Introduction to Finnish Practices in Green Care
PetrSU representatives joined the Karelian delegation and visited the city of Iisalmi (Finland) to learn about the practical use and research done in the area of canis and equine therapy within the Green Care program implemented in the country.
The Karelian team of scientists and practitioners included experts in Green Care: the Associate Professor of the Institute of Biology, Ecology and Agricultural Technologies Valeria Sirotinina, Professor of the Institute of Medicine Liudmila Gerasimova-Meigal, the 4th year students of the program Zootechnics Serafima Mikhailova, psychologist of the Center for Social Work and Canis Therapy of the city of Petrozavodsk Daria Amosova, lawyer of the City Children Hospital Anna Fomenko.
The visit took place in the framework of the cooperation between Petrozavodsk State University and Savonia University of Applied Sciences. The collaboration of the Institute of Ecology, Biology and Agricultural Technologies with the Finnish university in the area of Green Care has been underway for three years.
“These years have been fruitful for both partners: international seminars, interdisciplinary intensive course, students and teachers working in international teams, academic exchange programs. Karelia already has equine therapists, yet there is no official center yet. For this reason, one of the goals of the visit was to learn about the practical and academic activities of equine therapy centers in Finland”, said Valeria Sirotinina.
During the tour, the Karelian delegation visited three facilities of social and rehabilitation canis and equine therapy. There they saw the methods and possibilities of canis therapy, equipment, and gear used in class, learned how dogs are selected and trained for this social and rehabilitation work.
In Finland, other European countries, and America dogs are put to good use not only in work with children with health limitations but also in work with adults suffering from addictions, sociopathy.
The organizer of the Green Care project in the Kainuu region told about cooperation with the local hospital. The guests took part in a class in equine therapy and social adaptation on the premises of Nature Welfare Center Hippoteraphy and Dogteraphy.
“A new stage of cooperation is studying the effect of rehabilitation canis therapy on children and adults carried out on the premises of the center. Besides, we plan to study dogs, namely their behavior and physiological parameters, to develop an optimal approach to their work. The research will be carried out by PetrSU scientists in cooperation with the Open Hearts center for social work and canis therapy”, said Valeria Sirotinina.
By the results of the visit, the partners have agreed to further develop the cooperation between the Institute of Biology, Ecology and Agricultural Technologies, Institute of Medicine of PetrSU and Savonia University of Applied Sciences, and the Nature Welfare Center Hipoteraphy and Dogteraphy. There is a draft of an agreement between PetrSU and the Open Hearts center for social work and canis therapy on cooperation in the area of education and research. The partners have also outlined a plan for research.