As Mayor of Istanbul, Mr. Dalan has transformed the Golden Horn, a polluted industrial and residential area by planting trees, improving the landscape and creating parks. His achievement is a model for many cities.
Turkish Association for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
A Turkish NGO active in public awareness programmes, afforestation and lobbying against industrial pollution.
Dogal Hayati Koruma Dernegi (DHKD) (The Society for the Protection of Nature in Turkey)
Founded in 1975, with 3500 members DHKD is turkey's most active conservation organisation. It contributes to the conservation of nature and natural resources in turkey through research, projects, fieldwork and education and mainly concentrates on the conservation of threatened ecosystems (wetlands, coastal-zones) using endangered species (birds, seaturtles, bulbous plants) as the icons for its programmes.
Hayrettin Karaca gave up his 31 -year business life to begin work on conserving flora, and established the only private arboretum in Turkey.
The Karaca Arboretum has approximately 6000 varied trees and shrubs from Turkey and the rest of the world. The Arboretum is open to the public and all scientific foundations and trains students in agriculture and forestry.
Karaca also helped launch the Karaca Arboretum Magazine, a scientific periodical. Over the last five years, he has given over 30 lectures to students inside and outside the country.
Garanti Bank T.A.S.
Garanti Bank is committed to conserving Turkey's natural assets. The Bank has made nature conservation the central theme of its public relations programme. Wall calendars promote awareness of issues such as animal populations and flora and fauna, while their advertising campaigns highlight endangered species. Recycled paper is used whenever possible for the Bank's publications. Clean air, greenery and open space are the thematic messages of its branches, whose architectural design reflect a green environment in the form of an oasis. In-branch parks serve as waiting areas, while ionizers purify the atmosphere. The Bank has been the primary sponsor of The Society for the Protection of Nature (DHKD) since 1992. One of several projects is the Bird Sanctuary project which seeks to protect wetlands and other bird sanctuaries throughout Turkey. Some 450 species of birds are found in the country, including 12 internationally-recognized threatened species. In addition, Turkey harbors living and breeding grounds for sea creatures, most notably sea turtles. Garanti Bank sponsors programmes which protect the nesting areas of these creatures. Turkey possesses some of the most diverse flora in Europe, with more than 9,000 plant species - one third of them unique to the country. The Bank assists in the protection of this natural wealth by funding several projects managed jointly by DHKD and The Fauna and Flora Preservation Society. Thanks to these efforts, Garanti Bank has given Turkey's wildlife and habitats a chance to survive.
Dr. Tansu Gurpinar
Tansu Gurpinar, a botanist, zoologist and geologist, joined the National Parks and Wildlife Department of Forestry in 1966 until 1969. He carried out several projects on the conservation of large endangered mammals in Turkey, including the anatolian wild sheep, the ibex goat and the fallow and roe deers who today enjoy a healthy population. He helped plan several National Parks, while undertaking inventories and censuses of wetlands and birds. In 1970, after observing the alarming decline of birds of prey in the country, he made a plea for their conservation and succeeded in ensuring their full legal protection. From 1969 to 1973, he was Director of the country's first bird sanctuary where he enforced protection laws and improved their habitat to attract new species of birds. Thanks to him, a considerable increase in the existing population has been recorded. Since 1976, the Park has been awarded four times a First Class Europeans Diploma. From 1973 to 1977, he fought and succeeded in saving one of the most important wetlands in Turkey from a large drainage project. Today, it is a nature protection area and a Ramsar site with more than 500,000 birds. In 1978, he was appointed Head of Education, Legislation and Finance Department where he implemented better conservation policies. He is currently Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Gurpinar, a leading nature photographer who has won numerous awards, is the author of three nature books and is a founder/member of the Society for the Protection of Nature.
Nergis Yazgan is a leading nature conservation figure in Turkey, whose environmental activities span two decades. In 1975, she was instrumental in establishing two non-governmental organizations: The Society for the Protection of Nature (DHKD) and the Turkish Nature Conservation Foundation. DHKD is today a leading conservation organization in the country with 6,000 members and a professional staff of 27, including geomorphologists, fishery engineers, ornithologists and business administrators. Together they are implementing 12 field projects ranging from protection of wetlands and bird habitats to safeguarding Turkey's vast botanical biodiversity through the cultivation of indigenous bulbs and the protection of coastal zones. All DHKD projects have an environmental education component. Thanks to her single-handed efforts a major environmental battle to safeguard the most important breeding grounds of the endangered sea turtles was won. The issue became a huge national and international concern, and ended with the cancellation of a mega- tourism master plan and the declaration of Dalyan as a specially protected area in 1988. In 1994, she was very active in the declaration of another protected area: The Poloneskoy Nature Park near Istanbul. Mrs. Yazgan has always advocated the need for supportive volunteers and has undertaken fund raising activities in addition to her conservation efforts. She was the organizer of three fund raising events, which has permitted DHDK to undertake its activities.
Fatih Yilmaz comes from Eastern Anatolia, one of the least developed regions in Turkey. He is a young and dedicated environmentalist both in his school and in his village. He is a founding member of the environment club which is active in tree planting and beautification projects. Together with this Club, he planted over 10,000 trees in his village where most people are illiterate. He initiated an erosion control project in the farm land by forming a barrier with shrubs and trees.
In 1993, he participated in an essay competition organized by the Turkish Foundation for Combatting Soil Erosion, Reforestation and the Protection of the Natural Habitats (TEMA), and his paper on soil erosion: Causes and Losses won second prize. Fatih, in cooperation with TEMA, informed the local community about gully erosion and its prevention.
He continued to be a successful mobilizer of his community and the resources available to them. He organizes workshops to raise environmental awareness, and speaks about environmental problems in local radio and television stations. He also lobbies and gives proposals to the provincial municipality on proper sanitation and infrastructure, in an effort to prevent pollution in the nearby river. Fatih initiated recycling activities in the area, and has contacted the local traffic police to prevent noise pollution.
Dr. Melih Boydak
Dr. Melih Boydak, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry, Istanbul University, has devoted the last 30 years of his life to the protection of the environment. He has explored numerous forests in Turkey and discovered various unidentified species of flora. He identified the rare Phoenix "sp" forest which was in danger of disappearing due to development. He reported the matter to the District's Governor, and as a result the development was stopped. Through the Arboretum Project, which he coordinates, he succeeded in protecting the luqidambar orientalis and other species of flora. He has brought together 26 non-governmental organizations in Istanbul whose collective aim is to protect forests, nature and the country's culture. He was co-chair of the XI International Forestry Congress, and he is also the founder of the International Foresters Association. He led the legal struggle to prevent the improper use of forest areas. He succeeded, in collaboration with other foresters, in applying an inexpensive afforestation method where trees are planted in calcareous areas. After the initial success in the pilot 1,000 hectares, the same process was replicated in a similar land area of 10,000 hectares, and today this land is once again covered with cedar trees. He has undertaken research to develop ways of creating forests and combatting desertification in the arid parts of the Central Anatolian Region.