The first ever Sakari Alhopuro Prize awarded to Professor Kalervo Väänänen and archipelago nature photographer Jaakko Ruola

The Sakari Alhopuro Foundation’s Board has selected Professor Kalervo Väänänen and nature photographer Jaakko Ruola as the recipients of the Sakari Alhopuro Prize. The prize is awarded in recognition for their influential contribution to the protection of the Archipelago Sea. Now awarded for the first time, the prize sum amounts to 50,000 euro to be shared by the prize winners.

Published 19.10.2022


Today, the Sakari Alhopuro Prize was presented to Professor Kalervo Väänänen, who served as the Rector of the University of Turku during the years 2012–2019, and nature photographer Jaakko Ruola, who draws inspiration from the Archipelago Sea. The prize was awarded in recognition of their valuable work to advance the protection of the Archipelago Sea and to raise awareness nationwide.

“In 2018, Professor Väänänen set up a multidisciplinary working group that was tasked with developing new methods to eliminate phosphorus from the marine environment. The working group was comprised of researchers at the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University and Turku University of Applied Sciences. Thanks to Väänänen’s personal input, Turku is currently the only city in Finland in which all the universities’ profiles include marine research as a special field of interest”, explains Sakari Alhopuro, the Chair of the Board of the Sakari Alhopuro Foundation.

Väänänen has also contributed to the modernization of the field station laboratories and educational facilities on the island of Seili as part of the Archipelago Sea Research Institute of the University of Turku.

Following his term as Rector, Väänänen was engaged in drawing up a survey report for the Unique Archipelago Sea project, addressing the current state of the Archipelago Sea and the underlying reasons for its issues, together with a practical action plan to resolve the problems. Entitled The Blue Book of Archipelago Sea of Finland, the publication attracted the interest of the Finnish Government, and the protection of the Archipelago Sea was included in the Government Programme as well as the international action programme for the protection of the Baltic Sea.

“The Unique Archipelago Sea project has significantly promoted general awareness about the severe situation concerning the Archipelago Sea as well as the need to address the problems concretely and without delay. The aim of the project is to have the Archipelago Sea removed from HELCOM’s Hot Spot list by 2027”, states Alhopuro.

Jaakko Ruola has brought up the unique and vulnerable nature of the Archipelago Sea through his nature photographs, which were published in the book entitled “Saaristomeren panoraama” in 2017. When preparing the book, Ruola had plenty of discussions with specialists on the Archipelago Sea ecology. As a result of these discussions, the operation known as Unique Archipelago Sea was launched.


Images for media


Further information:

Managing Director Carita Rantanen, tel. +358 40 503 9609,
Professor Kalervo Väänänen, tel. +358 40 701 1303,
Archipelago nature photographer Jaakko Ruola, tel. +358 40 031 7585,





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