In late May partners traveled to Kenozero National Park to attend the third Drifting Apart Partner Steering Group Meeting. We gathered in Moscow where we were met by our host, Alexandra Yakovleva, Director of Development, and traveled north by overnight train to the National Park. Partners worked through a packed agenda of meetings including networking sessions with aspiring Russian Geoparks.
Between meetings our hosts organised visits to sites of geological interest, local museums and demonstrated the work of the National Park which was established in 1991.
The park is covered by a blanket of semi-natural forest which is broken by the hundreds of lakes and the villages and towns which have grown on the shores, as well as, some areas of grass land. Almost as numerous as the lakes are the wooden Churches which have been maintained and restored by the National Park along with support from the local communities. The traditional wooden architecture reflects well the landscape and resources of the area while inside the colorful painted ceilings affirm the strong religious culture.
To the left a sculpture marks the Arctic-European Watershed, with a water pail on each side representing the different water bodies. The watershed is easy to see, in fact you can drive along it as it is an Esker, a raised riverbed which formed under a Glacier. This is a significant geological feature.
To the right you can see the painted roof of the Church of St. Nicholas. The National Park has many wooden Churches with elaborately painted icon ceilings.
The National Park, under the Directorship of Elena Shatkovskaya have worked hard to keep alive the traditions and crafts of the area. Local villagers have trained as tour guides and work together to pass on traditional dances, crafts, cooking and songs.
Our final group destination was the city of Arkhangel (Arkhangelsk) where the offices of the National Park are based. Here we continued our meetings before a partners began their journey home.
Luckily a national news channel was there to capture most of your time. Click here to watch.