Alexander S. Kolosovich
Life is all about gaining different perspectives. I am always curious about different viewpoints and I always try to understand why two people can look at the same thing and reach different conclusions. It is my opinion that people with different worldviews need to communicate and create an open dialogue to solve the world’s environmental problems. We only have one planet and we need to learn to share it with everyone, even people we may not agree with.
I grew up in Palo Alto, CA. My father was born in 1931 near the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine. He grew up in a slave labor camp in Nazi Germany and immigrated to the USA in 1949. My mother was born in Paris in 1943. She is the daughter of Russian immigrants and her father served in the White Army. My parents are both avid campers and I have been camping in the Santa Cruz Mountains since I was 6 months old. My father always told me that my love of nature was probably, at least partly, genetic because of the classic Russian love of nature. I was a Boy Scout until the age of 16. In my Boy Scout Troop we went on trips every two weeks. We went backpacking all over the Sierras. The many backpacking and camping trips that I did with my troop gave me a great appreciation of the beauty and serenity of nature. I am happiest when I feel like I am completely separated from civilization, miles away from the closest road. Today, I feel that it is not enough to appreciate nature. If you truly love nature you need to do something to protect it.
This past summer I was a participant in the Tahoe-Baikal Institute. As a group, we spent five weeks in Lake Tahoe and five weeks in Lake Baikal. During the Lake Tahoe portion of the program I helped the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada develop a management plan for eurasian watermilfoil. In Lake Baikal I spent two weeks working on a geo-botanical project In Zabaikalsk National Park. I was very interested in learning about the scientific methods that they employ in Russia.
My travels have been extensive. My Aunt and Uncle have lived abroad a great deal and they always share their insights and appreciations of different cultures with me. I grew up in a multicultural family. My immediate family is all Russian, but my Uncle (my father’s sister’s husband) only speaks English. He grew up in the Bay Area and he always brings a different perspective to the conversation. Whenever my parents have a dinner party they have people of all ethnicities sitting around the table, exchanging ideas. This is how I was raised and I feel that if more people could learn to gain an appreciation of other cultures the world would be a better place.
My Plans in Russia:
Upon my arrival in Russia I plan to begin a study which will quantify the effects of the invasive aquatic plant Elodea Canadensis on the food web dynamics on the near shore habitat of Lake Baikal.