Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd

St. Petersburg and Lahti have collaborated in environmental education for more than 10 years

Long-term collaboration between Lahti and St. Petersburg began in 2003 when the city of Lahti and St. Petersburg Vodokanal worked together in a project that enabled the founding of Youth Environmental Centre of St. Petersburg Vodokanal - Детский экологический центр - ДЭЦ. The Centre grew and its activity increased to an effect that it became the centerplace of environmental education in St. Petersburg. Activity has included both local and international collaboration. The Centre is located in the head office of St. Petersburg Vodokanal. (Link: http://www.vodokanal.spb.ru/en/shpalernaya_56/detskij_ekologicheskij_centr_dec/)

During the first years of the collaboration the Youth Department of Lahti organized once a year a youth group that cooperated with young people from St. Petersburg. In 2011 Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd and Vodokanal of St. Petersburg established The International Advanced Water Technologies Centre. One of the three spheres of activity of the centre is the “D-module” that focuses on the environmental education for the children and the youth.

”Now the module is ran by Youth Environmental Centre of St. Petersburg Vodokanal, LADEC, upper secondary schools in Lahti region and LUMA –centre of the University of Helsinki” tells Saija Tillgren, Project Leader at Ladec. “From 2011 to 2013 upper secondary school of Hollola was at the forefront of the project and from 2014 onwards Lahden lyseo (the Lyceum of Lahti). The international water system research course is on the common course selection of the upper secondary schools in Lahti region and it has become very popular among students. The course speaks to both Finnish and Russian members of the youth, because it offers diverse teaching, environmental education, practical research projects and cultural exchange that is important for the youth.”

In St. Petersburg the Youth Environmental Centre of St. Petersburg Vodokanal offers its activities to kindergartens and schools of the city free of charge. The methods of environmental education are highly advanced in St. Petersburg and they are adapted to suit children based on their age. In addition The International Advanced Water Technologies Centre offers the youth a chance to attend international projects.

”For example in St. Petersburg it is very challenging for the youth to get accepted to D-module. Among all the schools in the city 15 students are chosen based on their performance in a environmental-themed competition. The experiences of those who have been accepted in D-module have been very positive and at best have created lasting friendships between members of the youth from Lahti and St. Petersburg.”

The role and tasks of Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd in the realization of the international water system research course

LADEC is responsible for the international collaboration involved in the course that is on the common course selection of the upper secondary schools in Lahti. Two international student meetings are organized per year, one in Lahti and the other in St. Petersburg. The meetings last a few days and their programs are tightly packed with diverse content.

The program includes, among other things, water system research, lectures and interactive exercises. Cultural exchange and joint responsibility are also important contents of the meetings.

”It is very productive to work with young people who represent two different cultures. The members of the youth are authentic and collective meetings increase social cohesion and responsibility for the common environmental issues. The well-being of the Baltic Sea is important to both Finnish and Russian people and the ecology of Vesijärvi Lake is an interesting research topic for the youth”, closes Tillgren.

Saija Tillgren, Project Leader at LADEC.