In the the land of steppe winds

Winter projects
February 20-29, 2020 (10 days)
Russia, Irkutskaya oblast`

Irkutsk - Olkhinskoye plateau - Bolshoye Goloustnoye - Irkutsk
Long-term goal of the project
Assistance in the development of ecological (socially responsible) tourism through educational classes in ecology, environmental protection, volunteering with schoolchildren, and interviewing local people.
Project languages
Russian, English
Project program
Day 1
Arrival of participants in Irkutsk, accommodation at the hostel, meeting and orientation according to the program.
The group will gather at 9 am in the GBT hostel.
After getting to know the other participants, the volunteers will go to meet with the Great Baikal Trail staff to learn about the organization's activities.
In the afternoon - a city tour.
Day 2
Excursion to the Olkhinskoye plateau rock formations.
Today, project participants will visit the Olkhinskoye plateau, which is 70 km from Irkutsk. This place is particularly interesting due to its natural rock formations. Volunteers will learn about the territory's special features, as well as the future Vityaz Nature Park.
In the evening, after returning to the city, instructions will be given for the upcoming trip to the village of Bolshoye Goloustnoye, where the main part of the project will take place.
Days 3-8
Departure from Irkutsk to Bolshoye Goloustnoye.
The group will travel to the village of Bolshoye Goloustnoe by bus (travel time - 3 hours).
Volunteers will live at the guest house, develop some new educational programs for schoolchildren, and perhaps even test them, conduct a survey of local residents, and discuss the development of Bolshoye Goloustnoye territory. Participants will also assist elderly residents of the village, if necessary.

Free time: you can bring your ice-skates with you - usually there is good ice in Bolshoye Goloustnoe! Also, volunteers will have the opportunity to stroll along the new section of the Great Baikal Trail, take a steam bath in a Russian banya and try the local Buryat cuisine.
Day 9
The last day of work in Bolshoye Goloustnoe. Wrapping up the project.

The first half of the day will be devoted finishing up all of the projects. The second half of the day will be free time, during which you will be able to pack up your things and take a final walk along Lake Baikal. In the evening, we will have a final tea party.
Day 10
Departure by bus from Bolshoye Goloustnoye to Irkutsk. The end of the project.
After breakfast, the volunteers will travel by bus to Irkutsk. The group will arrive back in the city after lunch.
Project workload and required equipment
In our group, there will be a project leader (crew-leader) that will organize the work of the group, and an interpreter that will be able to provide communication between the participants.

Physical requirements for the project: You will sometimes be asked to carry a backpack with your belongings and the group's foodstuff. You will also be hiking all day in winter conditions. All volunteers will have kitchen-duties (cook and wash dishes).

Necessary equipment: You need to bring a backpack with a volume of no less than 60L and boots with ice cleats. A small, light backpack of 20-30L will be also useful. You may wish to bring a thermos (for day trips) and a laptop (to work on different projects at the nature reserve). We advise you to bring your own plate, cup, and spoon.

Also, take time to do a little research to learn more about the climate in the Baikal region in February so that you can pack appropriate clothing and footwear. During the day the temperature could be anywhere from -5° to -25° C (depending on the year). It's therefore necessary to make sure that you have warm windproof clothing and water-resistant shoes. Really, bring warm clothes with you!

You are welcome to bring some souvenirs from your country for other volunteers in the group or new friends, prepare some presentation of your culture: some stories, traditions, legends, interesting facts, or cook a special dish (don't forget the necessary ingredients).

Participation fee: 18,000 rubles
The participation fee includes:

  • Accommodation in Irkutsk for the first two days and last day of the project,
  • Travel from Irkutsk to the Olkhinskoe Plateau and back,
  • Travel from Irkutsk to Bolshoye Goloustnoe and back,
  • Accommodation in Bolshoye Goloustnoye for days 3 -10 of the project before returning to Irkutsk.

The participation fee does not include:

  • Travel around Irkutsk,
  • Food in Irkutsk,
  • Additional excursions and entertainment.

We will provide a general group first aid kit. Attention! If you have a chronic illness and need certain medications, please bring them with you.

We will also provide all the tools and materials necessary for volunteer work, and cooking utensils.

Accommodation and meals in Irkutsk: accommodation in Irkutsk (common eight-bed room) is included in the project cost. Food in Irkutsk is not included in the project cost, as some may want to eat at a cafeteria or cafe, while some may want to cook on their own in the hostel's kitchen.

The project fee is paid on the first day of the project. No prepayment is needed. The number of places on the project is limited!

In case of unforeseen circumstances, the Great Baikal Trail reserves the right to close the project or make changes to the program, after informing all participants.