Centenarian celebrates its nature
Nature’s significance for Finns has been visible in many ways during the centenary. Finland has gotten new nature reserves, and tens of thousands of spruces have been planted in Finland and around the world. Finland also became the first nation to fly a flag for nature.
Finns’ love for nature can be seen in the official Finland 100 programme. At the moment there are around 5,000 projects in the centenary programme, of which 20 percent concern nature. During its centenary, Finland has gotten a new national park, natural monuments, a solar plant, and funds for Baltic Sea protection, among other things.
Luontolahjani (My Nature Gift) project encourages land owners to set up private nature reserves in honour of Finland’s centenary. The Finnish government takes part in the campaign by protecting an equivalent surface of nature, to that set up by land owners. So far 1,186 hectares have been protected under the project. When adding up the government’s nature reserves quota, there will be 2,372 hectares of new nature reserves.
In honour of Finland’s centenary, the 40th national park of Finland was established in Hossa, in the municipalities of Suomussalmi, Kuusamo and Taivalkoski. The new national park covers around 11,000 hectares. The majority of the park is situated in Suomussalmi, which played a major role in the history of Finland’s independence. The opening ceremony of Hossa was held on 17 June.
Fiskars Group, one of the official centenary year partner companies, handed over the park area of Dagmar in Raasepori to Finland for the next hundred years. Fiskars wants its donation to enable as many people as possible to enjoy the natural environment and find peace and inspiration. The company is donating the area to Finland for management by Metsähallitus, the state’s forest enterprise, for a nominal annual lease of one euro. When the areas of Dagmar park, Hossa national park, and the areas set up under the My Nature Gift project are combined, the 100-year-old Finland has received more than 13,400 hectares of new nature conservation areas during its centenary.
Nature Days project celebrated Finnish nature on four eventful Nature Days: winter wonderlands in February, go wild in the spring in May, enjoy a romantic summer night in June, and Finnish Nature Day in August. On Finnish Nature Day Finland became the first country in the world to honour its natural environment with an official flag day. Finnish Nature Day’s 260 events attracted about 55,000 people. All in all, about 300,000 friends of nature took part in the four nature days.
The Spruce of the Future project has invited different actors in society to plant spruces around Finland. Schools, companies, NGOs, associations, immigrants and citizens have participated in Finland and abroad. So far spruces have been planted in 26 different countries. Every living president of Finland has also taken part in the project. An estimated 50,000 spruces have been planted under the campaign.