August 14, 2010 will mark the 100th anniversary of Vaika Bird Sanctuary, the predecessor of Vilsandi National Park. The date is regarded as the beginning of contemporary nature conservation in Estonia – accordingly, the 100th anniversary of nature conservation in Estonia will be celebrated in 2010.
On 10 May, Jaanus Tamkivi, the Minister of the Environment, presented the Eerik Kumari Award for nature conservation at the opening ceremony of the Nature Conservation Month in the Palm House of the Tallinn Botanical Garden. The award was won by Rein Einasto, a distinguished geology professor.
According to Andres Talijärv, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment and chairman of the Eerik Kumari Award jury, Professor Einasto has made a significant contribution to promoting the protection of Estonian nature and national mineral resources.
“Professor Rein Einasto is a very versatile scientist who has influenced many nature conservation initiatives in Estonia and whose proposals have been considered in adjusting, delimiting or expanding several protected outcrops, karstic and landscape areas,” said Andres Talijärv, adding that a particularly noteworthy aspect in the work of Einasto was his long career as a teacher and lecturer in providing information about Estonia’s mineral resources and promoting different options for using these resources.
Rein Einasto, who is often referred to by his nickname, Paevana (“Limestone Gaffer”), is a professor of geology and member of the teaching staff at the Tallinn College of Engineering. He has studied the palaeography of early Palaeozoic sedimentary basins and has published many scientific and popular articles.
In addition to professional activities, Rein Einasto has been an active member of society. He is a founder and member of the management board of the Estonian Limestone Society, as well as a founding member of the Tallinn Society for Nature Conservation and the Estonian Green Movement. His exhibitions of rock samples and photographs, promoting limestone and limestone products, have been shown both in Estonia and abroad. It was the initiative of Einasto that resulted in declaration of grey limestone as the official national stone of Estonia (1992); it was the third national symbol alongside cornflower and barn swallow.
Eerik Kumari (1912-1984) was the chairman of the Nature Conservation Committee of the Estonian Academy of Sciences for almost 30 years and he was behind the launch of the Estonian red list of threatened species. Globally, ornithology professor Eerik Kumari is known for laying the foundations of bird research and nature conservation in Estonia.
The amount of the Eerik Kumari award is 40,000 kroons. The Ministry of the Environment has been awarding the Eerik Kumari Award in the framework of the Nature Conservation Month since 1989. The award was established to recognise the work of individuals and organisations in the protection of natural communities, species and individual sites, as well as in the distribution and promotion of information on nature conservation. The first Eerik Kumari Award was given to Fred Jüssi and, in the previous year, the award was won by professor emeritus Hans Trass and by Tiit Petersoo, an experienced researcher and promoter of natural objects and protector of objects of cultural history and traditional culture.
This year is special, because it coincides with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of nature conservation in Estonia and the International Year of Biodiversity. These two themes are also the focus of the Nature Conservation Month in this year. To mark this important occasion, Jaanus Tamkivi, the Minister of the Environment, and Professor Rein Einasto, the newest winner of the Eeriku Kumari Award for nature conservation, planted a lime tree on the Lõhmus Square in the Tallinn Botanical Garden during the opening ceremony of the Nature Conservation Month.
For further information, please contact:
Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of the Environment, 626 2913
Specialist, Nature Conservation Department, Ministry of the Environment, 626 2887
Specialist, Public Relations Department, Ministry of the Environment, 626 2809, 507 6755