United for a WILDER Denmark #dkvild

Nature is facing a crisis in Denmark and globally, with countless animal and plant species at risk of extinction in the near future. Therefore, the Ministry of Environment of Denmark has launched its “United for a WILDER Denmark” campaign to motivate and inspire Danes in the fight for more wildlife and nature.

Denmark’s WILDEST municipality

As part of the campaign, 92 of Denmark’s 98 municipalities are competing to be Denmark’s WILDEST municipality. The concept is to find the wildest ideas to help wild nature in the municipality. At the end of 2022, a panel of judges will proclaim the WILDEST municipality. This will be the municipality with the most outstanding biodiversity project in terms of inventiveness, commitment, area in square/cubic metres converted to wild nature, and dissemination of information for the public about the capabilities and benefits of wild nature.

“We stand in the middle of a crisis for nature Biodiversity is declining throughout the globe, and in Denmark thousands of animal and plant species are in danger of being lost for ever. The good news is that everyone can make a difference. When Hjørring Municipality made more space for nature instead of having grass deserts in parks and roundabouts, a myriad of butterflies and bees moved in. Just think if we could get all of Denmark and every municipality to join in. From the local school playground to blocks of flats, nursing homes and sports grounds,” said Danish Minister for Environment, Lea Wermelin.

A competition in which everyone is a winner

The Minister stressed that this is not a competition against each other, but a competition to make better conditions for nature in Denmark. No matter which municipality comes to be Denmark’s WILDEST next year, the most important prize is wild nature we, together, can pass on to our children and grandchildren.

Openness for WILD ideas

Municipalities throughout Denmark have sown the first seeds of ideas that will grow wild and strong. Everyone can see the ideas grow, and reap inspiration to launch their own WILD projects at www.dkvild.dk.

“There’s huge interest in doing something for wild nature and the countryside. We’re facing a massive crisis in nature, and it’s imperative that we take action wherever we can. Both in Parliament, in municipalities and in gardens or balconies at home. No individual can do it all, but together we can do a whole lot. Therefore, it’s crucial that we share knowledge and inspire each another to help nature,” said the Danish Minister for Environment, Lea Wermelin.

Furthermore, everyone can follow initiatives for wild nature by municipalities on the municipalities’ own WILD websites. The municipalities jockeying to be Denmark's WILDEST municipality have all set up WILD websites to give transparency and to inform people about how the municipalities are making more space for nature to grow wild, engaging the public and businesses, and collaborating across municipalities for cohesive natural areas.

WILD Danes turn retreat into advance

During the campaign, a multitude of local neighbourhood groups have blossomed on the social media and shared tips and tricks for how Danes can have more biodiversity in their gardens or balconies.

There is a lot you can do yourself to help our creeping and flying insects, and often it doesn’t take very much effort. It may just entail being less industrious in the garden and letting nature take over. Leave your mower in the shed over the summer, stop pulling up weeds in a corner of the garden, or leave twigs and branches in a pile in your garden.

Why should I make space for biodiversity in my garden or balcony flower box?

Plants and animals are mutually dependent on each other, and therefore creating habitats for one species often benefits several other species. For example, if you attract more insects into your garden, they will pollinate flowers, while hedgehogs, birds and bats will have something to eat.

There are many opportunities to do something for wild plants and animals, even if you don’t own a forest or field. Flower boxes and gardens can also contribute to biodiversity. For example, you could plant or sow flowering plants in balcony flower boxes, leave a corner of your garden “to itself”, leave large branches and tree trunks in your garden, dig a small garden pond or lay a small, undisturbed pile of stones. These measures can provide good habitats, and you’ll be able to observe how different species move in.

Give a hand to biodiversity: Avoid fertilizers, pesticides and clearing up in your garden.

FACTS about the competition

  • Biodiversity is declining throughout the world. Species are becoming extinct faster than ever before: 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. With this backdrop, Danish Minister for Environment, Lea Wermelin, has encouraged Danish municipalities to take part in a competition to become “Denmark’s WILDEST municipality”.

  • The panel of judges comprises Minister for Environment Lea Wermelin and biologist Morten D.D. Hansen, and they will proclaim the winning municipality with the best biodiversity project. Anything goes, and the winner will be selected on the basis of inventiveness, commitment, area in square/cubic metres converted to wild nature, and dissemination of information for the public about the capabilities and benefits of wild nature. A municipality can also choose to focus on something entirely different to make the municipality WILD.

  • A total of 92 of the 98 Danish municipalities have joined the race to be Denmark's WILDEST municipality. The municipalities could join the competition up to 24 March 2021, after which the race was on to be “Denmark’s WILDEST municipality“. The contest will run until the end of 2022 and during the summer and autumn 2021 Minister for Environment Lea Wermelin has visited some of the municipalities taking part.

  • In addition to the prestigious title of Denmark's WILDEST municipality, the winning municipality will also receive DKK 1 million from the Danish Nature Fund for a WILD nature project.

  • A team of film-makers is following the competition, and their recordings will broadcast in 2023 in the second season of Gi os naturen tilbage on Danish national television. More than 500,000 viewers followed in the first season in autumn, 2020.

  • The competition is part of the Ministry of Environment's “United for a WILDER Denmark” campaign, aiming to encourage municipalities and Danes in general to grow, hail and embrace wildlife and nature.