The jury also elected a “protection forest guardian” for the first time, honouring the recipient for his exemplary commitment to the well-being of the forest. This year's award ceremony was hosted by the South Tyrol Forestry Association. Roberto Lecciso, a member of the Executive Management of Helvetia Italy, represented the company.
The Tyrol-based project has succeeded in rejuvenating developments relating to young forests. Forest rangers, forest owners and hunter contributed to the evaluation.
The protection forest project by Mattenbach from St Gall, which is ensuring greater protection against landslides by thinning forests to ensure greater stability, was the winner in the “success project” category.
The “South Tyrolean Tree Festival”, which has been anchored in the Italian Forestry Act since 1923, aims to encourage young people to love and respect forest-protection efforts. Primary school children have been able to enjoy and experience the festival for generations. Each year, employees of the State Forestry Office in South Tyrol bring around 11,000 pupils closer to the forest by providing them with knowledge about the forest and showing them how to plant their own trees.
The jury’s special award went to a project from Graubünden. Since 2007, the network of water reservoirs used to fight forest fires has been continuously expanded in the valleys of Misox and Calanca.
The first recipient of the new title “protection forest guardian” is Pastor Hans Oberhammer from the municipality of Taisten in South Tyrol. Over the years, he has planted many trees in the parish forest and around the parish house and carefully tended to them. He is also known as the “forestry worker with the blue apron, axe, pruning shears and backpack”. Alexandra Meissnitzer, Austrian skiing legend and since 2013 Protection Forest Ambassador for Helvetia Austria, presented him with the award.