Recently all-Ukrainian expert exhibition of guinea pigs, rabbits, and other decorative animals was held in the museum. Wistful glance of a philosopher, elegant leather as if sewn from small pieces, triangular spikes on its back, a powerful tail – is it a dinosaur or a dragon? No, it’s a green iguana named Zhora. When it noticed me it raised its bearded head and nodded with both his head and the leather beard – this is how it welcomes guests of the exhibition. Handsome Zhora came to the Museum of Nature by chance: before it lived in a city apartment but began to attack its owner. Toothy male iguana may act aggressively defending its territory, that’s why they should not be kept as pets, according to Svitlana PETROVA, leading expert on public relations and the press of Enterprise “Kyiv City Museum of Nature.” She also told The Day about another favorite inhabitant of their museum: “We have a chubby chinchilla Anfisa – it is very sweet, kind, and affectionate. Anfisa lives with us for many years.”
Apart from Zhora and Anfisa the permanent exposition of the Museum of Nature features about 90 species of aquarium fish and 180 species of aquarium plants. There is lots to see in the museum: gold fish and platypus, glass catfish and mollies, clown fish and angelfish, barbs, cichlids, discus – king of aquarium, pterygoplichthys gibbiceps, freshwater predator whiptail stingrays, and menacing piranhas. And in a huge six-ton aquarium is a monstrous snow white blooming lily.
The staff of the museum, ten professionals, including biologists, ecologists, and other experts led by director Valentyna Hrynenko, are the people committed to this institution, to nature and all of its representatives. They all deal together with every issue: take care of the animals and organize exhibitions. They observe all international environmental dates: World Environment Day, Earth Day, European Day of Parks, and others. Museum distributes brochures, calendars, and posters on environmental issues to schools and preschools, some of the materials are presented to school teachers who come to the museum with their students. Museum also organizes environmental seminars, conferences, and thematic meetings with university and school students. Seasonal competitions are held for children.
There are clubs of lovers of songbirds, potted violets, orchids, cacti, and each of their exhibitions are impressive as solar splashes. Where else can a city resident see a living bullfinch, thistle-finch, or goldfinch, listen to singing of colorful zebra finches and golden canary, or chat with a parrot? And at the recent all-Ukrainian exhibition of houseplants the visitors had a chance to see streptokarpus – plant with snow white flowers and leaves, bred by Ukrainian breeder Yulia Skliarova, to which there are no analogues in the world. At the exhibitions of florist clubs you can see panels made of poplar fluff, straw, petals, grass, tentacles of French willow, fizalis mesh, and fish bones. It is known that there are many long-livers among florists and even looking at these panels is good for your health – you get a chance to receive the healing energy of plants. Active members of the club are Leonid Kulchytsky, 94-year-old master of intarsia and pictures of straw, and 89-year-old Oktiabryna Punina, war veteran, fond of carving. It is true what Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Nature took care of everything in such a way that you can find something to learn from everywhere.”
Listening to Svitlana Petrova talk about seminars and scientific conferences on environmental education for teachers, you understand that activity of the museum is aimed at making our country a clean and a beautiful place to live. “Technologies of Forming Right Attitude to Waste Among Preschoolers” – this is the name of a seminar for trainers and kindergarten teachers where they learn how to educate a person that would never throw a plastic bag on the ground. “There are no snowdrops growing near Kyiv, said botanists ten years ago,” continued Petrova. “However, participants of the competition ‘Primroses under Protection’ decided to change the situation. In one of Kyiv schools students grew snowdrops in a greenhouse and then planted them in their natural environment. Now, there are snowdrops growing in Holosiivsky Park! It is important not to give up and for everyone to do all s/he can. We try to teach these things, tell young people about them and show how to do them.”
Currently the exhibition of paintings is presented at the Museum of Nature and from April 4 to 7 visitors will get a chance to learn more about live exotic plants.