Social Entrepreneur of the year finalists nominated .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - The finalists of this year’s award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year include activist Ömer Madra, and environmentalists Nihat Özyiğit and İsmet Abalıoğlu.

The finalists of the award given by Ernst & Young Turkey and Milliyet in cooperation with CNNTürk Schwab Foundation, for the third time were named last week.

Ömer Madra, founding partner and executive editor for radio station Açık Radyo (Open Radio) said they started with the motto, "A radio is open to the all voices and colors of the universe."

"We founded Açık Radyo 13 years ago with the idea of coming up with an independent, free, democratic, sensitive and extraordinary radio station," said Madra. "We have hosted 12,000 guests in 13 years. We are on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

Madra said they are a totally independent radio station. "We are a corporation with 92 shareholders. Our expenses are covered with personal sponsorship from our listeners by 30 percent and the rest is income from advertisements."

Ali Nihat Gökyiğit, Honorary Founding President for Turkish Foundation for Reforestation, Protection of Natural Habitats, or TEMA and Board of Director for ANG Foundation, said they have begun their journey with the idea of "Blaming everyone aside, what can we do?"

"TEMA has turned into a public movement. People have adopted the themes we have chosen while being formed: the protection of the Earth, green and water. TEMA have created a passion for green if nothing else," he said. Gökyiğit said they had 300,000 volunteers and have trained 2 million people and planted 50 forests.

İsmet Abalıoğlu, the founder and president of the Nature and Environment Foundation, or DOÇEV, said DOÇEV was founded in Denizli, southwestern Turkey, in 1996 and has 5,500 registered volunteers.

"We have planted 17 forests in Denizli the size of 250 football fields. We have trained children. We collected used batteries and planted parks, gardens and graveyards. We plant forests in the name of individuals who want."

In addition to his attempts to save plants, Abalıoğlu also made projects for building birdhouses in trees for the birds that eat harmful bugs.