Semey Biological Centre Involves Children with the Environment

ASTANA – The offspring recently born to Shetland ponies and European fallow deer in the Children’s Biological Centre of Semey are healthy and thriving.

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The Bio Centre is a wonderful oasis of nature in the city which involves children and teenagers in environmental protection.

“After a long and cold winter, a Shetland pony and European fallow deer were born in the Biological Centre. The pony is beginning to eat on its own and repeat the movements of its mother. The lamb of the fallow deer drinks its mother’s milk. In the future, they will live in the Biological Centre. From July 9 to July 19, we held a competition for the best nicknames for these young animals and a small gift from our Bio Centre was presented to the winners,” said Valery Dyadov, the centre’s director.

BioCentre is home to about 70 species of animals, birds and representatives of the fauna of east Kazakhstan and Central Asia, Australia, Africa, America and other continents of the world. These include 18 endangered species.

The Regional Children’s Biological Centre of Semey, which is the only center of its kind in Eastern Kazakhstan, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The centre’s main objectives are to involve children and teenagers in environmental protection and to help foster in young people a responsible attitude toward nature. The centre also seeks to provide recreational activities for children and adolescents.

The centre also includes an open air education and research laboratory, which is used to educate young people and involve them in practical environmental activities.

In addition to its animal population, the centre is also home to more than 100 kinds of house plants, 26 species of medicinal plants, 40 species of trees, more than 100 types of flowers and 80 varieties of vegetables.

It provides a unique opportunity for younger children to open the first page of a multi-volume chronicle of nature, to mid-level students to understand the secrets of plant and animal life, to join the study of the nature of Kazakhstan and for high school students to gain in-depth knowledge on biology, and to seriously engage in scientific research.

Fifty-seven student clubs with a total of 855 students interact with the centre.

Young elementary and preschool age children receive basic information about the environment. Middle school students receive a more theoretical education, as well as engage in practical training and experiments.

The next stage allows older students and students studying biological science and ecology to directly implement scientific projects related to the environment.

During the summer, the Bio Centre organizes the summer ecological camp “Otan” where more than 600 school students from the surrounding community have an opportunity to engage in recreational activities and study.

The Bio Centre also holds competitions and conducts conferences, such as the conference, “The New Generation Chooses Nature,” which is an annual conference dedicated to Earth Day. The participants of the conference are representatives of the Department of Education, Department of Environmental Protection, winners of regional and national competitions, eco journalists and students of city schools. The centre holds activities related to other international environmental days as well, such as the Day of Birds and the Week of Biological Diversity. Together, these activities involve more than 5,000 students.

The Biological Centre has won multiple awards and is recognized as “The best organization of additional education” by the Education, Physical Training and Sports Department of Semey. The centre was awarded 1 million tenge ($6,544) for that designation. Teachers and scientists from the United States, Germany, Russia and Belarus have also visited the centre.

With the support of the Ministry of Education in 2009, the Bio Centre organized the National Forum of young ecologists, which was attended by more than 200 delegates from all regions of Kazakhstan.

The Bio Centre has also received personal support from many individuals from Kazakhstan and abroad.

“Your Bio Centre is a wonderful oasis of nature in the city. Your work is necessary thing, forming the souls of children,” wrote Mikhail Blinnikov, a biogeographer at Moscow State University and St. Cloud State University of Minnesota, United States.

“We received positive impressions while visiting the Bio Centre,” said Nagasaki Vice-Mayor Hidehito Yokoo.

“I am pleased that you have gone through a difficult time and were able to preserve for children such a wonderful institution,” said Berdybek Saparbayev, Akim (Governor) of the East Kazakhstan region.

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