Nature experience in dusky woods

Teksti: Pasi Huttunen Translation: Juho Suomalainen
Kuvat: Tero Pelkonen
Puijo conservation area is nationally a valuable natural area.

Lantern walk, already a tradition in Kuopio is scheduled September 20th. The walk starts from Pesäpallo Stadium at 7pm and walk proceeds through the old conservation area to Puijo tower.
According to Timo Perätie, an environmental planner working for the city of Kuopio, these walks have been held nearly every year since 2008 when the Puijo conservation area turned 80 years old. Perätie says that people have taken up these lantern walks well, adding that last year’s walk gathered nearly 200 participants.
‘It was truly incredible to see all those people with their lanterns walking in the dusky autumn woods.’

It would appear that people will be able to have these experiences in the coming years as well since Perätie sees the future of Puijo’s conservation area to be stable.
‘The management plan was written up ten years ago and is now being revised,’ he says.
Majority of the forest in the old, original conservation area is preserved as a park forest area, which may be subject to landscaping and nature management measures. Newer areas are preserved as old-growth forests. Originally, in 1928, the conservation area covered around 150 acres but now an area of 500 acres is conserved.
‘For instance, there’s a 60 year-old spruce forest area which we opened up with small clearcut areas. These clearcut areas can then be used for planting aspen trees. The number of broad-leaved trees in the Puijo area is very low due to these trees being used as firewood after the wars,’ Perätie notes.
Aspen trees provide plenty of living space for a wide range of organisms. Aspens are also important to flying squirrels, and a number of nest boxes for flying squirrels have been placed in the Puijo area.

Lantern walks, much like other activities and events of the city, are meant for everyone.
‘Lantern walk is a fantastic experience, and just last year we had a significant amount of international students as well,’ says Perätie.