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Every year is Gulf of Finland Year!

Author:Tatiana Shauro
The coordinators of the Gulf of Finland Year 2014 from the Finnish Environment Institute and Friends of the Baltic held a roundtable discussion under the theme “Best Practices of Environmental Education – Gulf of Finland Year” as part of the XVI International Environmental Forum “Baltic Sea Day”. The participants shared their practices and ideas on different topics: sea and coastal area research methods, youth activities, the ways to give information to the public about the Baltic Sea environmental problems and about the solutions to them.

The roundtable gathered together institutions, schools, nonprofit organizations and government agencies from Finland, Estonia and Russia. The participants summed up the year 2014, a year that strengthened the trilateral cooperation in protecting the Gulf of Finland. During the year, there were held many national events, such as toloki and the Snow City in Tallinn, introducing the field guide in Helsinki, River Festival in Saint Petersburg etc.

Also many three-country events were organized during the Gulf of Finland year. In an international youth camp, kids from the three countries prepared the Youth Declaration, which contains the young activists’ suggestions on how to reduce pollution in the sea and on the coast, and how to make the gulf a pleasant living environment for its citizens. More information can be found HERE.

In August 2014, kids from the three countries learned about the nature values of three different islands in the Gulf of Finland: Aegna in Estonia, Harakka in Finland and Krestovsky in Russia.
After that, the kids gave their suggestions for the Gulf of Finland Year Youth Declaration.
More information can be found HERE.

The round table ended with work groups giving their suggestions for the final resolution of the forum. Participants were divided into three groups: research methods, youth activities, and informing the public. The groups suggested the following:

1) We suggest to establish a web page on the official Gulf of Finland website to serve as a common resource for downloading methodic material and as a database containing coastal research papers of schoolchildren, students and experts.

2) We ask that the educational centers, including non-profit organizations, will be used in informing the public (especially about the draft law concerning environmental education)

3) It is important, that the research results are reliable. The methods have to be simple but professional. We suggest drafting a list about uniform methods and a common, simple methodology that is applicable for everyone.

4) We think it necessary to share information through social media.

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