"Water is the source of life" Astana trip

Sept. 10, 2017

The project is focused on attracting public attention to water resources and water problems, raising awareness and knowledge about water resources and their impact on biodiversity, forming an understanding of the role of water in the natural life chain and eliminating the consumer attitude to water.

The main participants were:

State Educational Institutions - L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University (ENU) and Nazarbayev University;

NGO "Kazakhstan Association for Biodiversity Conservation", national coordinator "Cayfwater Kazakhstan";students who passed a photo competition on the theme "Water is the source of life" (9 participants). The planned tasks of the project were carried out successfully:
1. Search for project partners and planning joint activities.

Several meetings were organized with representatives of universities in Astana, where the plan of this project was presented, its goals and objectives, and the conditions of a photo competition on the theme "Water is the source of life" among students, with the aim of maximizing student interest, drawing their attention through creativity and the lens of the camera or smartphone to water resources and water problems.
2. Holding the photo competition "Water is the Source of Life" and selecting winners.

The announcement of the photo competition was announced on Facebook, VKontakte, and was also announced by teachers at ENU. The period from August 1 to September 10, 2017. More than 30 students from different universities of Astana took part in the competition. Selection of the winners of the photo competition was carried out by independent experts, by voting. As a result, 8 students were selected.
3. A one-day ecological and educational tour of the winners of the photo competition in the Korgalzhyn Reserve.

Date and duration of the tour: 16/09/2017, 7:30 - 21:00 Group size: 9 participants (8 students and national coordinator "Cayfwater Kazakhstan") + 2 guides accompanying the huntsman and driver. Total length of the route: 340-380 km. Cost of the tour: 14500 tenge per person (check enclosed: 14500 * 9 = 130500 tenge).

The reserve is located 130 km from Astana and is included in the Ramsar List of wetlands of international importance. The Korgalzhyn Reserve itself (included in the natural object "Sary-Arka - Steppes and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan") is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The tour program included: a visit to 3 large lakes on a comfortable mini bus, accompanied by two professional ornithologists, a visit to the nature museum on the reserve territory and an enlightening lecture about the reserve, its unique biodiversity and the importance of local water resources. At lunch, after a tour of the museum, we stopped at a cozy local guest house, where we were greeted by good-natured and very hospitable hosts, who tasted us very tasty and very hearty.

While following the route it was possible to enjoy the expanses of the Kazakh steppe, we observed in telescopes and binoculars for a huge variety of waterfowl, waterbirds and animals on the territory of wetlands. We saw a crane, a curly pelican, a pink flamingo, a large white heron, a steppe eagle, etc., to our great surprise, more than 100 species of birds live in the reserve! (see appendix 1) And the epic of our trip was a long-awaited meeting with a flock of pink flamingos! We learned a number of interesting facts about these birds and why they arrive here. And towards evening in the end of the ecotour, we had a picnic in the nature near the shore of Lake Tengiz with a view of the flock of not fussy and graceful flamingos.
The main goal and objectives of the project were successfully achieved, a significant number of students were involved and actively participated in the competition. Ecological tour, excursion around the museum and the territory of the reserve were impressively cognitive, unforgettable and very fascinating. Students were educated about the role of water in conserving ecosystems and sustaining biodiversity.