May 28, 2023

On the Isupovskoe swamp in the Susaninsky district of the Kostroma region, on May 1, a “NON-geography lesson” was held. A real journey through historical places, as well as a theatrical performance at the end point of the route, was organized by the Kostroma Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society as part of the All-Russian action of the Russian Geographical Society. The educational event was attended by local schoolchildren, teachers and children left without parental care, who are under the care of the Future Now charity foundation.

The travel route was laid along the Susaninskaya trail. Its botanical part introduced the landscape and vegetation of the swamp, in particular, the unique northern orchids. The zoological block made it possible to learn about the diversity of the animal world – up to 100 species of birds can be found on this territory.

At the end of the route for the daredevils, who walked through the swamp for almost 1700 m along narrow wooden decks, a theatrical scene was played out. The performance was dedicated to the events that took place 410 years ago. Ivan Susanin himself, as well as scientists and employees of the Kostroma Museum-Reserve, members of the Russian Geographical Society spoke about the unique natural complex of the post-glacial period, about the most important milestones in the history of Russian statehood associated with this legendary place.

“On land” the club of reenactors “Sirin” helped to plunge into the distant past. Its activists offered schoolchildren to hit the target with a tight bow, try their hand at weaving old Russian ropes, and board games. At the same station, one could learn about archaeological research and finds made by Kostroma archaeologists during expeditions in the Susaninsky region. By the way, modern methods make it possible to carry out surveys even in such wetlands and swamps.

Susaninskoe swamp covers an area of ​​about 1 thousand hectares. Since 2021, it has the status of a state nature reserve. The complex occupies one of the largest basins in the Kostroma region, formed during the runoff of melt water in the postglacial era. It was formed near the Shacha River and its tributaries – the Pichezha and the Vodysh. Konstantin Sitnikov, a biologist, director of the charitable foundation “The Future is Now”, a member of the Kostroma branch of the Russian Geographical Society, told the participants of the “NON-geography lesson” about the time of the origin of the swamp.

Ridges are located on the border of the Kostroma and Vologda regions. Where did they come from if there were no volcanoes or mountains? In fact, everything is simple: the so-called Quaternary period lasted about 1 million years. And during this Quaternary period there were seven glaciations. The largest of them is the Dnieper glaciation. Now we have two polar caps – one in the Arctic, the other in the Antarctic, where a certain amount of water has been accumulated. The climate on Earth was not always the way it is now. Sometimes the Earth cooled down, during this period glaciation occurred, and these caps fell down to 50 ° latitude from the north and south. It turns out that during the Dnieper glaciation up to Kyiv, in those territories where we are now, there was a glacier. The thickness of this glacier was incredible – it reached 2.5 km. The furious force of the glacier, which gradually slipped from the poles to the equatorial line, pulled off the rocks of those places where they were formed by volcanic means. Therefore, literally under our feet is a moraine – what the glacier “dragged” from the north. These are huge boulders, and the smallest particles of clay up to tens of micrometers– said Konstantin Sitnikov.

At the zoological station, greetings from the distant past were conveyed to the guests of the Susaninsky swamp by common cranes. In late September – early October, large groups of these birds gather in its vicinity before flying to warmer climes. The crane family is considered one of the oldest species of birds on earth. Cranes have existed since the time of the dinosaurs, more than 60 million years ago. Olga Sitnikova, director of the scientific and educational center “Dront” of the Kostroma State University, a member of the Russian Geographical Society, told the participants of the “NON-geography lesson” about this. At her informative lecture with photo illustrations and “live accompaniment” (the birds did not stop chirping and trilling throughout the day and throughout the hike along the ecological path), the guests learned that due to the unique location of the basin in the Susaninsky swamp, you can meet more than 100 bird species. This is despite the fact that in total in the Kostroma region there are 280 species of birds.

Birds arrange the brightest concerts in the morning and evening hours, especially in good weather, such polyphony sounds here! There are thrushes, and pigeons, and lapwings, and wagtails. You will be surprised, but a titmouse – a bird with a yellow breast, well known to residents, including cities, can simultaneously perform two or three songs, changing their knee. In general, scientists identify up to 40 types of songs in a tit.– said Olga Sitnikova.

Senior researcher of the Kostroma Museum-Reserve, member of the Russian Geographical Society Anna Efimova told about the famous northern orchids to the participants of the “NON-geography lesson”. Swamp orchids are different from those sold in flower shops. Some species begin to bloom in June. Detailed information about these beautiful flowers is presented on the information boards located in the swamp.

Some of the species growing here are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Some are extremely rare not only for Russia, but also for the whole world. For example, the Kostroma region is the leader in terms of the number of points of finds of the insect-bearing ophrys, and it is here, in the Susaninsky swamp. These flowers are distributed only in Western Europe and a little bit in the west of the European part of Russia. So we can say that we have the world’s wealth. Another interesting fact. Many orchids live in symbiosis with fungi. This means that only certain types of mushrooms allow certain types of orchids to sprout. And there is also such a feature: the orchid sprout will sprout a little and go to rest. The next year, it will sprout a little more again – and again to rest. Sometimes, before the first flowering in some types of orchids, for example, in a slipper, it takes up to 20 years. Imagine how difficult it is for them to live. And therefore, places where there are many of them, where they feel safe, we must definitely preserve– said Anna Efimova.

At the end of the route, the participants were transported to the 17th century and learned the details of the events that took place in 1613. At the “historical station” the guys were met by Ivan Susanin, as well as formidable Pole warriors, peasants from the village of Domnino, where nun Marfa and young Mikhail Romanov lived.

Schoolchildren could take a memorable photo with a folk hero in the middle of a swamp. Thanks to the unique natural landscapes and realistic-looking characters, the schoolchildren remembered well who “was tormented by immeasurable torture by the Polish-Lithuanian people, but knowing where Mikhail Fedorovich was, he did not give out the place.”

Our events with you took place 400 years ago – in 1613. In fact, Osipovich Ivan Susanin received his middle name thanks to the famous Glinka opera. At the beginning of the 17th century, peasants did not yet have patronymics, and their names were derived from the names of their parents. Susanin, for example, most likely, his mother’s name was Susanna – that’s why the surname is like that. There is a version that Susanin grew up without a father, so his nickname was formed on behalf of his mother. The only reliable document from which we know about Ivan Susanin is a letter of commendation, which was already received by Ivan Susanin’s son-in-law Bogdan Sabinin in 1619, when his descendants “whitewash” for the feat of the Kostroma peasant, that is, since that time they have not paid taxes– said the head of the architectural and ethnographic department of the Kostroma Museum-Reserve, a member of the Kostroma branch of the Russian Geographical Society Roman Maltsev.

The Kostroma regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society has been engaged in the improvement and repair of the Susaninskaya trail since 2017. During this time, a steep slope was cleared of small shrubs, the descent itself to the base of the swamp was designed in the form of a staircase, railings were equipped and painted, benches and several rest points with tables were installed along the route, 1700 m of wooden flooring were repaired and maintained for safe movement.

The Russian Geographical Society for the first time organizes such an action – “NON-lesson of geography”. Each region chooses an unusual place with its own history and geographical features to hold an educational event in a non-standard format. We decided that in the Kostroma region it would be the Isupovskoye (Susaninskoye) swamp. It is widely known as a memorial site of the feat of the national hero Ivan Susanin. But the ecological significance of the swamp remained underestimated for a long time, its flora and fauna are indeed unique, as participants in the action could see today. This is a very interesting object – both from the point of view of history and local history, and from the point of view of geography and biology, including botany and ornithology. I think that thanks to the help of volunteers from the Medvedki farm and caring residents of the Susaninsky district, we managed to hold an important educational and patriotic event. Further plans include the creation of a methodological manual for teachers and audio guides so that they can independently, taking into account our experience and our achievements, conduct the same interesting open classes for their pupils in their small homeland– said the chairman of the Kostroma regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society Roman Ryabintsev.

“NEUROK geography” is a fundamentally new educational format. Unlike a standard school lesson, it turns the learning process into an entertaining journey and an exciting game. Participants of the project of the Russian Geographical Society will be waiting for hikes, master classes, excursions, practical classes, as well as interactive events using the virtual educational and entertainment portal “World of Geography”. Within 10 days, within the framework of the project, 440 events in 65 subjects of the Russian Federation. The partner of the action was Natalia Tornkvist Charitable Foundation “Nature Revival”.

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