The Luga River Festival

The Luga River Festival gathered together more than 120 people. It was held on May 21 in the town of Kingisepp. Students and teachers, environmentalists, scientists in different disciplines, organizations, authorities, media and NGOs were the guests of the Luga River Festival, which was dedicated to the Year of Ecology in Russia.

The River Festival is a holiday that has a long history. It is held every year on different rivers. The River Festival is not only a feast for all who love and appreciate their river, but it is also a way to draw an attention to the problems of water objects of the Leningrad region and St. Petersburg and to the opportunity to improve people’s health by joint efforts. In different years the Festival was held on such rivers as Strelka, Kikenka, Izhora, Ivanovka, Slavyanka, Black, Karasta, Zhdanivka, Kamenka, Ropsha..

This year is the Year of the Ecology in Russia. Therefore the Luga River was chosen to be the venue of the festival as one of the largest rivers of the Leningrad region. This is the river with an extensive catchment, including 97 percent of small rivers, and the only river of the Leningrad region where reproduction of wild salmon still exists.

The organizers of this bright environmental action were the "Center of creative development" in Kingisepp, the public environmental organization "Friends of the Baltic", Center of development of additional education "Ladoga", municipality "Kingisepp municipal district", "Ekoсentrum" with the assistance of the interregional public network "Rivers monitoring". The event was organized within the framework of the Year of Ecology in Russia, the international program of Coalition Clean Baltic "Observation of rivers" and the Barents-Baltic Program "Nature and Man".

The participants of the Festival were divided into teams to pass informational/educational stations of eco-marathon organized in different areas:
• Ethnography station, where the children were able to obtain historical information about the town of Kingisepp and the river area;
• Ethnic station about the native people’s life at the mouth of the Luga;
• Geological station dedicated to the study of geological structure of the river, fossils and minerals in the river basin;
• Play-station, where a lot of interesting questions were formulated in form of riddles and proverbs about water, the river, the shores and their inhabitants;
• Station Scrabble - informative issues in the field of biology and ecology of aquatic ecosystems;
• Station Hydrobiology - definition of water quality in the reservoir by a set of invertebrate species that inhabit there;
• Hydrochemistry - the determination of water quality with the help of reagents, particularly: determination of acidity/alkalinity of water, nitrate, ammonium ion, stiffness; water samples were brought by participants from different areas of the Leningrad region;
• Station "save the salmon" was dedicated to the inhabitants of the Baltic sea (sea and freshwater fishes), and especially the salmon that annually swim upstream of the Luga river to spawn;
• Station "How to help the river" - introduction to the problem of water contamination with phosphates, the problem of garbage and maintenance of the micro-plastic in natural waters. Also there were given a lot of advices on a reasonable consumption, which will help to reduce negative impacts on water bodies.
• Station "the River and the climate" - the participants learn about the implications for rivers from climate change and decide how to adapt to these changes and to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change;
• Birds of our region – the station that introduces the participants to the birds of the Gulf of Finland in the form of a game.

During the Festival, the organizers talked with local residents on the streets, fishermen on the shore and locals who are concerned about changes in the condition of the river. Some sections of the river became shallow, but seasonal floods became larger and more frequent. The amount of fish in the river significantly decreased. However according to experts, if people reduce the negative load on the river to eliminate the sources of pollution from sewage and agricultural facilities, this alive and strong river may restore its potential. The river has a future.

The River Festival was a memorable event, which helped all participants and residents to learn more about the river and to think about its significance in people's lifes. This day has united scientists, representatives of authorities, public educational institutions in the common desire to cooperate in solving problems of the river and prepare young people for future action.

Yandex citirovania