Keret’ is considered to be one of the oldest settlements in Karelia. It was founded in the end of the 15th century. Solovetsky Monastery built here an ostrog (fortress), which was used to protect this territory. In 1830-s the settlement consisted of 300 yards. Famous Pomors family – Savins from Keret’ were mentioned in notes of Finnish folklore specialist in the beginning of the 19th century. Since 1860-s Savins bought fish next to Murmansk and transferred it in Saint Petersburg every year. Several times brothers Savin went to Norway for trade purposes.
In the second half of the 19th century saw-milling and logging was developed in the North of Karelia. There was a great need in lumber in Russia that time because of developing industry. Wood reserves were reducing in south Karelia. Merchants Savins were first to develop wood reserves in north Karelia. Thus the sawmill appeared in Keret’ in 1879. It was located on the territory of the settlement and on the islands next to it.
At the same time the science was actively developed in Russia. It required opportunities to conduct researches in nature. In 1864 Society of Devotees of Natural Science, Anthropology and Ethnography was founded in Moscow. As a result of the great interest to natural science in 1860s Societies of Natural Scientists were also founded at others universities around Russia. Petersburg Society of Naturalists was founded in 1868 by Karl F. Kessler. Next year, the Society organized the expedition to Murmansk and White Sea coasts. Numerous subsequent expeditions resulted in a foundation of Solovetsky Biological Station at Saint Petersburg Society of Naturalists in 1882. The station was founded with assistance of Solovetsky Monastery and professor Nikolay P. Vagners active participation. It became one of the first marine scientific stations in Russia.
Scientific traditions were preserved in spite of hard and tragic events of the 20th century: many Russian biological stations abroad were lost, active development of science was forgotten for many decades. The biological science and education started to develop after the Second World War on the preserved stations in Murmansk, on Solovetsky Islands and on the White Sea. But there were not enough space even for the staff, not to mention the students. Field practices for students were impossible in those conditions. Leningrad University, like the others, tried to solve that problem, which was important for field faculties.
In 1969 Keret’ sawmill №10 was closed because its further development was not perspective. Workers and other population moved to settlements in the neighborhood. In August 1970 members of commission of Leningrad University (Boris R. Vasiliev, Archill K. Dondua, V.G. Shevchenko) on ‘Onega’ ship were looking for a right place in Chupa Bay to found a Marine biological station. Sredniy Island had a well-developed infrastructure of a sawmill, which was still in a good condition, and was located next to White sea Biological Station of Russian Academy of science Kartesh.
So the commission chose it. Professor Alexey A. Zavarzin was one of the first to come to White sea. He prepared a Zoological practice for students of Histology Department not far from Chkalovskiy settlement. Hard household conditions on the temporary base and lack of place to host more students influenced on a decision to organize an independent station, which was officially made in February 1975 by rector Gleb I. Makarov.
The first practice programs were prepared in winter 1974-1975 under the direction of the dean of Biological Faculty Alexey S. Malchevskiy and the director of Biological Research Institute Vladimir S. Ipatov. In the summer 1975 the first students came to the island.