Plant Collecting Expeditions in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union Sponsored by Seed Savers International


1) Bukovina Region of northern Romania-joint 15-day collecting expedition (September 9-25, 1993) by Helga Rosso, a Romanian plant collector and technician on Gatersleben’s staff, and scientists from the Romanian gencbank in Suceava. The expedition collected in an area of the Carpathian Mountains of northern Romania on the Ukraine-Romanian border.

2) Southern Poland – three 10-day collecting expeditions to genetically rich areas in the Carpathian mountains of southern Poland. Dr. Teresa Kotlinska – plant collector and head of the Institute of Vegetable Crops in Skierniewice, Poland- completed these missions by herself during September and October of 1993.

3) Azerbaijan – Kent Whealy worked directly with Elchin Atababayev from the Institute of Plant Science in Baku, Azerbaijan. Seeds collected throughout Azerbaijan by Elchin (and his father) during the summer and fall of 1993 were delivered to Kent Whealy by Elchin during a joint trip to Gatersleben with Nancy Arrowsmith during the winter of 1994.


4) Maramures Region and the Muntii Apusenti mountains of northwestern Romania – 21-day expedition during September 1994 involving Dr. Klaus Pistrik from Gatersleben and Dr. Nicholai Fressen from the Botanical Garden in Novosibirsk, Russia (Siberia). This was an extremely successful expedition that collected 309 accessions. Klaus said it was like walking back into the 15th century – fields full of people all working by hand, all draft supplied by either horses or water buffalos, and everyone walking around in home-made hemp and linen clothes.

5) Linosa and Pantelleria – 14-day expedition to remote, relatively untouched agricultural islands of Linosa and Pantelleria located southwest of Sicily (between Sicily and Tunisia). The expedition was in November 1994, headed by Dr. Karl Hammer, Director of Gatersleben, joined by Italian scientists from the seed bank in Bari, Italy, who paid their own way. Those seeds were entered into the seed bank in Bari, and duplicate samples were sent to Gatersleben.


6) Hissar Mountains in the Republic of Uzbekistan – In 1995 Dr. Pistrik (Gatersleben) and Dr. Freesen (Botanical Garden in Novosibirsk) successfully completed a 26-day expedition to 39 mountain villages in a forgotten agricultural valley in the Hissar Mountains along the Tupalang River in southeast Uzbekistan. This area is so remote that they had to be taken in by helicopter.

7) Southern Sardinia – Gatersleben expedition by Dr. Thomas Gladis in November of 1995 that collected throughout the southern half of Sardinia. This was the second of two expeditions to the island of Sardinia (the first expedition in 1993 – not sponsored by SSE- collected throughout the northern half of Sardinia).

8) Volga River and Krasnoyarsk Territory-A short expedition by scientists from the Vavilov Institute to areas along the Volga River and Krasnoyarsk Territory, located directly south of Moscow, mainly going after melons and watermelons.


9) Republic of Uzbekistan – 35-day mission from Tashkent to the region south of the Aral Sea. Vavilov Institute (St. Petersburg) collecting team included: Dr. Vladimir Chapurin, Dept. of Forage Crops at the Vavilov Institute; Dr. Karim Baimetov, Head of Laboratory for Fruits, Berries and grapes at the Uzbek Research Institute; and Dr. Alexei Pimakhov, Head of Vegetables Cucurbits and Potatoes at the Uzbek Research Institute. Their expedition started in Tashkent and traveled westward across southern Uzbekistan (collecting in harvest markets in every oasis along the way), followed by extensive collecting throughout the area just south of the Aral Sea, then returning along a remote northern route (again, collecting in each oasis).

10) Republic of Kazakhstan-52-day expedition (June 9 -July 30, 1996) headed by Dr. N. I. Dzyubenko of the Vavilov Institute. The expedition followed a northern route to an “ecological disaster area” north of the Aral Sea. Plant collecting was done throughout the basins of the Amu Darya River and the Syr Darya River in the provinces of Kzyl-Orda, Aktyubinsk and western Chirnkent.

11) Western Ukraine-Joint Russian-Ukrainian collecting expedition headed by Dr. N. I. Dzyubenko of the Vavilov Institute. The 45-day expedition (July 20 – September 5, 1997) followed a southern route to the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine. The expedition included the basins of the Dnieper and Southern Bug Rivers, the Crimean peninsula and the Republic of Moldova.

12) Altai Territory-36-day expedition (July 27 -August 31, 1997) headed by Prof. V. Burenin of the Vavilov Institute. The expedition covered the entire width of the Altai Territory in southwestern Siberia, and just barely got into the northwestern comer of Mongolia. Areas of special interest included along the Ka tun River and in the regions of Biisk, Chemalsk , Rubtsovsk and Zarinsk.

Kent Whealy in Moscow
Kent Whealy in Moscow
More Writing by Kent Whealy

The Bean Men

April 7, 1981

1981 Harvest Tucson Intro

April 7, 1981

Fall Harvest Introduction

October 1, 1981

Whatever Happened to the Vegetable Variety Inventory? or The “Apple” of my Bloodshot Eye

October 1, 1981

Seed Savers Exchange Grant Proposal

October 3, 1981

1981 Harvest Tucson

October 7, 1981

Introduction to The Garden Seed Inventory

October 1, 1984

Harvest Campout Introduction 1985

July 22, 1985

Keynote Speech at Common Ground County Fair

September 21, 1985

The Preservation Garden

October 5, 1985

Seed Conference Speech

October 6, 1985

Closing from the Intro to the 1986 Winter Yearbook

February 11, 1986

1986 Speech to the NPGRB Fort Collins

October 9, 1986

Heritage Farm Excerpts

October 16, 1986

1986 Harvest Introduction

November 11, 1986

1987 Harvest Introduction

October 20, 1987

Heritage Farm – an Exemplary Model

November 8, 1987

1988 Campout Speech

July 28, 1988

A Letter to SSE’s Members

April 11, 1989

Caretakers of Wonder

July 25, 1989

Giraffe Hero Award Given to Kent and Diane Whealy

October 13, 1989

Rescuing Traditional Food Crops in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

July 29, 1993

Exploration and Collection of Vegetable, Forage and Other Crop Seeds in the Ukraine

September 26, 1996

Plant Collecting Expeditions in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union Sponsored by Seed Savers International

January 14, 1997

Lettuce Growout at Heritage Farm

June 26, 1997

Comparative Growouts, and Identifying the True Heirlooms in Heritage Farm’s Collections

July 26, 1997

The Documenting of Heritage Apples

September 26, 2010

The Story of How Seed Savers Exchange Seeds Ended up at Svalbard

September 26, 2010

The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada – Preface by Kent Whealy

September 16, 2016

Early Inspiration – 5 stories, drafts, 2017

March 16, 2017
More documents will be added as available...