Irkutsk State University

ISU Botanical Gardens

Address: 93 Koltsova St, Irkutsk

Contacts: tel. +7 (3952) 41-34-76

Website: bg.isu.ru

E-mail: director@bogard.isu.ru

The university's Botanical Gardens were founded in 1940 and are considered among the oldest in all of Siberia. The founding and organization of the Botanical Gardens came at a very difficult time, during and following the war, and as a result, the gardens were closed to the general public for many years. The Botanical Gardens are unique and serve as a resource for the scientific education of our students and staff at the institute.

The Botanical Gardens are a large and important part of the university. In terms of area, the gardens encompass 27 hectares. There are more than 5000 species and varieties of plants, the majority of which are decorative or exotic. Nevertheless there are many plants for food production in the collection that, due to breeders, have become the preferred varieties for food production in the area, including apples, pears, apricots, etc.

The ISU Botanical Gardens are the first participant in a unique project called the Green Legacy of Hiroshima. This project began in the summer of 2011. The project's developers are from the Institute UNITAR of the organization of United Peoples and the non-governmental organization ANT-Hiroshima. The goal of the project is the proliferation and planting of tree seeds that survived the atomic bombing of Japan in August of 1945 throughout the entire world. The organizers believe that this project will serve as a reminder of the victims of all wars, a call to support peace and safety and for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons as well as the safekeeping of the planet for our posterity.

The enumeration of responsibilities of the Botanical Gardens as an academic-research center has greatly grown over the past several years. Not just students, but also regular citizens of Irkutsk, gladly come to our tropical oasis where lianas and palms grow year-round and four-meter high cacti turn green. The staff do not just collect and study various plants, but also educational work: give consultations and provide the gardens with planting stock.

For this reason, the Botanical Gardens should not be considered just an educational, auxiliary resource of the faculties and departments of the university, but also as a structure that allows for the active participation of the students and staff in additional education. For example, topical courses for the improvement of one's qualifications have been established in conjunction with the Biology and Soil Faculty and the Institute of Social Sciences.

The tropical atmosphere at the Botanical Gardens focuses on ecological discussions. And so, in 2011 the idea for the complete reformation of Irkutsk into an ecologically clean city was born. This thought so took hold of so many citizens of Irkutsk that the strong social youth group “We'll Make Irkutsk Eco-Logical!” was founded on this principle. Thanks to this new movement over the past two years in Irkutsk there have already been many large environmental projects, such as trash removal, the replanting of forests and parks, in addition to ecology focused photo exhibitions. For example, in the Kaisky Grove hundreds of volunteers from Irkutsk over the course of two years planted more than 2000 saplings in an old and heavily damaged forest.

The botanical gardens of ISU often take part in international forums and even play host to such events. The gardens currently are working for the development of international policy for the protection and proper use of biodiversity having already taken part in the creation of standard documents at the United Nations and UNESCO.

In 2012 a Japanese garden was planted. This unique installation was created by the staff of the gardens and students under the leadership of 2 Japanese professors along with the participation of five students from the Hokkaido University.