Not much to report on the Nature Day activities, it all went pretty much as expected. We made a short bike trip to a nearby laavu at Jäniskoski and good times were had for the few hours we spent there.

The weather on Saturday was a little on the gray side and only +5C (41F). But we made a fire for warmth and at least it wasn't raining or snowing. Eventually ten people made it for the "event", such as it was. Snacks included the very traditional Finnish sausages, plus sandwiches, chocolate, marshmallows, coffee, tea, and whatnot. A fun little picnic with great people and good surroundings.

Cooking sausages by the open fire

I realize I've mentioned "laavus" before, but haven't properly explained them. A laavu is a kind of lean-to shelter for hikers, fishermen, cyclists, cross-country skiers, and pretty much anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. They're completely free to use and in Finland we have something like 10000 of them scattered all around the country. Most often they are built next to rivers or lakes.

The majority of them are open-air (like below), while some are built into a full circle with a door you can close to ward off the elements. That one is called a "kota". Amenities usually include firewood, an axe for chopping it, and an outhouse toilet. They're maintained by the government, or in some cases a county, the boy scouts, a fishing association, or some other organization or group of volunteers.

So it's quite awesome to be able to rely on this network of lean-tos. Whenever I'm touring in Finland, I tend to use them for camping even though I have a tent with me. It's much easier and safer to make a fire in one, plus the bike and other gear stay dry even in a downpour.

Hanging out at the laavu

I suppose this concludes my very modest duties as a Finnish nature ambassador. There are two more Nature Days remaining, but the next one is on June 17th, and by then I'll be cycling somewhere in Norway. Although perhaps I should aim to be some kind of an ambassador for the entire world's nature on this trip? With the way things are going, it looks like natural resources could use all the protection and help they can get.