UPM supports a school project called "Local waters". Originally launched in schools in the city of Rauma, the project will expand to other UPM mill locations in Finland in 2016. The project aims to improve grammar and encourage secondary school students to become more interested in natural sciences-particularly natural science related to water-by exploring the natural waters in the vicinity of the schools. In addition to UPM, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Raumanmeri Rotary Club and the organisation puhdasvesi.fi are also involved in the project.
Schools involved in the project will receive equipment needed for water studies. Pupils will solve water-related tasks using information from various school subjects, and the findings are transmitted digitally to teachers via smartphones.
The project is aimed at 5th and 7th graders. UPM will expand the project to other locations in Finland this year, particularly to Jämsä, Kuusankoski (Kouvola), Pietarsaari, Valkeakoski and Lappeenranta where UPM's mills are located.
"Water is one of the most important natural resources and an important raw material for UPM. The "Local waters" project combines UPM's sponsorship focus areas - learning and responsible water use - and we are very pleased to participate in a project that provides young pupils with an opportunity to learn about water and its importance to environmental wellbeing", says Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa, Vice President, Environment and Responsibility of UPM.
The experiences from the project in Rauma have been good. The project is part of the new curriculum from the Finnish National Board of Education in which environmental education and sustainable development are included in a number of different subjects.
"The school children here in Rauma have been excited to participate in the project. Good experiences and positive feedback have encouraged us to expand the project into other regions in Finland. UPM's involvement now makes this possible", says Raimo Vahanto from Raumanmeri Rotary Club.
The data collected by the pupils is compiled in nationwide registers managed by the Finnish Environment Institute.
"With this project, we get plenty of new material about the state of waterways that we can utilise at a national level. In addition, we are very glad that this project has been successful in making children more interested in the status of water bodies", says Juhani Kettunen, Programme Director from the Finnish Environment Institute.