Outreach in Ukraine and Romania

Aleksandre Gogaladze is currently (May, June 2017) traveling around Ukraine and Romania. His plan is to interview the stakeholder institutions to gather data on their social network structures in order to understand how Pontocaspian biodiversity related environmental issues are shared and communicated among different actors in Ukraine and Romania; Besides, he will work on promoting the PRIDE citizen science through the taxonomic identification sheet. Here are his first impressions from Romania.

I arrived in Bucharest a week ago from Ukraine loaded with new experiences and positive emotions. I had a very productive 2 weeks in Ukraine and thanks to PRIDE’s Ukrainian partners I managed to interview 11 stakeholder institutions. Also thanks to the Ukrainian hospitality I was invited on excursions in 3 different protected areas on the Black Sea coast where I met the directors of protected areas and also representatives of different conservation organizations. Apart from interviewing them we had fruitful discussions about conservation problems in general that Ukraine is currently facing and also about different possibilities of leaflet distribution and citizen science promotion on protected areas.

Picture 1. Regional Landscape Park “Kinburn Spit”

Picture 2. Regional Landscape Park “Kinburn Spit”

Picture 3. Regional Landscape Park “Kinburn Spit”


 I spent most of my 2 weeks in Kherson, however before going to Kherson I stayed in Kiev for several days and met PRIDE’s partner institutions: Prof. Vitaliy Anistratenko from the Institute of Zoology and Ms. Natalia Gozak from WWF Ukraine. We discussed and planned the future steps together and they helped me with contacting the stakeholder institutions.


Picture 4. At the office of the Lower Dnieper National Nature Park. Interviewing the Vice—director Ms. Alena Ponomarova.

Picture 5. Regional Landscape Park “Kinburn Spit”. In the house of the director of the Park: Mr. Petrovych Zinovii together with Prof. Ivan Moysiyenko from Kherson State University and his family.

It is already one week I am in Bucharest, Romania. I have interviewed 3 institutions here so far and there are many more planned meetings to come before I go back to Ukraine for my secondment at WWF Ukraine. I met with PRIDE’s Romanian partner institutions: Prof. Marius Stoika from the University of Bucharest and Dr. Luis Popa and Dr. Oana Popa from the Grigore Antipa Museum. They were very helpful with putting me in contact with stakeholders and thanks to them I have many meeting fixed.

Besides, I and my fellow ESR colleagues: Alberto Martínez Gándara and Lea Rausch have very exciting plans on engaging with Black Sea Coastal schools and Universities and raising awareness and promoting citizen science amongst students using our leaflet. In Romania, with the assistance of Ana Bianca Pavel from INCD GeoEcoMar, we already have fixed meeting in Constanta with 5th grade school students from 2 different schools on May 30th. This will be a one day extra-curricular activity where we will explain the school students about the importance and uniqueness of Pontocaspian biota and we will enlighten them on how they can help us using the leaflet to generate the actual scientific data on species occurences.


Picture 6. Excursion in the Lower Dnieper National Nature Park territory. From right to left: me, Director of the Park: Mr. Aleksey Chachibaia and school students from Kherson Gymnasium


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Another good news is that with the great support of Ms. Natalia Gozak from WWF Ukraine we have already introduced our leafelts into 20 Black Sea Boxes that will be distributed around schools in Ukraine. Also, Ms. Natalia Gozak suggested to dedicate 1 day to PRIDE from the Ichthyological field work that WWF Ukraine is organizing for Kherson University students. The fieldwork will take place in Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, in Vilkovo area, Odessa Region and the day for PRIDE will be on June 27. We have asked for expert assistance from Dr. Mikhail Son from the Institute of Marine Biology in Odessa and fortunately he is willing to accompany us on the fieldwork on June 27 and represent PRIDE together with me, Lea and Alberto. Our intentions are to enlighten the students on the uniqueness of Pontocaspian biota and importance of Pontocaspian mollusks in food webs as a food source for Sturgeon and other Pontocaspian fish species. The theory will be accompanied by a fieldwork at the end of the day and we intend to use our leaflets to show students different species assemblages in different environments (marine, estuarine, freshwater).


Author: Aleksandre Gogaladze