Negoreloe Forestry Experimental station provides excellent academic and research facilities to train highly qualified professionals at Belarusian State Technological University which is basic higher educational institution of the CIS in the fields of forestry and forest industry.
The BSTU-affiliated Forestry Experimental Station in Negoreloe was founded in 1948 on the basis of Negoreloe forestry section of Minsk forestry enterprises and is situated on the territory of Dzerzhinsk and Uzda districts of Minsk region. Its total area is 17,190 ha.
Setting-up of the Forestry Experimental Station in Negoreloe was initiated by outstanding silviculture researchers of Belarusian Forestry Engineering Institute to enable practical training and applied research by both students and teaching staff. Its location was selected due to its unique specific features of landscape, flora and fauna. There are almost all types of forest plantations of various domestic tree species: from pine forests, growing on sandy soils to spruce and oak forests that require fertile loam.
Nowadays there are more than 150 experimental sites set up on the territory of the NFES by teachers and students. They include such valuable plantations as provenance trials of Scots pine and Norway spruce planted in 1959-1961 by 65 climates types from different parts of the world. There are sites for different kinds of final felling aimed at natural forest regeneration and its further successful growth. The sites serve as a good basis for long-term complex research into the most up-to-date trends in forestry and forest industry. The obtained results are summarized articles, students’ research projects, graduation projects and research papers, MSc and PhD theses not only by Belarusian researchers but by their foreign colleagues as well.
The NFES can be compared to a nature laboratory that annually welcomes students of many graduate programs, in particular, forestry-related ones to have some hands-on experience of their future career. According to the modular approach the training season runs from mid April to early November during which the unique facilities are explored by about 1,000 students of such programs as “Forestry”, “Landscape Architecture”, “Tourism and Nature Management”, “Forestry Engineering”, “Woodworking Technology”, “Machines and Mechanisms for Forest Complex”, “Economics and Plant Management”, “Accounting, Analysis and Audit” “Marketing”, “Management”. In 2015 the Forestry Experimental Station invited students of affiliated BSTU colleges for practical training.
The teaching process carried out at the Forestry Experimental Station premises involves lectures, practical and laboratory classes, all types of practical training. More than 20 academic disciplines are taught there, to include Botany, Engineering Surveying, Silviculture, Dendrology, Forest Inventory, Forest Plantations and Forest Protection, Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology, Ecology and Meteorology Fundamentals, Soil Science, Forest Mensuration, Technology of Forest Industry, Technology and Machinery for Logging and Log Storage, Servicing and Maintenance of Logging Machinery, Forestry Machinery, Forest Transport Machinery.
The facilities of the Forestry Experimental Station are widely used for retraining in such programs as Forest Science and Silviculture, Hunting Control and Accessory Utilization of Forest Resources as well as for professional development of forestry specialists. University lecturers, MSc and PhD students are involved in research work here.
The core of Negoreloe Forestry Experimental Station is its state-of-the-art material facilities complying with the most demanding requirements of today. They cover the Museum of Flora and Fauna, an academic and laboratory building with an IT-based shooting gallery, classrooms of forest meteorology, botany and dendrology with unique herbaria. There are a number of educational experimental centres (such as the centre for multipurpose logging machinery, the centre for road and forest transport machinery, the centre for machinery for nursery farms and forest plantations) housing several advanced models of harvesters, forwarders and other forestry machinery. Students are taught to operate the machinery for them to simulate the real working environment. One of the best experimental hunting farms is developing rapidly. Seed plantations are a source of genetically modified seeds and seedlings for nursery farms. The teaching staff and the students are accommodated in 2 guest houses, 3 comfortable dormitories of 400 beds; they also have a canteen, a stadium with a football ground and a gym available.
The BSTU Botanical Garden is a real pearl of Negoreloe Forestry Experimental Station and an excellent place for learning a variety of academic disciplines, i.e. dendrology, floriculture, flora resources of ecological tourism. Its exceptional scientific value and research potential promote knowledge of natural sciences and environmental protection. The Botanical Garden originated from an arboretum founded in 1954 and inspired by Professor Zhilkin, the head of the Silviculture Department of the former Belarusian Forestry Institute named after S.M. Kirov. At present, the arboretum contains one of the country’s largest collections of tree and shrub species and is widely known not only in Belarus, but also internationally. The collection was created by phyto-geographical approach and represents dendroflora of China, Japan, Far East, Siberia, Central Asia, the Crimea and the Caucasus, Europe and North America.
In the mid-1990s Professor I. Zharski, the Rector of Belarusian State Technological University, initiated the design and creation of garden parterre area along with the introduction, planting and maintenance of decorative flowers, trees and shrubs.
The Botanical Garden currently comprises an arboretum, a parterre area and a fruit garden.
The above mentioned collections create favourable environment for research into growth characteristics and development of the introduced tree species, new forms and varieties of decorative grasses and woody plants that can be used for urban landscaping as well as into their decorative effect, conditions and sustainability in landscape architecture.
In spring of 2015, Professor I. Zharski, the Rector of the Belarusian State Technological University initiated the creation of an ecological trail called “Tale of Negorelsky Forest” to give the Botanical Garden a unique and authentic style. The trail’s goal is to promote environmental consciousness, to teach careful and responsible behaviour towards natural resources, to make students familiar with ethnic culture, mythology and, of course, an amazing floral diversity, not only of our country but many regions of the world.
Students and pupils, scientists and participants of environmental conferences, eco-tourists and visitors can discover the ecological trail. The trail is about 1 km long and has 11 stops: “Garden Keepers”, “Bear’s Corner”, “Stone Tale”, “Bee Megalopolis”, “Gayun’s Estate”, “Migrants’ Haven”, “The Kingdom of Gymnosperms”, “Visiting Lozovik”, “Golden Nut”, “Geometry in Nature”, “Rusalka’s Flower Fairy Show”. Each of the stops has its specific floristic, historical, and cultural value.
There are unique natural sites of international importance in the NFES: forest-swamp-lake complex “Bezdonnitsa” that is covered with legends; pine plantations of 160-190-year-old trees covering an area of about 100 ha and demonstrating the results of century-old succession of forest phytocenosis of pine stands; preserves of rare plants.
Staying in Negoreloe, students have a variety of opportunities for active recreation. Immediate vicinity of forest stands of different species and age composition, lakes, rivers, swamps, and other interesting natural sites create conditions for informative educational tours, fishing, picking-up of berries, mushrooms, nuts, etc.
The BSTU-affiliated Forestry Experimental Station in Negoreloe served a launching pad for most directors and other professionals of forestry, landscape architecture, forest industry of Belarus. Today, the natural laboratory in Negoreloe has added much to its value and provides a good platform for the new generation of future forestry professionals, teachers and researchers.