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River Festival 2010 by River Ivanovka in St.Petersburg

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On May 14 18 school teams from St.Petersburg and leningrad region gathered at Ivanovka bank. Those were over 120 school kids who, under their teachers' supervision,study and protect rivers, streams, lakes and shores of the Baltic Sea. Friends of the Baltic hold this River Festival annually at a different river each year as part of the River Watch programme by the International Coalition Cleam Baltic.

The Festival helps the inhabitants of the shores of each respective host river to draw the attention to its value and vulnerability and the need to keep the river alive and beautuful. The festival facilitates the exchange of experience between school collectives that conduct environmental research activities.

Since 2005 Friends of the Baltic have held the Festival 6 times each time at a different river: Slavyanka, Chernaya, Kikenka and in the upper and lower stream of Strelka. It has always been co-organized by schools of St.Petersburg and Leningrad region.

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River Festival 2010 was hosted by school 252 with support of lyceums 389 and 395 by Ivanovka river that belongs to Dudergofka river basin. Part of the river now runs underneath the city blocks and under roads. Ivanovka is a typical example of an anthropogenically modified and polluted river, but the one that is still alive ans is able to be an enrichment for the city environment, being of significant importance both to local people and the living organisms that dwell in its waters and banks.

With every new festival the so-called River Ribbon becomes longer - it is made of equally sized pieces of fabric each of them representing a certain river. Now the Ribbon consists of 21 pieces.

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The main part of the Festival consisted of educational and research "stations", prepared by teachers, scientists and NGO specialists, members of Coalition Clean Baltic. Among the stations were: The River Cruise, Nature Charades, Nature has it All, Hydrochemistry (water quality), Hydrobiology (water creatures), Who Lives by the River, How to help a River, Map of our Rivers and Safety at the River. School teams worked at all the stations one at a time, learning about the inhabitants of the river and the shores of the Gulf of Finland, testing the water quality, learning about the environmentally friendly lifestyle that helps us protect our nature etc.

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As part of the Festival "The Living Baltic", an environmental exhibition was held and the teams presented their rivers in creative ways, through songs, poetry and mini dramas. At the end everybody sang the River Anthem, written by the kids of lyceum 389, and all the participants and organizers got diplomas and prizes from Coalition Clean Baltic.

The river itself received a prize at the festival in the form of "Helping the River" action - where the participants picked up the garbage from its banks. The action was held under the auspices of the environmental sector of Krasnoselsky district administration along with Clean City Association.

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