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Euronatur Honored by U.S. Environmental Group

The European Natural Heritage Fund - Euronatur - has been honored by the Sierra Club, America's largest and oldest citizen activist environmental organization. Euronatur received the Club's most prestigious international award - the EarthCare Award - for its work to protect the endangered monk seal and the caretta caretta turtle in Greece and for its work to help save Poland's extensive public rail transportation system from destruction.

Euronatur, an environmental organization based in Radolfezell, Germany, has been working in the field of nature protection and environmental policy since 1987. It was founded by three large German groups to support Southern and Eastern European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their nature protection efforts.

The Sierra Club's executive director, Carl Pope, said the Club honored Euronatur not only for its specific accomplishments but also because of "its broad, long-term, small-scale, and bottom-up approach to nature conservation."

Euronatur president Claus Peter Hutter described Euronatur efforts as "linking every nature protection effort with sustainable development issues because the organization believes that nature cannot be preserved if people don't see the benefit." Hutter emphasized that economic development, such as eco-tourism or organic farming, must have an ecological basis to be sustainable over the long term. "It also is vital that we apply environmental education and maintain close contact and cooperation with decision makers in government and industry," Hutter said.

Past recipients of the EarthCare Award include The Honorable Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway; Professor Wangair Muta Maathai of Nairobi, Kenya; the Mexican Federation of Private Health and Community Development Associations (FEMAP); and the Bellona Foundation of Norway.

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