Development of SPARE in Yaroslavl: from a warm house for geese to a mini-hydroelectric power station


Skiba I.V. - Head of the school agricultural biodynamic school, director of  Autonomous Nonprofit Organization  (ANO) "Legend of the Russian estate".

Petukhova T.B. - Physics teacher at secondary school Prechistoye, Yaroslavl region.

Skiba Vasilisa - a student of the 10th grade of the secondary school of the village Prechistoye, Yaroslavl region.

Text edited by  Bamidele Oni, Founder, Green Impact International



Six schools in the Pervomaisky District of the Yaroslavl Region are active participants in the events of the SPARE Program. The schools recently participated in the following programs, Energy Saving Day, the creation of School Climate Plans, competitions of school projects "Energy and Habitat", school summer camps with classes on climate and energy conservation, also, included was the program that centered on cooperation with local farmers and administrations which has  helped many families and entire settlements in our region to adopt "green" practices .


As all SPARE schools work together and exchange experience, during the course of the programs, participating students from the six schools in the Pervomaisky district worked together  to create energy-efficient greenhouses, energy-saving buildings, we also try to collect waste separately and hand it over for recycling. The program further helped the schools with the choice of abandoning the use disposable items and students from different grades conducted energy audits and made school climate plans.


Pervomaisky district began participating in the SPARE program five years ago. The children got their first acquaintance with the Program and literature on climate change, energy efficiency, conservation of resources in additional classes at the school agricultural biodynamic site. Sheep breeding is well developed in our region; therefore, the students work a lot with sheep wool waste in additional education classes. They learnt to create beautiful pictures from woolen fibers, make warm slippers, half-boots, medical belts. Also, when studying the stages of organic farming, the children learnt how to compost correctly from household and rural waste.


At the regional festival "SPARE - 2016", our schoolchildren conducted a brainstorming session and created several pilot projects for the SPARE competition. As it is very difficult to work on a project for the first time! Quite a number of things would have to be put into consideration and prepared for, one needs to come up with a theme, create a model, do the job, hold a photo session, and arrange the materials correctly. We were able to submit 12 new works to the regional competition of school projects "Energy and Habitat 2016-2017". With great enthusiasm, the district schools learnt that the project by Vasilisa Skiba "Geese, Sheep, SPARE" became a diploma winner (second place!) Of the All-Russian SPARE competition!


In 2017-2018, the Semenovskaya and Prechistenskaya schools of the Pervomaisky district and the school of additional education based on the ANO "Legend of the Russian estate" began to pay great attention to the development of modern directions of robotics, drones, quadcopters and their use in agriculture. Schoolchildren studied innovative technologies, made models, and used them in family gardening. As a result, 6 school projects were created, and a diploma of the Russian SPARE competition was received for the project "Drones in Biodynamics - Helping Farmers Conserve Energy and Climate!"

The Yaroslavl Region is located very close to Moscow. But many villages have been depopulated over the past 30 years. On farms and in abandoned villages, 1-3 families live. The Skiba family with many children took ownership of 120 hectares of land in the Yaroslavl region near the deserted village of Fominskoye, planning to create a successful ecological farm here. This area is located along the Ukhtoma River, and the power lines are far away. Therefore, the family of farmers decided to look for alternative sources of energy supply. SPARE books and materials helped to justify the possibility of building and using a family hydroelectric power station, avoiding environmental problems for our beautiful river. Vasilisa Skiba, a 9th grade student, decided to monitor the river, different types of mini-hydroelectric power plants, make detailed environmental and economic calculations in order to find out the profitability of this alternative energy from a local small river.


For the entire life of the family's farm, 95 MWh of electricity is needed per year. This includes the supply of power to the wood chip crusher, heating of the farm and farmhouses.

Taking into account the cost of electricity on average 3 rubles per 1 kWh, the family must pay 285,000 rubles per year. But this farm has the status of a legal entity, which means the cost of electricity for it is 9 rubles per 1 kWh. That is, the family must pay 855,360 rubles per year for the year. A family mini-hydroelectric power station will help you save almost a million rubles every year!

An analysis was made of the impact of modern mini-hydroelectric power plants on the nature of the Ukhtomka River, a suitable site for installation and the best option for a damless mini-hydroelectric power plant (Linev’s mini-hydroelectric power station) was selected for our needs and the structure of the river's water flow. Members of the entire large Skiba family plan to install Linev's mini-hydroelectric power station in the summer of 2020 with their own hands.

Calculations of reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere based on SPARE materials showed that this will help prevent about 20 thousand cubic meters of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere every year.

This project by Vasilisa Skiba became a diploma winner in the Energy and Habitat 2019-2020 competition; participated in the XVI All-Russian Children and Youth Environmental Assembly (2020). The full text of the project has been published in the collection "Ecology through the eyes of youth" (Nizhny Novgorod. Publishing house of NOOO KEC, 2020) and each family can use these materials and calculations to obtain an alternative source of energy.


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