Born in Central Finland, Ari enjoyed watching the migration in his youth, and spent several two-week stays on the southern Finnish headland of Porkkala, by the Baltic Sea, to see the ‘arktika’ – the mass migration of Arctic geese, waterfowl and waders. Later Ari moved to Joensuu in Eastern Finland to study geography and biology at the city’s university and has remained in the North Karelia ever since. He became a member of the board and then the chairman of the North Karelia Birdwatching Society. Ari started to lead groups back in 1997 after participating in an International Bird Guide course and he has been leading trips now for more than 20 years. He spends a lot of his spare time helping to ring birds at the Höytiäinen Bird Observatory near his home, and also spent two months in England as a voluntary worker at two bird reserves - Rutland Water and Blacktoft Sands. Ari’s birding travels have taken him further afield to much of Northwest Europe but also to Kenya, United States, Georgia, Israel, France and Romania, to name just a few.