Cherkasy – Biology students, nature experts, and other caring people are coming to the preserve from the whole oblast in order to protect the wild plantations of poculiform snowdrops in Kholodny Yar (National Historical Cultural Preserve “Chyhyryn”).
The head of the subsidiary “Kholodny Yar” of the National Historical Cultural Preserve and supervisor of the action Bohdan Lehoniak explained:
“For over 10 years now the National Cultural Historical preserve ‘Chyhyryn’ has been cooperating with the Cherkasy Oblast Association for Nature Protection and the Cherkasy-based Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University, specifically the current Institute of Natural History (formerly the biology department). In the 1990s the situation was regrettable. Hopelessness (lack of jobs) forced people to earn money off of the plant. It was then that we decided to actively protect it. We created a wildlife preserve where the snowdrops were growing and called it ‘Snow-White,’ because snowdrops are considered to be snow-white. There were many unpleasant moments, when people attacked us with knives. Today the situation has greatly improved. Whereas previously we had few snowdrops in these areas, now we have whole ‘carpets,’ and two plots of two and one hectare merged and broadened to seven hectares.
“Five years ago specialists from the Hryshko National Botanical Garden came to us and noted with great surprise that our snowdrop is the same poculiform snowdrop that is [supposedly] endemic to the Crimea, i.e. it grows only in the Crimea in Ukraine. It is considered to be a mountain plant. Later scientists confirmed that ours was indeed a poculiform snowdrop, which grows in the Middle Dnipro region. That was a serious scientific discovery.
“This year specialists from the Botanical Garden have come to us, namely professor Viktor Melnyk and two specialists from the British Royal Garden. One of them, a specialist in snowdrops, confirmed that this is poculiform snowdrop. Moreover, the scientist drew a conclusion that it has been growing on our territory since ancient times, the pre-glacial age, and was not brought to our area from the outside.
“The action for snowdrop protection is attended by students, and on weekends by graduates who have been helping us for many years. We lease a house in the forestry, where the volunteers live. Everyday they go for a whole day to patrol the places where snowdrops grow. Besides, the students conduct nature protection classes at school, they spread leaflets in towns and villages. A total of 18 students and a teacher are working [with us] at the moment. We expect this number to increase, and on the weekend another group will replace the students, as well as the graduates. They work and relax at the same time, because the nature is incredible here.”