To the new academic year with projects and programs of the Ecocentrum and Friends of the Baltic


On September 18-19, a training seminar for teachers on projects and programs of the Ecocentrum and Friends of the Baltic on the topics of water quality, climate, energy, marine litter and microplastics, and a training on water research of the River Watch network was held in the village of Roshchino. The seminar was attended by 30 teachers and volunteers from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, as well as heads of environmental associations of Yugra (KhMAO) as part of an internship in St. Petersburg.

The first day of the seminar was entirely devoted to water research within the framework of the "River Watch" program. Heads of water projects of the Ecocentrum and Friends of the Baltic shared the results of the observers' work for the 2020-2021 academic year. In total, there are 209 research points on the map, and 110 observations were made on 85 water bodies over the past year. 50 active public groups of river observers took part in the work. Appeals to environmental agencies were written for three objects where rapid tests revealed excess. Currently, the work of the River Watch network is carried out within the framework of the Water Program in Belarus and Russia (Coalition's Clean Baltic), the project "Water Meets People - Learn, Act and Influence" (SEVIRA) of the Russia–Southeastern Finland cross-border cooperation program, as well as the project "Clean Springs – Clean Rivers – Healthy Baltic – Healthy People" (supported by the Presidential Grants Fund in 2020-21).

Alexander Esipenok, coordinator of the "Friends of the Baltic" water projects, spoke about the results of the work and plans for the near future of the SEVIRA project. This summer, a sociological survey of residents of the Sister River basin was completed and its results were presented at the seminar. The same survey, but for residents of the Seleznevka River basin, was held by Friends of the Baltic in 2019. The results of these studies will be included in a brochure with tips on living and farming on the coasts of rivers, which is planned to be published by the end of this year. We talked about the results of the media tour held in August of this year within the framework of the SEVIRA project in another article.

Ekaterina Ivanova, Candidate of Geographical Sciences, an employee of the Laboratory of Complex Problems of Limnology of the Institute of Limnology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, took part in the work of the first day of the seminar. She told about the studies of the washing of biogenic elements (nitrogen and phosphorus compounds) into water bodies conducted by the Institute. Pollution of natural waters by biogenic substances is one of the main causes of eutrophication and many subsequent problems. The Institute of Limnology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as the Ecocentrum, is one of the partners of the cross-border project "Water Meets People - Learn, Act and Influence" (SEVIRA) and partnerships in project activities allow us to expand and deepen joint work to achieve the goals of the project.

The participants were waiting for a training on water research for teachers, representatives of public organizations and volunteers. Experts from the Ecocentrum and Friends of the Baltic conducted it in the field, right on the nearby Roshchinsky Lake. The training included 4 stations: the study of soils and the relationship of soil and water resources; the use of test systems to detect ammonium ions, nitrites and nitrates in water bodies; the use of test systems to detect phosphates and determine acidity; the use of test systems to determine mineralization, the amount of dissolved oxygen, the percentage of oxygen saturation of water, temperature and water transparency. Observers of water bodies tried methods for determining various parameters of water quality and learned how to interpret the results obtained. At the end of the first day of the seminar, participants from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region had the opportunity to borrow rapid test kits for conducting their own research.

The second day of the seminar was devoted to the topic of energy conservation and energy efficiency, as well as the study of marine litter and microplastics. Friends of the Baltic invited teachers to participate in the competition "Energy and Habitat" of the all-russian SPARE project, and on November 11, the International Energy Saving Day will traditionally be held. One of the nominations of the competition is devoted to the development of the school's Climate Plan. The seminar participants were able not only to learn more about how and why Climate Plans can be developed, but also worked out possible solutions for energy-efficient modernization of buildings at the training. The school's Climate Plan is a school-wide project that includes both education of students on the topic of climate change, as well as the involvement of the school staff in joint activities for the greening of the entire school in the focus of energy and resource conservation and other climate-friendly solutions. The new manual "School Climate Plan" is designed to help in its development.

The seminar was completed by a block on microplastics and marine litter. During the presentation and testing of the manual "Know, feel, act! Stopping marine litter together" the participants got acquainted with the structure of the manual, sorted out which texts, games, techniques, tasks, forms of assessing the success of the lesson can be used in their lessons, how different blocks can be combined. The methodology of microplastics public research was also presented and actual topics of microplastics research for school projects were proposed.

This year, for the first time, the training seminar was held in an off-site format, thanks to this there was more time for practical activities, as well as for informal communication between participants. On the way to St. Petersburg, we visited the Lindulovskaya Grove Nature Reserve, where an excursion along the Larch Trail took place, learned historical facts about the planting of larch species in the Lindulovka River basin, the natural features of the territory, and also discussed the landscaping and accessibility of the ecological trail infrastructure.