Learn more about DEUM from the interview with the chairman - Laimute Salickaite-Bunikiene.


When was DEUM established and for what reason?


DEUM has a very long and interesting history. Briefly, DEUM has its roots in 1979, when the first house for meliorators was built on the Lake Drukshiai North shore. That time a large scientific program of environmental research in the region of Ignalina Nuclear Power plant (its 1 Unit was put in operation only in the end of 1983) began. There was a need to evaluate a background state of environment before the construction of Ignalina NPP in order to compare changes of ecosystem parameters in future. Later a present scientific settlement with comfortable houses, laboratory rooms and infrastructure were built up. 


Who is involved in searching for and inviting enthusiastic lecturers to DEUM?
kapitonas.jpgIn 1992 scientists came up with the idea to spread information collected and results of monitoring in the Ignalina NPP region to the broad public, but also to attract new people to Earth Sciences. DEUM is the best example of scientists hopes realized in present. We hope that another Laimute, another Vitalijus and Agne will come to DEUM soon and continue research. There will be enough work for the next generation in the region of the Ignalina NPP region.


What is the criterion for pupil selection to DEUM?
finan.jpgEcology study was one of the National research program "Environment and Energy" scientific directions. A pedagogical experiment was carried out with its own methodology, system, and also criteria of pupil selection. We were grouping pupils of different age but of common interest (e.g. 11th and 12th form pupils all fond of Earth Sciences). Another pattern is a group of the same age but of different interests (e.g. a class). And the most difficult and interesting case is a group of different age and different interests. 



There was a demand for chemical reactives, laboratory dishes in that time. Who helped to purchase all necessary stuff?
reagentai.jpgIn Soviet times there was a very good financing of scientific research in the region of Ignalina NPP. Our investigations were under the control of the atomic energy problems institute in Moscow, and we had a plenty of programs to carry out. After Lithuania proclaimed its Independency, in 1993-1997 a National research program "Environment and Energy" had been carried out and financed by the Lithuanian State. Additional chemical substances and necessary equipment could be purchased.



Nowadays the Lake Drukshiai has changed much. Soon Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant will be shutdown. What is the future of the Lake?
eutro1.jpgThough from water ecology point of view we should, probably, seek the Ignalina NPP shutdown, we are not so happy about its "closure". When operating Ignalina NPP the Lake is influenced thermally, so bigger part of the Lake water surface is not covered by ice in Winter. The Ignalina NPP 2 Unit shutdown in 2009 will return ice cover. This natural barrier will stop "ventilation" of the Lake in Winter – toxic gases formed in organic matter decay will concentrate in the Lake water under the ice cover. That will reinforce the activity of anaerobic bacteria, also formation of gases and accumulation of decay products. Since the Lake's self-cleaning processes are week, this will stimulate further "death" (eutrophication) of the Lake.
DEUM guests can only imagine the quantity of organic mass in the Lake if they look at the great areas of water plants (macrophites) and reed on the Lake shelf. Part of plants decay to mineral components forming nutrient substrate for new plant generations. Another part of plants can not be decayed so intensively and stays in water sediments as the potential source of biogenic substances.  


eutro5.jpg eutro3.jpgeutro4.jpg


Is that true that DEUM traditionally organizes camps at St. John Day?
zolininke.jpgCamps that coincide with the St. John Day celebration are usually organized for skilled pupils (prize winners in Olympiads, contests etc.). Summer period camping is our gift for them. We always honor those who were active in Nature study and research all year long, and St. John Feast is our common celebration that concludes the results of camping.
Later a group from Visaginas, the town situated in 6 km from the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, attends DEUM camp. We regret to miss this group only in 2005. Groups from other towns of Lithuania come to DEUM all year round. For example, in April 2005 ecologists from Utena club "Viola" visited DEUM. By the word, Spring is also a very interesting time to come to DEUM. Generally, we try to organize events in time that suits the best for our guests.