In addition to the five category winners, the public vote online for their favourite finalist application. The finalist receiving the most votes is rewarded with the “European Citizens’ Award”. The winner of the 2018 Award was the School of Nature project in Portugal. This educational project in the municipality of Viana do Castelo in Northern Portugal brings school communities, and thus local communities, closer to their unique natural heritage thanks to field activities and teachers’ trainings.
Past European Citizens’ Awards went to :
- 2016: Collaboration between public and private bodies saves the Iberian lynx from extinction in Spain - this project involved establishing stewardship agreements and voluntary contracts with private owners, managers and hunting clubs in six Natura 2000 sites, in order to reduce the hunting pressure on rabbits and secure lynx-friendly land management across more than 95,000 ha. (more)
- 2015: Natura 2000 Day - this high profile and innovative project created a "European Natura 2000 Day" as part of a LIFE+ project connecting people with biodiversity to showcase Natura 2000 in action. Since 2013, it has also reached out to an estimated 3 million social network accounts with photographs of its “butterfly hands” gesture, which is dedicated to the conservation of a particular Natura 2000 site in Europe each year. (more)