Rewilding Europe in landmark exhibition

June 17, 2011

On 1 June the latest of the outdoor exhibition series “Wild Wonders of Europe” was inaugurated in Copenhagen by the Danish Minister for Environment, Karen Ellemann. This was exhibition number three in the pan European tour and the first since Rewilding Europe became a main partner in this ambitious conservation communication initiative.

The launch was a really fun celebration with “The Bottle Boys” entertaining us with renditions of pop music hits played on musical instruments made out of old bottles! Definitely not passé. Kudos guys! And a nice scoop for one of the main exhibition sponsors – Danish recycling company Dansk Retursystem. I was dragged away from the music for a private guided tour through the exhibition for the Minister and invited Ambassadors by Wild Wonders of Europe Managing Director, Staffan Widstrand. Staffan is lucky in having an encyclopaedic knowledge of European nature and the reactions on people’s faces is priceless when they hear some weird and wonderful fact from tongue waggling ibex to Europe’s only antelope – the endangered and bizarrely trumpet nosed saiga. Judging by the bevy of hangers on (perhaps aspiring to be Ambassadors) – European wildlife safari guides are the way to go.

That evening we had a post-launch celebratory dinner with the Wild Wonders of Europe and Life Exhibitions team in the glass pavilion. The exhibition outside began to fill with rave party goers – tens, hundreds and then finally thousands of them, as central Copenhagen filled with one massive thronging street party! Unbenownst to the organisers, the launch had coincided with the party of all parties. In one fell swoop we had reached a whole new audience – scores of young people who perhaps wouldn’t normally have considered themselves as being even vaguely interested in nature, or thought nature was too unhip for their image. It was heartwarming to watch the revellers, even in their varying degrees of inebriation, taking time to read the text and to enjoy the images! Quite a contrast to the daytime audience of young children, babies in prams, people in wheelchairs and on bicycles, young and old alike. Nature really is for all!

The exhibition showcases 100 life-size photos from all 48 European countries – the unseen, unexpected and unforgettable shared natural heritage of the continent. These stunning images were taken by 69 of Europe’s finest wildlife photographers who had conducted 135 photo missions acrossEurope. The very finest of these were selected to showcaseEurope’s most charismatic wildlife and wild places, using the emotional power of world class imagery to reach out to the widest possible audience.

If you’d like to see the exhibition – entrance is free and accessible to all, open 24 hours a day. It is situated right in the very heart of the city, off the famous pedestrian shopping street, Stroget, and will remain on display at Nytorv until 29 July 2011. If you are into wildlife, photography, culture, art, travel or just an energising stroll through our shared heritage, please visit the exhibition! And tell your friends!

To date, over a million people have visited the previous two outdoor exhibitions with the world premiere inaugurated inThe Hague in 2010 by Her Royal Highness Princess Irene of The Netherlands.

The key message of Wild Wonders of Europe is to inspire us all with the joy of the wild and encourage a greater sense of custodianship. The exhibition focuses on celebrating Europe’s wildlife comeback with short texts that are wonderfully engaging, refreshing and educational. (Its not just about pretty pictures!!) This is the important door opener to highlight species and habitats of conservation concern, the ongoing land abandonement in Europe and the tremendous possibilities for rewilding.

Rewilding Europe is incredibly excited to be part of this exceptional initiative and we are working hard to make the outdoor exhibitions a reality in our Rewilding Europe pilot countries, where there will be even greater emphasis on the project areas within the exhibition. And right now – a second exhibition, this time the indoor, is also on show in Shanghai, China!

Visit the outdoor exhibition in Copenhagen.

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