Press release 2016-12-02 at 9:35
Press release from the Nature Days 2017 organisation 2 December 2016
In 2017, Finland will become the first country in the world to honour its natural environment with an official flag day. The Ministry of the Interior has ordered that flags should be flown on Finnish Nature Day, which falls on the last Saturday of August. Next year, this will be 26 August 2017. This will round off the celebration of Nature Days – hundreds of nature events, either organised or pop-up – in honour of the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence.
Finland to celebrate its nature in many ways
Finnish Nature Day has traditionally been celebrated on the last Saturday of August, to highlight the key role that nature plays in the lives of the Finnish people. The patroness of the day is Finland's First Lady, Mrs Jenni Haukio.
The Ministry of the Interior has now officially ordered that Finnish Nature Day will be an official flag day, making Finland the world's first country to honour its natural environment in this way.
"According to our survey, nine out of ten Finns want to celebrate Finnish nature as part of Finland's centennial jubilee in 2017. This is an excellent reason for introducing a new flag day," said Pekka Timonen, General Secretary of the 'Finland 100 Years' organisation.
"The strong presence of nature in Finland's centennial celebrations has attracted wide international interest. Nature and the related programmes played a key role when the major international travel media companies, Lonely Planet and National Geographic, ranked Finland as one of the best destinations for 2017."
The idea of having a flag day arose in the original background organisations of Finnish Nature Day: the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Parks&Wildlife Finland (part of Metsähallitus governing state-owned land and water), and the Association for Biology and Geography Teachers (BMOL). They proposed to the Ministry of the Interior that Finland raise flags to nature on the Finnish Nature Day of 2017, as part of Finland's centennial celebrations.
In honour of Finland's 100 years of independence, Finnish Nature Day has been expanded into four Nature Days, supported by around 50 organisations. The aim of the Nature Days campaign is to have Finnish flags flown on as many poles as possible, with small flags displayed in various connections, such as on nature trails, to decorate hiking food, or in other ways. The flag theme will also feature in social media posts for Nature Days. The ultimate goal is to make Finnish Nature Day, i.e. the last Saturday of August, an established flag day.
Four Nature Days to celebrate nature throughout the year
The idea is to bring people together and draw them out into Finland's natural settings on four Nature Days, in celebration of our relationship with nature and its continuity. There is no single way of doing this: everybody has his or her own relationship with nature.
During the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence, there will be numerous special events on Finnish Nature Day, in addition to traditional celebrations. Choral concerts will be held in national parks; the goal is to provide a concert in each of the 40 national parks – choirs have already signed up for almost all of them. For example, the YL Male Voice Choir and Tapiola Choir will perform in Nuuksio National Park in Espoo.
Dinner Under the Sky, an urban event organised in recent years in a number of Finnish cities, will expand into the wilderness, in the form of picnics or dinners held under the sky in a natural setting.
People are also encouraged to join Nature Days, by arranging their own events. Together, we can celebrate nature as a setting for play, exercise, experiences, refreshment and cultural inspiration, as well as a source of culinary enjoyment.
In 2017, there will be four Nature Days
- 4 February: Enjoying winter
- 20 May: Going wild about spring
- 17 June: Enjoying a romantic summer night
- 26 August: Celebrating Finnish nature
Communications and Biodiversity Expert Riku Lumiaro, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, +358 (0) 40 509 8654, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nature Days 2017 project Communications Manager Päivi Rosqvist, Parks&Wildlife Finland, tel. +358 (0) 400 425 666, email@example.com
Communications Manager Matti Nieminen, The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, +358 (0) 50 564 2283, firstname.lastname@example.org
Finland 100 Secretariat: Pekka Timonen, Secretary General, +358 (0) 295 160 228, email@example.com