Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, will present the first New7Wonders of Nature Finalists Recognition Award to Poland’s Masurian Lake District at government buildings in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, on Thursday, 27 September.
The Masurian Lake District, one of the top 14 Finalists in the global voting campaign, receives the New7Wonders of Nature Finalists Recognition Award “For the most visible local, national and transnational government support for the campaign”. The award recognizes the work of the Finalists that reached the top 14 group but did not achieve the New7Wonders of Nature status.
“The Masurian Lakes Campaign was marked by an impressive level of participation across a broad spectrum of Polish society,” said Bernard Weber. “For example, when Poland took over the rotating presidency of the European Union last year, it brought the campaign to the attention of 500 million Europeans. This, and many more initiatives, expressed genuine enthusiasm for the New7Wonders of Nature concept and has justifiably earned Poland and the Masurian Lake District this special New7Wonders of Nature Government Support Award.”
The Masurian Lake District in northeastern Poland contains more than 2,000 lakes. It extends eastwards from the lower Vistula River to the Poland-Lithuania border and occupies an area of some 52,000 square kilometres.
The Masurian Lakes Campaign culminated in Warsaw on 20 October last year when three of the country’s presidents, Lech Wałęsa, Bronisław Komorowski and Aleksander Kwaśniewski, came together with Bernard Weber, in a display of solidarity for the Polish finalist.
Earlier that month, the Masurian Lakes Campaign had received a major boost when Pope Benedict XVI expressed his support for the Polish finalist. “The Holy Father is offering his spiritual support for these efforts, bearing in mind how much the beauty of the region meant to his beloved Blessed Predecessor in the Holy See,” was the message expressed in a personal letter from the Holy See to Jacek Pałkiewicz, the explorer and adventurer who was serving as Ambassador for the Masurian Lake District campaign. Pope Benedict noted that his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had praised the Masurian region’s hospitality during his 1999 pilgrimage to Poland. “His Holiness Benedict XVI is offering a gracious prayer to all who care about the well-being, beauty and fame of Masuria, and he is cordially imparting his Apostolic Blessing.”
In 1996, Jacek Palkiewicz headed an expedition that confirmed the source of the Amazon River to be at the 5,319 metre-high Mount Quehuisha in the Peruvian Andes. The Amazon was elected as one of the New7Wonders of Nature and the Polish contribution to its identity is commemorated in a plaque at the foot of Mount Quehuisha, which states “Here starts the Amazon, the greatest river in the world”.
The New7Wonders of Nature Finalist Recognition Awards are:
Bu Tinah Island: Environmental Consciousness Award. For achieving the highest levels of environmental consciousness.
Dead Sea: Nature Without Borders Award. For the unique prospect of collaboration over a common nature cause.
Great Barrier Reef: Multimedia Creativity Award. For the most creative use of multimedia advertising and marketing.
Jeita Grotto: International Campaign Award. For achieving the highest levels of international voting participation.
Kilimanjaro: Positive Dedication Award. For the dedication shown to campaigning to deliver the national benefits of participation.
Masurian Lake District: Government Support Award. For the most visible local, national and transnational government support for the campaign.
Sundarbans: Transformational Campaign Award. For the use of the campaign to transform the image of the country at home and abroad.