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Round table discussion on how school environmental studies can help St. Petersburg become the «green city» of the Baltic region.

Round table was organized by EBC «Krestovsky island», Friends of the Baltic and Expertise centre ECOM. During event more than 30 teachers together with experts discussed how the study of school children can help in the promotion of solutions for conservation and protection of natural areas and river valleys.

Alexander Karpov, director of «ECOM» told participants about the current situation in protected natural areas in St. Petersburg. «We don't know the city in which we live», - that is, according to the witness, the root cause of all problems arising in the planning of the urban area. Especially this «ignorance of the city» is reflected in the work of designers who work with abstract maps and do not see real natural areas behind them, in which they conduct the boundaries of new objects.

Friends of the Baltic NGO interviewed teachers to determine which natural areas school groups are working on. According to Olga Senova, head of Friends of the Baltic, students with teachers examine the condition of nature, not only in protected areas, but also for parks and green areas in the city and on the coast of the Gulf of Finland which haven’t got protective status. Participants of the program «river watch» conduct public monitoring of rivers and other water bodies of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region.

Currently in Saint-Petersburg are located 11 protected areas, which are popular for the schools’ environmental studies. But still a significant part of the protected areas remains uncovered. Research must be carried out not only on specially-protected areas, but also on any other green area of St. Petersburg, because some interesting things may appear in the most unexpected places. For example, a field with sludge sediment in the coastal zone of the Gulf of Finland, remaining from former South-West wastewater treatment plant, are now the place with the highest species diversity of birds, and probably the only habitat of large raptors in the city.

St. Petersburg can be de bene esse called « the greenest» city: all regions except the Central and Admiralteiskiy comply with the regulations on gardening. But in fact the park territories and other traditional green areas are deminishing. Many teachers have recently faced the problem that natural areas, which for many years were zones for school researches, now are enclosed by fences and are practically inaccessible.

The adoption of objective decisions on territorial planning requires additional information. From the words of Alexander Karpov, lack of data is the most acute problem in the proof of spin-off of new areas for protection. Now a top priority for the salvation of natural objects from the spontaneous development is the collection information about them. The destruction of species’ habitats which are in the Red book of the Russian Federation is criminal offence. Therefore, currently the only effective way to prevent the building of the territory is to provide evidence that there are red-listed species.

Schools and DDT have been acquired and continuously receive more data about the natural environment of the city, but there is no center, where they could send this data. Most of the audience voiced to the proposal to create the online resource for these purposes that would unite all researchers of nature in Saint-Petersburg. All agreed to share information through shared use of Google maps: data about the discovery of rare red-listed species with the date and GPS coordinates.

There is another resource that can help you learn how legitimate is construction of any territories http://www.rgis.spb.ru/. This is the official portal of the Committee on land resources and land management of St. Petersburg, where you can find the latest information on planned construction, border areas of natural heritage, apply for improper use of the territory, etc.

Participants of the round table are interested in further cooperation on the collection of information about natural territories of St. Petersburg. Until the end of may it is planned the organization of small training on the basis of EBC «Krestovsky island and on June 5, the Day of the environment, organization Friends of the Baltic in cooperation with the environmental Commission of the Russian geographical society conducts the training for schools about environmental research in nature.

The article partly used materials of A. Korolevoi http://rnei.ru/news/17-aprelya-2013g-v-ekologo-biologicheskom-centre-kre...

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