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Prof. dr. hab. Simona Gabriela Kossak(1943-2007)
Simona Kossak - biologist, scientist, nature protection activist & popularizer of the Bialowieza Forest knowledge. Dedicated to Białowieża since 1971; she lived together with a photographer Lech Wilczek in a famous forester's lodge "Dziedzinka". In years 2003 - 2007 she was a manager of the Natural Forest Unit of the Forest Research Institute in Bialowieza. She was born on 30 May 1943 in Cracow, in a well-known artistic family. She was a daughter of Jerzy, granddaughter of Wojciech and great-granddaughter of Juliusz Kossak and also a niece of Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska & Magdalena Samozwaniec. She studied at the Biology & Earth sciences department of Jagiellonian University(1965-1970), getting a Master of Science. In 1980 she got a doctor degree in the Forest Sciences, and 11 years later- a post-doctoral degree. In 2000 she received a professor degree in the Forest Sciences. After finishing studies on 1 February 1971 she started working in the PAN Mammal Research Center in Bialowieza. At first she was an assistant (1971-1974), and then a senior assistant (1974). In 1975 she moved to the Natural Forest Unit(at that time - the Nature Protection Center) of the Forestry Research Institute in Białowieża, where she was an assistant (1975-1980), assistant professor(1980-1993), associate professor (1993-1997) and since 1997 a professor. On 1 January 2003 she was appointed as a manager of the IBL Natural Forests Center in Bialowieza. In years 1992-1995 on her own she managed 1-person office MaB of the UNESCO GEF program, working for popularizing needs of the Bialowieza Forest bio-diversity protection. In 1995 using MaB funds she set up and made available to tourists so called 'The Force Place'(in dept. 495 of the Bialowieza Forest). Scientific activities of S. Kossak combined many contemporary nature research trends connected with nature protection. It is worth mentioning particularly works on behavioural ecology of game & protected mammals living in forest environment. Her creative achievements include altogether over 140 original scientific monographs, scientific articles for general public, unpublished scientific documentation and 4 books: "Stories of herbs & animals" (1995), "Wolf - a killer of farm animals?" (1998), "The Bialowieza Forest Saga" (2001) & "National Park in the Bialowieza Forest" (2006). She was famous for uncompromising views and actions towards nature. A particular recognition and popularity she gained in range of information, educational and didactic activities. From April 2001 on the Polish Radio Bialystok her tales entitled "Dlaczego w trawie piszczy"('Why we know what's going on') ( 1816 parts) were broadcast; they were also broadcast in other regional branches of PR. She was making also nature films, presented and often awarded at national & international film reviews("Motyle"(Butterflies"), "Opiekun"(Carer), "Życie żaby"(Frog's life), "Kamasutra"). Since 2002 she was holding Honourable Patronage over next editions of the Nature Festival "Żubrowisko" in Białowieża. She invented on a global scale a unique device which warns wild animals against riding trains. She was a member of American Society of Mammals, Polish Ecological Association and Scientific Council of the Forestry Research Institute. (from 1991). At the end of 2004 she became a chairman of the Scientific Council of the Bialowieza National Park. She also took part in works of the Social & Scientific Council LKP 'The Bialowieza Forest' during the first term. She was a member of the Provincal Committee of Nature Protection, Local Ethic Committee for Experiments on Animals in Bialystok(since 2000) and Advisory Team for Regional Operational Program of National Forest Policy. In 1999 she became the editor-in-chief of the Forestry Research Institute Publishings; she was also editor-in-chief of the magazines: "Prace IBL"(IBL works) & "Leśne Prace Badawcze"(Forest Research Works). In 2005 she was appointed as an editor-in-chief of the quarterly "Parki Narodowe i Rezerwaty Przyrody"(National Parks & Nature Reserves). From 2002 she was teaching ecology & eco-philosophy at the Non-local Department of Environment Management of the Bialystok Technical University. In recognition of her achievements in the field of science and popularization of nature protection she received a Gold Badge of 'Merits for Environment Protection & Water Management' in 1997, in 2000 - the Gold Cross of Merit and in 2003 - the Wiktor Godlewski's medal. In 2004 she got a statuette of the Radio Personality of the Year, granted by Radio Gdańsk. She died on 15 March 2007 in a research hospital in Bialystok. She was buried on 22 March at a parish cemetery in Porytem near Stawisk - a town, where her grandparents Wojciech Kossak and Maria Kisielnicka had got married.