On 1 February 2019, the Consortium of Alpine Forestry Associations (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländischer Forstvereine) presented the 13th Helvetia Alpine Protection Forest Award. The members – forestry associations from the Alpine regions of Bavaria, Graubünden, Corinthia, Liechtenstein, St. Gallen, South Tyrol, Tyrol and Vorarlberg – present the award to exemplary protection forest projects. In the presence of Graubünden cantonal councillor Mario Cavigelli, government councillors from Liechtenstein and St. Gallen, and national councillors from Tyrol, Vorarlberg and South Tyrol, three projects were honoured in the categories “School projects”, “PR work, innovation and protection forest partnerships” and “Successful projects” at the Arena in Klosters. The Consortium of Alpine Forestry Associations also selected a “protection-forest patron” for their service to protection forests.
14 projects and ideas were submitted from Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The international jury honoured the following projects with an award:
“School projects” category
Graubünden – Dwarf Land forest playgroup
... then we meet in the forest where the paths cross, ... then it doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, rainy or snowy, ... then we wear good shoes and working clothes, ... then we take a rucksack full of snacks, ... then we experience and discover nature in all seasons. Fun activities outside of the family home for children aged 4 – 5, encouraging contact with the forest in close collaboration with the forestry service and in an age-appropriate way.
“PR work, innovation and protection forest partnerships” category
Tyrol – Protection forest fairytales
The Lechtal forest dwarf called Almajuri is absolutely exhausted. The storm witches have shaken the trees and the snow giant has placed a spell of forgetfulness on the tree spirits. And now the fir ghost no longer knows the difference between the fir tree and the spruce. The larch queen has fallen deeply in love and has lost track of her tasks. And the stone-pine dwarf has completely disappeared. Without its guardians, the protection forest loses its power. Soon, avalanches will be crashing down into the valley, rock falls will block the paths and the white water will flow out of control. Dear children, please help the protection forest, the trees and their guardians. The Almajuri is counting on you.
“Successful projects” category
Vorarlberg – Blons avalanche protection forest – Rebuilding after the disaster
The high potential for natural hazards in the Blons municipality means that this mountain community depends particularly on the condition object-protecting forests for it to remain habitable. Nature-preserving forestry and consistent cloven-hoofed game hunting are managed in an exemplary way in order to create and maintain a protective permanent forest in the long term. Commendable activities in the area of PR have been achieved with the establishment of the avalanche documentation centre and an avalanche nature trail.
The jury's “special prize”
St. Gallen – Frümsen, the walnut village – Walnut trees in the protection forest
Frümsen is located in the Werdenberg region at the foot of the steep wooded peaks of the Alpstein. Historically, the walnut tree is the second most important tree species in this landscape, after the beech tree. However, changes in cultivation have caused this tree to almost disappear in the region. Yet for a few years now, the Sennwald forest association has been reintroducing the walnut tree to the forest and the surrounding farmlands.
Ruedi Walli becomes the fourth protection-forest patron
For the fourth time, the Consortium of Alpine Forestry Associations have awarded the title of “protection-forest patron”. This year, carpenter and timber house builder Ruedi Walli from Fideris in the Prättigau region has been recognized for his services to protection forests. He ran his family’s wood building company, Ruwa, in its second generation and has now passed it on to the third generation. Through his life's work and living by his values, Ruedi Walli has promoted a deep awareness of a sustainable, regional value chain from forest to timber and of the wise use of forests, in harmony with nature.
The 2018 Helvetia Protection Forest Award – the winners at a glance
Photo 1: Winner in the category school project: Dwarf Land forest playgroup in Andeer, Graubünden.
Photo 2: Winner in the category PR work, innovation and protection forest partnerships: protection forest fairytale, Tyrol.
Photo 3: Winner in the category successful projects: Restoration of the object-protecting forest in Blons, Vorarlberg.
Photo 4: Winner of the jury’s special prize: Nussdorf Frümsen, St. Gallen.
Photo 5: Protection-forest patron 2018: Ruedi Walli.
Photo 6: Nominated school class from Tyrol of the category school project.