The Wolf Ambassadors of the Finnish Nature League - Luonto-Liitto won the Biodiversity Award 2015-2016 of the IUCN National Committee of Finland. The Wolf Ambassadors were awarded on 7 February 2017 in Helsinki.
Together with other countries in the world, Finland is committed to halt the loss of natural diversity by 2020. The Biodiversity Award was created to find innovative solutions that help reach the national and international goal.
The Wolf Ambassador work of dispelling the fear of wolves is directed at children and youngsters. The ambassadors disseminate science-based information of wolves and other large carnivores: on the ecology of large carnivores and their behaviour as part of ecosystems and their relation to human being. When visiting schools in every part of Finland, the Wolf Ambassador have reached a large number of children and youngsters.
“The raising of the awareness of the young will help influence the attitudes towards large carnivores and ease science-based dialogue among different groups of citizens. Cooperation has also been made with several environmental and animal organisations. The Wolf Ambassador are known to have alleviated unnecessary fear of wolves. The work of the Wolf Ambassadors takes also courage”, says Dr Matti Nummelin, Chair of IUCN National Committee of Finland.
The Biodiversity Award was now given the sixth time. Two years ago the winner of the competition was the shoveling of snow, done by volunteers, to help build artificial nests for the Saimaa Ringed Seal. This time the National Committee of Finland wanted to find a biodiversity act that, through volunteer work or otherwise, had involved children, youngsters, senior citizens, unemployed or immigrants and helped them understand the importance of endangered species and habitats, and thus helped conserve Finnish nature. A total of twenty-two fine candidates were proposed. The Biodiversity Award is one of the events of the Nature Days 2017 Project of Finland’s Centenary Programme.
The jury of the competition, the IUCN National Committee of Finland, also wanted to award three equal finalists: the environmental education group of the environmental protection society of Hyvinkää, the scout group Pornaisten Solmu and a society managing streams (Virtavesien hoitoyhditys ry).
International Union for Conservation of Nature is the oldest and largest environmental organisation and network in the world. The Finnish IUCN member organisations include the Finnish Government (represented by the Ministry of the Environment), the Finnish Association of Nature Conservation, WWF Finland, the Finnish Society for Nature and Environment (Natur och Miljö), BirdLife Finland, the Finnish Wildlife Agency and the Helsinki Zoo. Next to these members, the IUCN National Committee of Finland also includes the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Environment Institute and Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland. A total of some 70 Finns volunteer in IUCN Commission work.
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