In Memoriam | Dr Rauno Väisänen

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It is with great sadness that EUROPARC learned of the recent death of Dr Rauno Väisänen, retired Head of Parks and Wildlife Finland, Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services.

Rauno was a big presence in EUROPARC in many ways. Not just a two-time served council member. Founder and President of the Nordic-Baltic Section and Alfred Toepfer Member, but principally a stalwart supporter of EUROPARC and all international cooperation. He ensured that Metsähallitus was not an isolated national agency, but well-connected with the colleagues across Europe, ensuring that his staff members participated in international activities.

He established the Nordic-Baltic Section in 2003 in Finland in order to strengthen the network in the north, to make cooperation more concrete and organised, and to actively influence European policies. His work continues in today’s section.

When asked in 2013 what were his favourite EUROPARC moments, Rauno recalled

Listening speeches and songs in Cymraeg (Welsh) in Llandudno; survival walks over the Irish moors and Italian mountains; having a key-note speech at Roses; watching bears in Romania; dancing to Abba songs at Strömstad; trapping rare moths at Oxford (using the dormitory kitchen as a trap); drinking schnapps in rainy Luxembourg; standing-sitting-standing with the Norwegian queen in Jostedalsbreen; swapping books with Aitken Clark; and enjoying gastronomic delights of Europe in the Council meetings. But, yes, my answer is: admiring the natural beauty of Europe together with the EUROPARC friends, a joint moment when you feel a strong connection both with the nature and your friends.

He could not have summed up EUROPARC better and we were all delighted and privileged to have shared those moments with him.

Rauno was a giant amongst us, in personality, in vision and in person and he will be sorely missed.

All in EUROPARC extend our deepest condolences to Rauno’s family, friends and many colleagues who will miss him.

At EUROPARC Conference 2019 in Latvia, Jurmala, Rauno Väisänen, gave us precious tips on how to make Nature an important topic in politicians and decision-makers mindset.