May 31, 2023

Expedition within the framework of the Project «Donbass Extraordinary»

On May 13, 2023, the team of the Notivory Foundation went to the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic in order to implement one of the stages of the project aimed at popularizing the natural, cultural and historical heritage of Donbass. The Donbass Extraordinary project is being implemented using a grant from the President of the Russian Federation for the development of civil society provided by the Presidential Grants Fund.
The expedition was attended by environmentalists, operators, a journalist and the head of the Project development Department of the Notivory Foundation. Accompanied by Oksana Sergeevna Volodchenko, Head of the Recreation and Environmental Education Department of the Donetsk Ridge Landscape and Recreation Park, and park Director Sergey Anatolyevich Khoroshaev, the group began its journey from the coastal zone of the Krynka River. While experts in the field of ecology studied the environment, Oksana Sergeevna spoke about the specially protected natural area, its inhabitants, red Book plant species and regulated recreation areas, noting the importance of environmental education of the population, especially among the younger generation.
The Donetsk Ridge Park is located on the site of the ancient mountain system of the same name. Passing the hills that were previously mountains, the group continued on their way, heading towards the remnants – blurred single peaks. Upon arrival, the expedition members saw the peaks of the Blue and Ash Mountains. Particular attention was drawn to Mount Yasenevaya, the uniqueness of which lies in the division along the ridge into two parts: on the one hand – the steppe, and on the other – the forest. The bleaching hill on the top of the Blue Mountain turned out to be the place of growth of the red-book plant. Speaking about the Donetsk Ridge, Oksana Sergeevna Volodchenko and Sergey Anatolyevich Khoroshaev noted that the purpose of the protected area is to preserve a unique ecosystem. The need to protect such territories is not unfounded, because in April of this year, a tenth species of grasshopper, previously unknown to science, was discovered on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic. This plant carries not only ecological value, but also cultural. There are various legends and beliefs about kovyl. So, at the time of the Tatar-Mongol raids, the blooming feather grass foreshadowed the approaching invasion. It was believed that the plant protects the earth, burning with its sharpness the enemy horse that ate it. According to legend, the feather grass grows only where a drop of warrior's blood has fallen. From a scientific point of view, the appearance of a feather grass indicates the complete restoration of a field that was once subjected to development and plowing.
Continuing to admire the most picturesque views of nature, the group moved forward, looking at the natural remnants of the mountain system, the hilly terrain – the Shishov Mountains, resembling cones from afar, and the river – Shishovochka adjacent to them. Standing on the remnants of the mountain system, the members of the expedition saw the versatility of nature at a glance: the steppes, the Sevastianka tract, the bayrachny forest and other riches of the environment.
The further way lay to one of the highest points of the region called Saur-Grave. This territory is closely connected with the historical heritage: the kurgan has repeatedly become the site of fierce battles over the past few centuries. There is historical evidence that there is an artificial embankment with a height of 4 meters on the natural remnant. Since the XVIII century, it has been forbidden to make any excavations in this area, so it is not possible to find out what is in the mound. The first memorial to fallen soldiers at this height was erected immediately after the end of the Great Patriotic War. 16 rare plant species were found on the territory of the mound, which are listed in international protected lists.
During the expedition, the members of the group were lucky enough to see with their own eyes the red book representatives of the fauna: the purple carpenter bee and the Caspian runner.
While on the territory of the Donetsk ridge, the operators were shooting materials to create a virtual tour, the collection of video material continued in the Biosphere Reserve "Khomutovskaya steppe – Meotida". Ecologists who traveled the way as part of the expedition collected information and made their conclusions in order to present them in July this year at an exhibition – conference dedicated to the nature of Donbass.
The Donbass Extraordinary project is being implemented with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund and is aimed at attracting the attention of the general public to the ecological and cultural peculiarities of the region.


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