I'm now in Ukraine as part of the National Geographic Young Explorers grant supporting my work on Camelina. I'm still settling in - and recovering from my jet lag, but I've had a chance to see some of the city and meet my collaborator and organizer, Sergei Mosyakin. I feel like I've already learned so much about this beautiful country and its rich history; it's hard to believe I've only just begun this journey.
The reconstruction of Ukraine's 11th century Golden Gates.
Inside the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Ukraine, I found this great exhibit of the work of Nikolai Vavilov, my hero. His work took him all over the world to collect and preserve wild progenitors of many of the world's crop plants. Despite meeting a tragic and early death, his work was impressive and his drive to understand plant diversity and improve crop production is truly inspirational.
The National Museum of the History of Ukraine. This large four-story museum extensively chronicles events and civilizations in the present day region of Ukraine, and boasts many interesting artifacts. My favorite exhibit was the history of currency in Ukraine, which sported ample examples of currencies used in the region throughout its history.
In the coming days I will meet with local scientists and botanists in Kiev, while also organizing several small field collection trips that I will embark on in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!