To maintain nature the activity of the local community is needed. Projects like this are designed to help.

Teenaged volunteers clean the bottom of the river Kolosjoki near the Norwegian and Finnish border. Photograph: World Tree Camp

Dozens of teenagers from different regions of Russia clean the bottom of the river Kolosjoki, bordering Norway and Finland, for two weeks daily while learning about the environment at the World Tree Camp volunteer campus.

The campus noted that participation is an opportunity to experience northern nature and contribute to the improvement of the local ecology. To maintain nature and, in particular, the river, the activity of the local community is needed. And projects like this are designed to help.

“Local residents see our activity and may want to make their own useful contribution. After all, often people who make the place cleaner begin to treat nature differently and keep order and maintain cleanliness,” Anastasia Budenko, a volunteer at the camp told the local media in the Russian Murmansk region.

The Kolosjoki River flows in the Murmansk region of Russia and flows into Lake Kuotsjärvi. The river is 22 kilometers long.

World Tree Camp participants share their experiences in various fields in their free time. Some are artists experienced in different formats of art in an urban environment.

Cleaning the river is a way to experience northern nature and contribute to the improvement of the local ecology. Photograph: World Tree Camp

World Tree Camp participant Tatiana Vorobyova shares her experience with Tatiana Danilova on creating public art objects with children and how to create and integrate them into the city.

“I have participated in many architectural festivals. We have designed and built art objects in the Russian cities of Irkutsk and Kazan,” Tatiana Danilova said.

She also talked about art parks as a trend in tactical urbanism, when city residents can ennoble their urban environment themselves.

“In the village of Nikel (near the river Kolosjoki), there is no such thing yet, although there are small well-groomed front gardens with flowers and figures from car tires. But active local residents with the support of the administration can make beautiful art projects in the village,” Danilova said.

While the environmental volunteers aim to clean every inch of the river from household waste and plastic, they believe their mission is even greater.

“I would like the local residents to participate in this process. I can help and tell the local residents about the organization of the process. They can have a good time and clean the area at the same time. I think our task is not even to remove the garbage, but to show by example what can be done to improve the environment. We came to help and I want people to support it themselves, so that it would be better for them to live here,” Anastasia Resenkova, a volunteer told the local media in Murmansk.

The volunteers believe their mission is even greater than cleaning the river from waste: They want to lead by example. Photograph: World Tree Camp

Together with the financial donor of this environmental initiative, Norilsk Nickel, a recreation infrastructure is being built in the river valley.

“This project was planned back in 2020 but with the coronavirus pandemic we could not implement it, so we started this summer. The volunteer campus is the start of a project that aims to clean up our river and bring it into good condition. We did not expect so many people to express a desire to participate in the project. We see their interest and desire to invest in improving the environment, in cleaning up the river,” Andrey Fomenko, a local government representative told the local media.

In recent years, Norilsk Nickel has become increasingly active in supporting environmental projects in the region.

The main direction of the company’s environmental policy is the gradual reduction of emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere and wastewater discharges.