Community and nature

On the territory of Miory District there is the largest in Belarus and one of the largest in Europe lake and bog complexes - Yelnya Swamp. It is valuable because it is a monument of the distant ice age and the oldest natural object in Belarus. Since the human impact was minimal, unique plant and animal species have been preserved here, as well as large peat deposits have been formed. High natural significance of this object on the international level is also noted. Yelnya has the status of Ramsar site, is a key ornithological and botanical area of international importance.




It was once one of the largest cranberries in Europe. Annually, the possible volume of cranberry harvest is estimated by scientists at several million dollars. The plants were damaged during fires in the 2000s, but the plantations of this crop are gradually recovering. With proper positioning and promotion, Landscape Reserve "Yelnya" is able to become a center of international ecological and scientific tourism.




For hundreds of years, Yelnya Swamp has been the "breadwinner" for the local people. By stocks of cranberries, the upland swamp Yelnya is the first in the Republic of Belarus. Visitors pick up berries, and many locals the preparation of cranberries is the main source of replenishment of the family budget. There are also many swampy lakes on the territory of Yelnya, where you can swim and fish. But thoughtless human attitude and deliberate harm makes Yelnya a garbage dump.


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Unfortunately, irresponsible fishermen, berrypickers and tourists leave garbage all over the swamp: plastic bottles, homemade harvesters, glass bottles (cause of swamp fires), remnants of clothes and various household garbage. Every year more and more tourists visit the Ozeravki-Yelnia eco-trail. The wooden decking is gradually wearing out and needs to be repaired in time to ensure that tourists are safe and comfortable at this popular attraction.


In recent years, there have been many different volunteer garbage collection companies, but so far this problem in Yelnya swamp is very relevant.




Thus, five volunteer camps were held in 2019-2021 within the framework of the project "Together for Community and Nature: Strengthening of Development Process in Miory District through Partnership of Authorities and Civil Society":


August 15-19, 2019: field camp for the dam repair. Over the course of five days, the volunteers repaired 6 dams built to restore the hydrological regime of the swamp.


September 7-8, 2019: volunteer camp for garbage collection in Yelnya Swamp. Thanks to the work of volunteers, 35 garbage bags and a heat of scrap metal were collected on the Half Island "Kapets", 4 garbage bags on the "Black Pier", 8 garbage bags on the southern side of Yelnya and 3 garbage bags on the way to the locations. In total, 50 garbage bags were collected.


October 19-20, 2019: underwater cleaning of the lake "Blizhneye" with divers. Divers were looking for garbage under water, the rest of the participants went around the lake, cleaned up several fishing sites, which were lying spinning in the moss household garbage. In total, they have collected 7 garbage bags.


September 11-19, 2020: a volunteer camp to repair dams. 38 volunteers repaired 12 dams on Yelnia to keep the swamp from drying up.


from the 28th of July to the 1st of August, 2021 - a volunteer camp for the repair of the Ozieravki-Yelnia eco-trail. 18 volunteers helped to repair the damaged and traumatizing sections of the nature trail, making it more comfortable and safe for tourists.