18:19 GMT30 July 2021
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    In Finland, whose poetic moniker is 'Land of a Thousand Lakes,' nature reserves are plentiful. It is therefore not surprising that Finns are celebrated nature-lovers. What is surprising, though, is that Finns are queuing to become shepherds with no salary, having to pay themselves for the sheer pleasure of feeding animals in protected areas.

    The public interest in the profession of a shepherd in protected areas is growing. This year alone, about five thousand Finns have expressed the desire to spend one summer week in the lap of the Finnish nature taking care of the sheep and cows, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

    The whole concept was developed by the Finnish Forest Association after years of work in national parks, where livestock like cows and sheep graze in order to help preserve and maintain the natural landscape. Shepherds receive no pay for their services and even have to pay for the pleasure of saving Mother Nature. As compensation, the shepherds become leaseholders of the farm where animals are bred. The responsibility for the animals, however, stays with the Finnish Forest Association. The income from the shepherds' "entrance fees" is directed to the development of nature reserves.


    Yesterday arrived at North of Lapland. Today we went to explore local wilderness but wind was bit too much. Waiting calm and sunny days!

    Фото опубликовано Tiina Törmänen (@tiinautti) Янв 25 2017 в 11:17 PST

    Out of nearly 4,800 applications already submitted this year, only 142 lucky winners will be handpicked to look after the animals in the beautiful Nordic nature. The chosen ones will work in twelve natural reserves and national parks across Finland, including those in Lemmenjoki, Kolovesi, Mikkeli and Utsjoki.

    ​In 2017, Finland will become the first country in the world to honor its natural environment with an official flag day. The Ministry of the Interior has ordered national flags should be flown on Finnish Nature Day, which falls on the last Saturday of August.


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    Finland, Scandinavia, Nature, nature reserve
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