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Preserve the Nature of Gulf of Finland South Shore

On September 21, an Ecotrip took place along the Southern shore of the Gulf of Finland and meeting with local residents, dedicated to celebrating of European Green Belt Days – this year is a 30th anniversary of the European Green Belt international initiative.

European Green Belt is an international movement for the conservation of nature and sustainable development in the area of the former Iron Curtain. The Green Belt combines national parks, nature parks, biosphere reserves and transboundary protected areas, as well as unprotected valuable habitats at the borders of 24 countries and is one of the pan-European ecological networks. It is a symbol of cross-border cooperation and a common European natural and cultural heritage. The European Green Belt includes four regions: Fennoscandia, the Baltic, Central Europe and the Balkans.

The Baltic Green Belt is part of the Europe’s Green Belt, which runs along the Baltic shore of Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. This is an initiative to develop cooperation for the conservation of biological diversity in the Baltic coastal zone.

The European Green Belt Celebration Day as important event with the main aim to increase the public awareness and knowledge about the EGB Initiative and its vision as well as to improve cross-border exchange and cooperation. Ecotrip along the Southern shore of the Gulf of Finland shows the Russian area of Baltic Green Belt, as part of an initiative to develop cooperation for the conservation of biodiversity in the Baltic Sea coastal zone. Ecotrip participants – residents of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad region – teachers, students, activists of environmental organizations. The Ecotrip passed through clusters of the South Shore of the Neva Bay nature reserve as part of the Baltic Green Belt, and also showed potential territories for the development of coastal recreational zones. The excursion participants learned about European Green Belt Initiative and its mission, about Baltic Green Belt as part of it, they familiarized themselves with the history and nature of the Znamenka, Sobstvennaya Dacha and Kronstadt Colony clusters of nature reserve. These are especially valuable and preserved natural areas along the coast of the Neva Bay from Strelna to Lomonosov city, combined into one reserve since 2013. Coastal areas with reed and cane thickets are places of concentration of waterfowl and near-water birds in migratory sites. Small-leaved forests and meadow communities also grow in the reserve, sections of ancient parks with broad-leaved plantations are preserved.

In Lomonosov we visited the “Yantar” area artificially created by backfilling part of the Gulf of Finland water area on the site for the proposed but not completed construction of the port by “Yantar” company. The abandoned area of more than 4 hectares has no status. It is overgrown with trees and shrubs, has a clean sandy beach and is used by residents as a spontaneous recreational area. The possibilities of creating a recreational zone at the “Yantar” site were discussed with the residents of Lomonosov town. Marine spatial planners presented potential directions for the development of this recreation area, both local residents and Ecotrip participants supported the initiatives and made suggestions. Creation of the equipped beach, walking green zones for people of different age and opportunities of health, entertaining zones for children and youth – in wishes of inhabitants. Architects and designers are interested in the sustainable development of the site and local municipals support this idea.

Europian Green Belt is ecological network connecting high-value natural and cultural landscapes, whilst respecting the economic, social and cultural needs of local communities. Participants of the event learned that nature reserves on the South Shore of Gulf of Finland – is a small part of this network, it includes high-value natural and cultural landscapes. The Southern coast of the Gulf of Finland historically plays an important role for the local community, and now in the era of St. Petersburg becoming a huge megapolis, this part of nature is especially important to secure sustainable balanced development of the coast for future generations.

The Ecotrip is organized by Friends of the Baltic NGO, the Directorate of specially protected natural areas of St. Petersburg with the support of The European Green Belt Association, Coalition Clean Baltic and Ecocentrum Ltd.

Booklet about the event here (RUS).

Friends of the Baltic is a public environmental organization that originated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland in 1997. Friends of the Baltic NGO activity on the South shore of the Gulf of Finland dedicated to environmental education and joining people together for nature protection. Ecotrip was aimed to help people understand the common nature values, and feel our environment as a part of the bigger system, which is under protection of the EGB. All together we can save the poor ecosystems.

Yandex citirovania