Act Now! Forests For Future conference takes place in Joensuu, Finland, Sept. 13-17; UPM supports virtual school and network for sustainable development Eno Online, which hopes to plant 100 million trees by 2017

HELSINKI , September 9, 2011 (press release) – The international Act Now! Forests For Future conference that focuses on the state of the world's forests will take place in Joensuu from 13–17 September. Thousands of participants from 60 countries are expected to arrive in the city for the event. The Joensuu conference is listed as one of the key events in 2011, which has been designated the International Year of Forests by the UN.

The main event of Act Now will take place at the Joensuu Areena on 15–16 September. For two days, the Areena will be transformed into a “world forest”, where the participants will attend workshops and various other forest-related activities. The forest conference is organised by the ENO Association, the support organisation of the ENO -Environment Online virtual school and network. UPM is a supporting member of the association and participating to the event by presenting its awarded UPM Forest Life web site.

“The story about how the virtual school came about is very appealing. ENO - Environment Online builds on an environmental project launched by Mika Vanhanen, a teacher at a tiny school in Eno. Over the years, this project has evolved into an important global promoter of environmental awareness,” says Timo Lehesvirta, Director, Environmental Affairs at UPM Energy & Pulp.

Launched at a village called Eno in Joensuu in 2000, ENO - Environment Online engages now over 8000 schools from over 150 countries to participate in the virtual school and network. Itenables children and young people from all over the world to come together to think about the importance of the environment, identify ways of protecting the world’s forests and promote sustainable development.

The virtual school and network is very well known globally, as indicated by the distinguished patrons of the conference: Jane Goodall, the world-famous chimpanzee researcher, and Queen Noor of Jordan. They are both members of ENO Mothers, a network of women who support the ethos of ENO - Environment Online. Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel price, has also encouraged the virtual school in its action.

One of the most interesting visitors coming to Joensuu is Miss Earth Nicole Faria, who lends her face and voice to the Miss Earth organisation to increase environmental awareness.

UPM plants 50 million seedlings each year

ENO Online aims to plant 100 million trees by 2017, the year Finland celebrates 100 years as an independent state. The planting of trees got underway in 2004, and some six million trees have been planted to date. As an ENO partner UPM arranges every year tree planting days for students in many countries.

“Planting trees is an essential part of sustainable forestry and responsible use of natural resources. As part of forest regeneration, UPM plants three times as many seedlings as it fells trees. We plant some 50 million seedlings each year,” Timo Lehesvirta says.

The young of the Act Now conference will compile the ENO Action Plan for the world’s forests, which will be sent to the UN headquarters in New York, detailing their views on how and why we must look after our forests. Peace Forest, an online book containing a compilation of stories about forests, sustainable development and peace by ENO students, will be published on the same date of 16 September.

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