other words, the developers of the long-term management plan for the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" offer to all irrespective of age, education and residence to inform and share remarks and proposals that to help "draw" a picture of the future for the National Park "Public discussions is the All-European practice to accept documents of such the level", research officer of the Nature Protection Department of the Scientific and Practical Centre of the National Academy of Sciences on Bio-Resources Svyatoslav Volosiuk, one of the developers, specifies. "It would be strange if the destiny of the National Park was managed by a small group of the people. This is because interests of the local population are touched here, and of the whole country...

Written by Marina PANASIUK
Photo by Alexandr RUZHECHKA
Newspaper "Belarus Today"
November 05, 2008 "Sovetskaya Byelorussia" (The Soviet Byelorussia) newspaper, No 209 All to holes!

Scientists will inventory badgers.

Rare animals vanish in our forests. About 70 to 80 badgers live now in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. It is a few. They were three times as much half a century back! Why do badgers decrease in the number?

"Poachers are partly guilty", head of the Laboratory of Mammals of the Scientific and Practical Centre of the National Academy of Sciences Petr Kozlo says. "Badgers were an object for hunting, let's say, in the barbarous ways by destruction their holes. Although these animals are not of trade importance, badger fat is very worth in the national medicine as it has curative properties".

What are more reasons of vanishing of the animals? Probably, badgers like other predators have disease of rabies.

"As a rule, racoon dogs winter in badger holes. They are the carriers of this disease", senior staff scientist of the scientific department of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Alexei Bunevich tells. "We, therefore, scatter slices of meat with a vaccine near their holes every spring. Badgers often become victims of wolves".

Experts say that this rare species listed in a Red Data Book of Belarus is still very poorly investigated. In the coming years scientists will monitor the density of the badger population in our country.

Oksana SIDOROVICH