The Ecotourism Development Fund “Dersu Uzala” is a Russian NGO established in 1998 as a result of collaboration on environmental projects between USAID and WWF with support from the International Union of Nature Conservation (IUCN) and the Citizens Democracy Corps. Dersu Uzala aims to develop ecotourism and other eco-friendly initiatives across Russia. These projects demonstrated long-term economic viability and sustainability.
Core mission of Dersu Uzala:
- Organize ecotours for nature lovers and specialists in national parks and buffer zones of nature reserves;
- Develop strategies, management programs and business plans for ecological tourism as well as ecotourism consulting and training services;
- Raise environmental awareness among Russian youth and provide educational resources on Russian nature reserves and ecotourism opportunities;
- Promote domestic and international eco-tours on Russian territory.
Geographically, Dersu Uzala’s activities focus on Kamchatka, Primorsky and Khabarovsky Regions, Kuril and Commandor Islands, Chukchi Peninsula, Baikal, Altai, Sayansky District, Central and North Siberia, Putorana Plateau, Ural, Karelia and Russian North, Central Russia, etc.
1. Developing and carrying out ecotours for nature lovers and specialists in national parks and buffer zones of nature reserves
Over 100 programs of ecotours in various regions of Russia are developed (“Volcanoes and Bears of Kamchatka”, “To the Kindgom of Amur Tiger”, Nature Reserves around Lake Baikal, Karelian Nature Jewels, ecological travel in Putorany Plateau, etc.)
Over 5000 visitors took part in these ecotours during the last 4 years.
2. Specialized projects
During the last years, “Dersu Uzala” had implemented over 35 projects aimed at development of ecotourism and associated ecologically friendly businesses in various regions of Russia, including the following (read more)
4. Development of children ecological movement in Russia
- Organizing children ecological camps in nature reserves and national parks together with the Department of nature use and environmental protection of the Moscow Government. 25 ecological camps were carried out for over 1000 schoolchildren – active participants of environmental protection activities on nature protected areas of Moscow
- Carrying out international youth camps together with the International United World College (UWC) in the national park “Russian North” and in Italy
5. Publications about Russian nature reserves and ecotourism possibilities, promotion of ecological tours in Russia at the national and international level
- Manual “Ecotourism on the Way to Russia”
- “Ecotourism in Russia: Altai, Sayans and Tuva” (illustrated guidebook in English)
- A series of information & advertising booklets (“Ecotourism in Kamchatka”, “Ecotourism in various regions of Russia”)
- Subscription information & advertising press-releases in Internet
6. Consulting and training services in various regions of Russia:
- Ecotourism training workshops for managers of nature protected areas in the Altai-Sayans Ecoregion, Association of nature protected areas of North of European Russia, Association of nature reserves of North Caucasus;
- Training workshop for ecotourism guides in Kamchatka (UNDP, 2005), Ural (Perm), Yakutia, Chukchi Peninsula, Baikal.
Major Partners: Ministry for Nature Resources of Russian Federation, Department for nature resources and environmental protection of the Government of Moscow, ROLL program (Institute for Sustainable Communities), UNDP, USC - United World College, Russian Ecotourism Association, Association of Indigenous Nations of the North, Center for supporting Indigenous Nations of the North.