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Growing trees, building a cordwood house, setting up a trail

World, Asia, Russian Federation, Sebezh


Travel dates

8°C, 01:35

About the workproject

We need 10 volunteers

We're a family of 3 people: Vladimir (38), Julia (31) and our son Yasen (3+). We live in an ecovillage, re-inhabiting 5 abandoned villages, of which almost nothing was left. Here we're building a new ecovillage named Chistoe Nebo (English "clear sky"). There's a lake near us (1 km), all surrounded by young forests, in 4 km is a national park.

We're mostly into permaculture and agroforestry. We have 4 ha of land where we have a tree nursery where we grow thousands of trees yearly, some we sell, some we plant in the nearby forests, replacing birch and alder with oaks and acers, mostly, trying to make it a broad-leaved forest. We also grow some vegetable to feed ourselves and our helpers. (But we're not a sustainable farm and we don't grow all our food — we mostly buy it, beacuse it saves us some time to work with the trees. We plan to become sustainable in the future, but we're not there yet.)

In 2018 we'll also be building a new hostel from cordwood, which would host our helpers next years, and setting up a new hiking trail around the nearby lake, which would be 13-15 km long. There's nothing of it yet, so we'll use axes and chainsaws to clean up the path, set up bridges over streams, and so on. Should be fun!

That's what we do and need help with. Planting trees, growing vegetables, cleaning up forests, etc. If that sounds interesting — welcome! We will let you know everything we know about growing trees, permaculture and (almost) autonomous living. Other options from our neighbors include animal care, construction sites, harvesting of herbs, mushrooms and wild berries.

CONDITIONS. We work 4 hours a day, after breakfast and before lunch. We have 3 vegetarian meals a day. Typically we have porridge for breakfast (buckwheat, cereals), some soup and fresh vegetables for lunch (depending on season) and some prepared vegetables, rice, paste etc for dinner. People with unusual diets (e.g., fruitarians or sun eating) buy additional ingredients with their own money.

ACCOMODATION. We have a camping site where our helpers stay. We have some spare tents and sleeping bags, but it's good to have your own. We provide access to hot shower in our house, a washing machine, clean drinking water, electricity, free WiFi. No smoking, no alcohol, and we are vegetarians (except the dog), so will be you for a while.

SCHEDULE. We accept helpers from mid April until late September. In May we mostly work with seeds, seedlings and plants, care for them and transplant them. When we're done, we'll go with the hostel and the trail, around June. Small breakfast at 8:00 am, the 2 hours of work, at 10:30 real breakfast, then 2 more hours of work, at 2:00 pm lunch and free time, at 7:00 pm shower, at 8:00 pm dinner. The schedule is flexible, we're happy to make it comfortable to our guests.

DIRECTIONS. We're 30 km away from Sebezh, a small town (~5000 inhabitants) in Pskov region, 25 km from Latvian border and 30 km from Belarusian border. You need to go to Sebezh, then take a taxi to Kovalevka village (call 079 from your mobile phone, a ride costs about 400 rubles). You can come to Sebezh by train from Moscow, St. Petersburg or Riga (Latvia), or by car. Many people are successfully hitch-hiking, even from abroad (e.g., Poland).

DISCLAIMER. Our ecovillage is young and it might be different from European ecovillages. We don't always wear ethnic clothes, sing and circle dance — not a hippy commune. We don't have one collective farm (or other deal) where all our village works — we're like a federation of independent ranches. We're don't grow our own food yet (not all of it) and we're far from sustainable (but we go there). Eco living in our understanding is not ban on plastic and gas, but giving back to nature more than we take from it. We're fine with electricity, wifi and cars.

About the host


Host since



English, Russian

Last seen online

6 Months ago

I'm a software engineer. 5 years ago me and my wife moved to a dead village in Pskov region, where we help building an ecovillage by re-inhabiting the area. We've chosen growing trees and enriching the ecosystem as our primary deal. We now run a small tree nursery which, we hope, will soon bring us enough money for living.

Project dates

Open for offers, contact us

Work to be done

  • gardening
  • construction
  • farming
  • maintenance tasks
  • tourist support
  • eco projects

Expected workhours

  • 4 hours a day
  • 6 days a week

Work exchange deal

  • tent

Electricity, wifi, shower, washing machine, kitchen. We have a boat, a lake near us, a national park in 4 km, two bikes, some games.

  • shared meals

We prepare lunch and dinner, volunteers prepare breakfast from offered ingredients. All meals are vegetarian.

  • no money is involved