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Alfred Toepfer Medal

Rauno Väisänen received the Alfred Toepfer Medal in 2018 at EUROPARC Conference in the Magic Mountains, Portugal

Those who have made a contribution to nature conservation in Europe through an experienced body of work, are recognised in the Alfred Toepfer Medal. Nominated by EUROPARC members this gives an opportunity to the work done to be praised and valued by peers. The award is given publically at the annual EUROPARC conference. The Alfred Toepfer Medal, named after the founder of the EUROPARC Federation, Dr h.c. Alfred Toepfer (1894-1993) is awarded annually in recognition of a particular individual who has made a significant contribution to nature protection in Europe. The medal is presented at the annual EUROPARC conference

A brief summary of Alfred Toepfer Medal winners is listed below and in greater detail on this page.

Nominations for the Alfred Toepfer Medal 2018

The winner is nominated by EUROPARC members and is selected by the Juri, comprised by EUROPARC Council members. Do you have someone in mind who you think deserves recognition for their dedication or achievements in the field of nature conservation and protected areas? Please consider nominating that person for the award.

If you need inspiration, discover here the holders of the Alfred Toepfer Medal.

Nominations can be done by any EUROPARC member before the 29th of June. 

Please download the nomination form and send it back to b.napolitano @ europarc.org.

Previous winners

2017 – Rauno Väisänen

“Best practice through international cooperation” could be the motto of Rauno Väisänen. From Finland to the world, Rauno was for two terms member of EUROPARC Council and the first President of the EUROPARC Nordic-Baltic Section; had an important participation in the IUCN WCPA; and a member of the World Heritage Council. With a PhD in biology and a career dedicated to nature conservation in Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Rauno has helped in the development of the IUCN Management Categories and pioneered in the Management Effectiveness Evaluations, and was a great support to all protected area managers within the Nordic-Baltic Section, helping to build day-to-day connections and find common project ideas. Read a short bio of Rauno here.

2016 – Giuseppe Antoci

alfred toepfer medal, giuseppe antoci

Giuseppe Antoci was awarded the Alfred Toefper Medal 2016 at EUROPARC Conference that took place in Parc jura Vaudois, Switzerland

Giuseppe Antoci, Director of the Nebrodi Regional Park in Sicily, Italy, was awarded the Alfred Toepfer Medal as a recognition of his strong courage in defense of nature against organised crime. Antoci is fighting the local mafia system that has spread in recent years and that allowed to receive European funds for the support of fake farmers and shepherds pretending to manage large areas of agricultural land. Therefore, he has adopted a specific legality protocol, the so called “Antoci’s protocol”, that is now recognised as a successful model that has been signed by all Prefects and the President of the Region, and extended to the entire island. More about Antoci here.

2015 – Jane Hodges

Jane Hodges, receiving the Alfred Topefer Medal at EUROPARC Conference 2015 © Jakub Kaspar

Jane Hodges has been recognised for her work with the  Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority,  National Park Authority and her contribution to nature conservation. A defining moment in Jane’s career came about in 1996 with the Sea Empress oil spill. Jane was a key member of the environment team in the Response Centre and the also task groups set up by the Sea Empress Environmental Committee in the aftermath. Jane was appointed an MBE in 1999 for Services to Ecology in Pembrokeshire.

2013 – Erika Stanciu

Erica Stanciu receiving the Medal at the 2014 Conference Ceremony in Hungary © Gábor Nagy

For her outstanding achievements in furthering nature conservation in Europe, and as a female role model to many in the Protected Area community, the EUROPARC Federation in cooperation with the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. awarded the Alfred Toepfer Medal 2013 to Erika Stanciu, former president of EUROPARC for six years, trainer and Protected Area expert in capacity building issues.

2012 – Dr. Arthur Mitchell

One man makes a difference: Northern Ireland revealing a groundbreaking approach for Europe

Honoring his long-term commitment, participatory approach and success in conservation of protected areas, the EUROPARC Federation in cooperation with the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. awarded the Alfred-Toepfer Medal 2012 to Dr Arthur Mitchell of Mourne Heritage Trust.
At the heart of Dr Mitchell´s mission stands local ownership. Peoples´participation is the core of the community networks he initiated to protect and enhance natural landscapes, with income generating opportunities through sustainable tourism and other activities. It was his unstinting commitment and dedicated approach that serve many as best practice example. Now, as an Alfred-Toepfer Medal holder, Arthur Mitchell´s strategy will reach out to even more people who combine nature conservation and landscape-based sustainable development.

2011 – Hans Biebelriether

At the EUROPARC Conference 2011 in Bad Urach, Germany, the prestigious Alfred Toepfer Award was won by Mr Hans Biebelriether, who was nominated by the Bavarian Forest National Park (DE) and Czech Protected Areas. The laudation speech at the conference was given by Eberhardt Henne who has worked with Hans Biebelriether for a long time. The award went to Dr Biebelrieter for his work in international relations in the field of nature protection and his work in shaping Protected Areas across Europe and at home in Germany.

2010 –  Lassi Karivalo

The Alfred Toepfer Medal of the EUROPARC Federation was awarded at the Europarc 2010 Conference held in Abruzzo National Park in Italy to Senior Advisor Lassi Karivalo of Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services. Mr Karivalo retired from the Finnish agency in summer 2010.

Lassi Karivalo received the medal for long and successful career in transboundary cooperation of Protected Areas. He helped develop the European certification system for transboundary parks called Transboundary Parks – Following Nature’s Design which was launched in 2003. He also helped initiate the network of certificated transboundary parks called the TransParcNet.

2009 – Gordon Millar

2009’s successful nominee for the Alfred Toepfer Medal was Mr Gordon Millar who was nominated by Thomas Hansson from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Mr Hansson listed a number of Mr Millars achievements some of which can be seen below:

  • During the 1970s Mr Millar became an active member of the Association of countryside rangers. Promoting the value of ranger services coming together to exchange expertise and ideas.
  • He had a famous discussion with rangers from Scotland, United States and Denmark on a boat trip on Loch Lomond that led the following year to the formal inauguration of the International Ranger Federation in 1992.
  • At 6:30 on the evening of Sunday, May 21, 1995, as chairman of the International Ranger Federation, officially opened the First World Ranger Congress with the raising of IRF’s flag – the green, blue and white ying-yang symbol.

2008 – Walter Frank

In 2008 the winner of the Medal was the retired Romanian forester Mr Walter Frank who was nominated by EUROPARC Germany for his fantastic work with Romania’s ancient beech forests.