PetrSU Students at Paanajarvi National Park
Geography students of the Department of Earth Sciences and Geotechnologies of PetrSU, Flagship University of the Republic of Karelia, took practical training at Paanajarvi National Park (the Loukhsky region of the Republic of Karelia).
The practical training aimed at studying physical, social and geographical characteristics of the studied area.
The students followed ecological trails to study the landforms, soil and vegetation cover, landscape characteristics of the territory. This year the students took the new trail Astervajoki that starts by the lakes Verkhnee and Nizhnee Neris and ends in the estuary of the Astervajoki River that flows into the Paanajarvi Lake. The ecological trail is made in the typical complexes of Fennoscandinavian taiga. Tectonic and glacial lakes, raised bogs, seismic dislocation, flood meadows, populations of lady’s slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) and lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria) are of interest for both general public and researchers. The traditional study trails (estuary of the Olanga River to asar ridges in the area of the lakes Yungojarvi, Siarkiajarvi and Pitkiajarvi, falls Kivakkakoski and Miantyukoski) gave an opportunity to study landscape and practice methods of component study of natural systems. In the Vartiolampi area the students learned about traditions of natural resource use of Northern Karelians while visiting the Karelian House museum.
In this field season the students under the guidance of the employees of the Department for Research and Ecology Education of the Park Anastasia Protasova, Yulia Nikolaevskaya and the university teachers Regina Antonova and Tatiana Vaga, carried out a true search work in the territory of the park. The study objects were the Paana and Rajala farmsteads of the former Finnish village of Paanajarvi located on the northern shore of the Paanajarvi Lake, a kilometer away from the estuary of the Mantujoki River. The Paanajarvi village numbered over a dozen farms and at the turn of the 20th century was the home to 450 people. It was one of the richest villages in the Kuusamo region and was famed for its steady economy as the villagers engaged in timber harvesting, wood processing and tourism.
Before the start of the study, the students visited the partially reconstructed Arola farmstead, which too is a part of the Paanajarvi village and is located in the eastern part of the eponymous lake. The Arola farmstead is a case in point of the development of Finnish peasant culture that piqued in the 30-s of the 20th century. The distinguishing characteristic of the farmstead was its complete autonomy as it provided everything needed for life. Fifteen buildings on the farmstead represented the full production chain: living house, cow shed with hayloft, stables, barn, granaries, cellar, rick yard, and sauna. Currently among the reconstructed buildings are the living house with traditional Finnish interior design, barn and sauna. The farmsteads were abandoned in 1944.
A comprehensive study of the former Paanajarvi village is one of the research areas pursued by the Paanajarvi and Oulanka (Finland) Parks. This summer the students made an attempt to draw a plan of the Rajala farmstead, one of the largest farmsteads that functioned as the village center. To this end they searched and took measures of the house foundations, stoves, studied layout of houses, saunas, cellar, barns, stables, determined roadways and traces of anthropogenic landscape. During the works the students discovered household items, furniture, a bicycle, household equipment, a sewing machine, etc. In soil pits they located traces of fire. In this way the students and teachers could “look into the historical past” of the territory, visually reconstruct the lifestyle and traditions of the Finns of Paanajarvi. All participants were impressed and moved by the history of this place, had long discussions, made hypotheses, drew conclusions. The program of the practical training in the park must include visits to former Finnish farmsteads, open air museums Arola and Vartiolampi.
“These regional studies in natural environment in Paanajarvi National Park introduce us to the culture and history of neighbouring peoples: Northern Karelians and Finns,” believe Regina Antonova and Tatiana Vaga.
The research started this season will be continued. The findings will be used in course papers, graduation theses and scientific publications of students.
PetrSU teachers and students express their gratitude to the employee of the park for the opportunity to take part in a real research.