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Our City is Our Home
Funded by Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood Programme 2001-2006

Objective of the project

The aim of the project is increasing the environmental knowledge of young people, find new ideas for a pupil-based design of and influence on school environments and cross-border cooperation amongst the young. The aim was also that the pupils on both sides of the border would participate in the design and implementation work of their school yard, thus having an opportunity to participate in the development of their own environment of activities. The renovated school environment of the Sortavala School No.1 would set an example for the Republic of Karelia as a whole.

Main activities

• to increase the environmental knowledge of young people • to design and implement work of school yards • to renovate school environment of the Sortavala School No.1


The school pupils' environmental attitudes were surveyed with a two-stage questionnaire. The schools were assigned their own influence groups by young people, who organised environmental activities in their respective schools. Environmental education and participation training was also organised for the young on a pass-or-fail basis in various school subjects. Environmental seminars were organised for teachers, where specialists provided advice on how environment issues can be discussed in connection with various subjects. The environment centre gave lectures to young people about environmental education in Russia. Some Russian young people started as a hobby to do research with the guidance of the specialists of the environment centre, and one youth was awarded for youth research work on the curly birches of Sortavala. The participants of the schools' influence groups attended four joint educational Finnish and Russian environment camps. In one of the camps, the results of the attitude surveys were presented to the pupils. The camps were natural meeting places for Finnish and Russian young people and good opportunities to share experiences and to get to know the neighbouring culture. The camps, training and events supported the young people's concepts about themselves as part of the nature and society and the creation of positive emotional bonds and respect with their own living environment and life on earth, as well as the young people's knowledge about environmental problems and their background, and the learning of more environmentally responsible and sustainable action models. The second part of the project was the improvement of young people's enjoyment of the school environment. In Finland, the pupils can have a say about the design of their school yards. The pupils in Russia also participated in the renovation of their school yards and neighbourhoods. In addition to the school yard, a park and a beach were renovated, a stone park and a summer theatre were built; school activities were increased by constructing a basket ball, volley ball and tennis court, by repairing and supplying a workshop and by building a gym with washing facilities. In the summer 2007, 30 young people worked in the park and were paid wages by the Sortavala employment agency. Based on a park vegetation survey, the plant life of the park was restored to that of the 1950s, and 77 varieties of the 78 plants in those days still exist in the park. The pupils did the planting mainly by themselves, with the guidance of the teachers, and also actively participated in other maintenance work in the environment. All the planned equipment has been acquired for the park, including a fountain, lighting, benches etc. Their installation has been delayed due to a delay in the design work of the infrastructural system. The school has agreed with the City of Sortavala on the maintenance of electricity, water and plumbing systems, as well as the cleaning of the park after the end of the project. A documentary was made about the activities of the project.

Basic information


Our City is Our Home


2006-03-01 - 2007-12-31

Total Budget / Programme funding

44 498 € / 31 149 €

Lead partner

Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, the North Karelian Department
Lead partner web-site


The City of Sortavala
Sortavala School No.1
Regional Children's Environment Centre of North Ladoga
Sortavala Institute of Sports
North Ladoga Regional Museum
Antropenkova Children Ecological Biological Centre