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The super popular Shepherd Weeks benefit both landscape management and nature conservation


What could be a better way to contribute to nature conservation than to live in a hut for a week in one of the most beautiful natural sceneries of Finland and take care of herding sheep? 

Sheep herding in the night at Lemmenjoki National Park. Photo: Olli Järvenkylä.

The Shepherd Weeks, which attract thousands of applicants each year, are a truly unique way to organize landscape management and conservation efforts. The concept is a combination of nature conservation and management, strengthening relationships between people, nature and landscapes, and enjoying an unforgettable holiday experience.

During the Shepherd Weeks, volunteer shepherds take care of a herd of sheep for a week as they perform landscape management in national parks and conservation areas. Grazing animals are required for maintaining the traditional landscapes by keeping the meadows open and securing the biodiversity of these habitats. Thanks to the project, valuable traditional rural landscapes are maintained and the public's awareness of the importance of landscape is increased.

The Shepherd Weeks concept was selected as the best landscape project in Finland in 2016. In 2017 the concept ran for the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe and received an honorary award. This year the popularity of the Weeks continued to rise as more applicants than ever applied for the unique summer holiday.

The most important motivations for becoming a volunteer shepherd are caring for the sheep and experiencing the tranquility of nature. This year Finland was ranked as the happiest country in the World. Volunteering is often connected to greater satisfaction in life. Perhaps this is also a reason which makes the Shepherd Weeks so unique and popular: happy people contributing their time for greater biodiversity, co-working with sheep that require care and shelter. What a beautiful way to help! 

Volunteering with ships as co-workers is fun and brings you close to nature. Photo: Metsähallitus.

Read more about Shepherd Weeks

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Hiking in Finland