Petersburg school students visit Finland

11.09.2015

In 7-10 September, Petersburg school students – winners in the project “Awareness-raising of the young through the activities of the International Advanced Water Technologies Centre” went on a study tour to Finnish Lahti.

During the project, the Petersburg school students attended classes at Vodokanal’s Youth Environmental Centre and thereafter conducted “Baltic interludes” at their schools. At the project final - the Videofilm Festival, the participants presented their video reports on the lessons given.

The children declared winners by the “adult” jury and the teams which had won the first and second places by the viewers’ vote went to Finland. These were students of Lyceum no. 179, Gymnasia nos. 284 and 397, and Schools nos. 304 and 564, - 15 people in total.

On the first day of the tour, the students visited a lyceum in Lahti where they met Finnish participants of the same project. An environmental lesson was given to all of them at the lyceum: A Finnish teacher told them how the Baltic Sea had been formed, and about the lake Vesijärvi, special features of its ecosystem and inherent problems. Vesijärvi is one of Finland’s biggest lakes connected with the Gulf of Finland by a system of canals. At the lesson, the young people discussed the problems of the lake (specifically, eutrophication) and geared themselves up to the research of this water body: chose appropriate methods and prepared special equipment.

The trip to Vesijärvi was on the next day. The young people from two countries set up a real field camp at the lakeside. The teenagers boated to the middle of the lake to make research. They measured the depth of the lake and water temperature near the surface, in and at the bottom. Moreover, they took samples of water, phytoplankton and zooplankton. The students made chemical tests of water in a field laboratory: checked pH and identified nutrients (phosphates and nitrates). The young researchers discovered that water was cleaner in the upper layer while phosphates were mainly found in the bottom layers.

The third day was dedicated to a visit to the biological department of the Helsinki University. The guests listened to the lecture on the eutrophication mechanism and on how the climate change affects the Baltic Sea, and tested the samples of phyto- and zooplankton taken from the lake Vesijärvi in the university laboratory. Diatomic, green and blue-green algae, larvae, leeches, mollusk caviar, etc. were found in the samples.

The study tour was finalized by a trip to Pirunpesä Nature Park. The visitors could take a look at a granite pass fault of glacial origin and watch the local vegetation (the most wide-spread was lichen) there.

The Finnish students will pay a return visit to Petersburg in November. The plan is to continue the project in the next year.

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