In January 2020, the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation and the town of Ylöjärvi closed a deal on a forest of many trees in Ylöjärvi. The forest, located a few kilometres northeast of the town center on the Mastosvuori hill north of the Asuntila region, will be protected in memory of Mikko Saarela, a man who was a member of the Eppu Normaali band.
The forests of Ylöjärvi were important to Saarela in his youth because he loved to go hiking. The new conservation area is located in a peaceful region on the eastern shore of Lake Mastosjärvi, and it partly surrounds another conservation area that has already been established there. It is made up of 14 hectares, and together with the area protected nearby, the forest creates about 25 hectares placed under protection. The forms of the terrain vary from rocks to depressions and small valleys between them. The treestand is diverse in this beautiful landscape although the trees have not yet grown very old throughout the area. There are pine stands in their natural state to be found in some sections along with older spruces, aspens and birches growing in the exuberant depressions.
The idea of having a forest established in memory of Saarela came from friends he met when he was still studying. In co-operation with the widow, they started a fund-raising campaign through the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, the start-up capital coming from a concert arranged in the spring of 2019 to commemorate the man with Eppu Normaali as one of the performers.
Mikko Saarela (1958-2019) was a bass player and songwriter for the Eppu Normaali band from Ylöjärvi in its early days. Saarela was one of the founders of the ensemble, the name of the band also being his proposal. Saarela was a biologist by education, and he was known as a true nature lover.
Photo: Anneli Jussila