The Koli Cultura tree park is now greener than ever as the Ilosaarirock Festival in Joensuu planted an area called the “Pop Forest” in the park to reflect the festival's extensive environmental actions. Every year, young birches are planted at the park, which was established in conjunction with the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve and destined for cultural activities. These trees will reflect important cultural and environmental achievements and sites which the Ilosaarirock Festival helps conserve on an annual basis. The first eight birch trees were planted at the Pop Forest’s opening ceremony on 19 May in honour of the rock festival's 40th anniversary and the Festival's environmental protection target for 2011, the great crested newt.
Pop Musicians to Cooperate with the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve
Although organising a rock festival is not an environmental action in itself, Ilosaarirock has promoted nature conservation for some time. Ilosaarirock uses renewable energy in its operations, monitors and reduces its emissions, purchases ethically and ecologically produced products, spreads information and encourages people to make environmentally sound choices, cleans the environment and cooperates with international partners to carry out research and develop environmental actions.
Ilosaarirock has also been looking to further develop environmental actions in conjunction with other operators. A suitable partner was found in the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve. The Biosphere Reserve, which also cooperates with the Koli Cultura project, was also looking for new operators for its network. The objectives of the Pop Forest were perfectly suited to the starting point of the Koli Cultura tree park, which aimed to include various cultural developers and nature conservation operators at Koli through small parks named after them.
“One cannot imagine a better nature conservation site than Koli. Koli Cultura has enabled the establishment of the Pop Forest, and UNESCO's biosphere reserve activities fuel the cooperation. The park reminds us of important nature conservation sites and promotes the sustainable development of the entire cultural sector. We hope that many different parties, large and small alike, will join the Pop Forest and take part in the environmental activities. This project goes far beyond the Ilosaarirock Festival, and it is a new way to involve the cultural sector in nature conservation — even on an international scale,” emphasises Petri Varis from the Popmuusikot ry association that organises the festival.
Ilosaarirock has reinforced its environmental actions by calculating its carbon footprint and by donating its greenhouse emission compensation funds to the protection of a new species every year. Both climate change control and the first protection target, the great crested newt, are supported by a joint action programme (Climate Change in Forests – Great Crested Newt as Top Model, METSO as Safety Network) for the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO), via the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
Nature is Dear to the Hearts of Young Rockers
According to Varis, rock and nature conservation go hand in hand. He says that many visitors to the Ilosaarirock Festival value nature and the environment.
“The Ilosaarirock Festival is organised at one of the world's most beautiful festival grounds. We want to preserve the beauty of the surroundings,” Varis explains.
Sirkka Hakalisto, who is in charge of the great crested newt project at the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, says that the funds received from the Ilosaarirock Festival are allocated for the protection of the great crested newt's habitat in the METSO joint network project. At the same time, the adverse effects of climate change on the great crested newt are prevented, and the goals of a national programme for preserving the diversity of forests are promoted by protecting the diversity of small forest waterways. Hakalisto regards the Ilosaarirock Festival as a new opportunity to involve young people in nature conservation.
“Now our top model for climate change, the great crested newt, has helped promote its core message—combating climate change and securing diversity for the public,” Hakalisto says.
Visitors to the Ilosaarirock Festival can read more on the new environmental actions on the festival's website. News on the Pop Forest is spread at the festival as well, and the rocking newt is also presented. The Ilosaarirock environmental actions will continue every year with a new protection target. Young trees will be planted in the Pop Forest in its honour.
Producer Petri Varis, Ilosaarirock / Popmuusikot ry, petri(at)ilosaarirock.fi, tel. +358 44 2936889
Sirkka Hakalisto, Head of Nature Conservation at the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, forename.surname(at)ely-keskus.fi, tel. +358 40 8275475
Timo J. Hokkanen, Coordinator at the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve, forename.surname(at)ely-keskus.fi, tel. +358 400 88 47 69
The Ilosaarirock Environment page, www.ilosaarirock.fi/2011/ymparisto.php
The Climate Change in Forests – Great Crested Newt as Top Model, METSO as Safety Network joint action programme of the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO), www.metsonpolku.fi/metso/www/fi/metsanomistajille/yhteistoimintaverkostot/rupilisko.php