The Helsinki Foundation is a non-profit foundation established for the purpose of either directly or indirectly promoting the long-term conservation of nature. The Foundation has been endorsed with the Finnish Social Enterprise Mark for its contribution to society.
The Helsinki Foundation is a paradigm shift in thinking about conservation – tapping collective responsibility, but not with taxpayer monies. The Foundation’s Guardianship Project is a vehicle that enables concerned global citizens to take action towards a common goal and legally bind land for conservation.
It is a crowdfunding approach that is relevant to people of the digital age.
The Foundation began like many good ideas in Finland: on the porch of the sauna, next to a lake on a beautiful summer evening. We had the idea of making it easy for people to do the right thing, by buying the land and splitting it up into small pieces for anyone to create their own individual nature reserve.
This allows people to contribute and gives them an actual connection to a unique physical piece of land. As the land will be there forever, it allows people to express to others (now and in the future) that they cared and wanted to make a difference, even if they didn't have millions to spend. The funds raised then go twords the next land purchase.
All environmental and land conservation organisations share a common goal which is to protect the earth.
We are different in a couple of ways.
Firstly, we give you the exact co-ordinates of the Greenspace you are protecting. You can physically visit your chosen Greenspace, and see every tree, branch and rock that you are helping to protect.
The biggest point of difference however is that when you become Guardian of that Greenspace, you gain a veto right over the entire parcel of land purchased by the Foundation. Each and every Guardian has a veto right over any proposed change to the use of the land.
We believe that thousands of social media-savvy Guardians is a strong deterrent to any person attempting to change the purpose of the land. Guardianship is an additional layer of protection to the land.
There has been much discussion about the correct way to conserve land, and we realize that land purchase is only one of the several methods that can ensure the survival of threatened habitats. However, we feel that our unique Guardianship program allows individuals to embrace the ownership of the protection of the land.
This gives Guardians a great deal more control over the land’s future than other forms of protection.
The Foundation identifies ecologically significant land by working with conservation groups, corporations and private landowners. Once an area of land has been earmarked as ecologically significant the Foundation undertakes a rigorous investigation into the suitability of the land.
Once the land has been identified as ecologically significant we begin the process of acquiring the land and incorporating it into the Foundation system.
If you have an area of land that you believe is ecologically significant please contact us on [email protected].
Once the land is identified as ecologically significant the Foundation begins negotiations to purchase the land. Like any property purchase this process can take considerable time. We acquire ecologically significant nature areas from all over the world with donations received from the individuals and corporations. The land is then divided into virtual Greenspaces. Donors become the Guardian of their chosen Greenspace, allowing them to name it on the interactive map. Guardians receive rights to the Greenspace, allowing them to participate in any decision-making relating to that parcel of land.
We then work with local government to get the property declared private natural park.
The land is owned by the Helsinki Foundation, a registered environmental not-for-profit organization with a commitment to protecting forests.
We believe that the best way to protect the environment is to leave it alone. The land is managed by the Foundation in conjunction with local environment conservation groups and volunteers.
We believe that conservation is everyone’s responsibility.
Governments are certainly doing their part to protect the environment through their various initiatives. However, many times, governments simply do not have the funds to dedicate to conservation projects.
Our Guardianship program enables the public to take action and legally bind land for conservation.
The Foundation’s goal is to allow everyone to participate in nature conservation, without having to make a highly significant financial contribution.
Yes, please email us on [email protected].
The Helsinki Foundation does not give grants. We do however welcome any grants that may be on offer.
A Greenspace is a unique numbered block of land in a conservation area. Each donor becomes the Guardian of their chosen Greenspace, and is given the exact co-ordinates of the area they are protecting.
The idea is to allow people to contribute and also to give them an actual connection to a unique physical piece of land. Donors can physically visit their chosen Greenspace, and see every tree, branch and rock that they are helping to protect.
The Foundation has our own virtual mapping software. When you become the Guardian of your chosen Greenspace of land you will be provided with the exact GPS co-ordinates.
No you cannot. Your Greenspace is protected along with all other areas within the boundary of the land purchased by the Foundation. You are welcome to visit your plot of land. Please check for specific FAQs relating to the conservation area.
If you wish to buy land for development, then this is not for you.
No. You are obligated to ensure that all contact details are kept up to date. If you fail to do so and we are not able to contact you via email, mail or telephone for 25 years, your Guardianship rights revert back to the Foundation.
As a Guardian of the land you are given voting rights over the protected area. THe Foundation can't sell, develop or change the intended purpose of the land without a 100% agreement from all Guardians. Your vote matters.
No it does not. The Foundation is the owner of the land.
The land is overlaid with our proprietary virtual subdivision dividing the land into virtual Greenspaces. The Guardianship rights of these Greenspaces are then sold to members of the public.
Every Guardian has a veto right to any proposed changes to the use of the land. As such each Guardian then effectively controls the land to ensure its conservation.
Your certificate is our way of acknowledging your Guardianship of your Greenspace.
The certificate does not signify ownership of the land.
To change the name, you need to gift the Greenspace.
To do this,
Log into your account. To do this go to www.helsinkifoundation.org, and top right corner, click on Login button.
Once you are logged in, click on the little person at the top right corner. Choose - my account.
Click on Greenspace (middle of banner at top). This will show all the Greenspaces that you control.
Choose the Greenspace you want to gift. You can also fill in the section - Greenspace Name and put a message in there or the recipient's name. This appears on the website map.
Click on - Give this Greenspace as gift. Fill in recipients name and any message you want to send them. In this box you will also see the gift code. This is important for when the recipient goes to claim the gift.
You will receive an email with the gift code and link to the Greenspace. You can then tailor this email and send it to the recipient. Once the recipient has this code, they can claim the Greenspace and you will then no longer appear as Guardian and they will.
Yes, this is very popular.
Learn how to do so here.
We encourage you to visit your Greenspace. For land in Finland, under Finland’s Everyman’s Rights you have the right to visit your Greenspace.
Yes. As long as they are not protected species, flowers, wild berries and mushrooms may be picked freely wherever Finland's Everyman’s Right applies. This also applies to the gathering of dry twigs and branches, cones and acorns found on the forest floor.
About 120 hectares (or 296 acres).
Yes. The access road has locked gates to prevent damage from motor vehicles and so on. We can arrange access with some advance notice. Please contact us. You will need a 4WD vehicle with offroad capabilities to get there.
We wish to protect the natural values for wildlife species and habitat. Read more about it in our Nature Conservation Plan (PDF).
Hopefully later this year or early 2018. However, we need to approach this very carefully as the wedge-tailed eagles are breeding nearby. If an eagle perceives a disturbance as a threat, even hundreds of meters away, it may leave the chicks or eggs and not return for years. They are particularly sensitive to aircraft.
Yes there are!
The Tasmanian devil is endangered. They are the largest carnivorous marsupial on earth, and have the strongest bite per body weight of all animals. They store excess fat in their tail, and have a fifth claw on the side of their front feet, which enables them to hold things.
The conservation area was identified with the help of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy. We wanted to choose land that was significant ecologically and needed protection. They were very helpful and are a great organization.
If you can't find the answer to your question, please contact us. We will answer your question and post the response here in FAQs too.