ENO participates in local, regional, national and international activities in engaging communities in sustainable development activities, including climate actions. Joensuu is a growing city, with several new residential areas being built. Karhunmäki is one these, with approximately 800 households in the area. The Climate Blocks -project, implemented by the city of Joensuu, is a project that encourages citizens but especially apartment buildings and residential areas to act to effect climate change. ENO and Climate Blocks partnered up in this project.

ENO facilitated the participation of the local school, pre-school, kindergartens and the community of Karhunmäki residential area in the planning and planting a small forest  park on a sound barrier between the main road and the suburb. We had workshops or other planning events with kindergartens (participants 1-6 year olds), preschools (6-7 year olds), primary school (7-12 year olds) and the community (1-70 year olds).

1-3 year olds drawing of forest park

1-3 year olds’ ideas for forest park

In the sessions with the kids we used drawing and playdough. The kids were asked to express their ideas of what should be in the forest park. The outcome was great, the kids had ideas such as:

  • play equipment
  • a sledding hill
  • firepit
  • trees
  • shrubs
  • community garden
  • butterfly field

Some of these ideas were not possible to realise due to caretaking issues and in the end, it was decided that the forest park would have several different tree species, butterfly field and a Gritbird outdoor workout station.   

Pre-schoolers ideas and wished for the forest park: trees, flowers, snowmen, butterflies and people

Pre-schoolers’ ideas and wished for the forest park: exercise equipment, swings, slides, trees and flowers

The actual planting of the forest park was postponed from May to September. Because of Covid, we had to make a strict schedule for the day, when the kids came to plant. In Finland, the schools were open in the autumn but the different groups in schools were to have 1-2 meters apart. With the amount of kids coming within a few hours window, we had Karelia University of Applied Sciences’ forestry students helping with digging the planting holes and instructing the planting.

All together the whole planning and execution involved:

  • 450 kids (1-12 year olds) and their teachers
  • approximately 50 community members
  • 19 Karelia UAS students

Karhunmäki forest park planting 22 September 2020.

The Karhunmäki forest park planting was a joint effort of Climate Blocks -project and ENO.

We had a fantastic time with the community during the planning and the planting!