The Leave No Trace and Clean Coasts Most Devoted to the Environment Award will go to an organisation that has gone to exceptional lengths to preserve or improve our outdoor and natural environment. The winner will be decided by an expert panel of judges over the coming weeks. But in the meantime, check out our amazing nominees below. If they don’t inspire you to get out there and make a difference we don’t know what will, they are all incredible!

1. Dodder Action Group

Dodder action

The Dodder Action Group is an umbrella group of volunteers who want to maximise the potential of the River Dodder as an amenity for the people of Dublin. The group organises cleanups of the river banks and help to safeguard the incredible resource for the hundreds of walkers, anglers, dog-lovers, naturalists and cyclists who use it every day.

Here is a snapshot of the group’s achievements: 

  • Dodder Action was the winner of the South Dublin County Council Community Sustainability Initiative
  • They published Christopher Moriarty’s Down the Dodder in eBook format. This is the most comprehensive guide to the Dodder River, from mountains to sea. Free to Dodder Action members.
  • Monthly volunteer clean ups along the River Dodder
  • Dodder Monsters Competition
  • Community of more than 1,400 river custodians, volunteers and followers
  •  Submission on the Dodder Greenway Plan to Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council
  • Talks on the ecology and conservation of the Dodder River to primary school children
  • Partnership with UCD Citizen Scientist initiatives

Check out the Dodder Action website for further details.  

2. Dublin Clean Canals 

Royal canal clean up

The aim of this group is to promote the use of both of Dublin’s beautiful canals to their fullest potential as amenities. Regular volunteer clean-ups are organised along the canal banks throughout the year.

The collective group is called ‘Dublin Clean Canals’ which is made up of a number of self-managing groups: Royal Canal Clean Up, Grand Canal Dock, Friends of the Grand Canal, Grand Canal Biodiversity and Clean Up Group and Inchicore Environmental Group. As a group, they meet regularly to provide support and advice to each other. They also share tasks and collectively they run the annual Dublin Canals Action Day.

3. Dublin Mountains Partnership

Dublin Mountains Partnership

The Dublin Mountains Partnership or DMP was set up in May 2008 with the ultimate aim of improving the recreational experience for users of the Dublin Mountains, whilst recognising the objectives and constraints of the various landowners. The DMP has had the tricky task of balancing recreation with the other key objectives of the various land-owning organisations (commercial forestry, conservation, water collection).  The DMP members are Coillte, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, South Dublin County Council, Dublin City Council and Dublin Mountains Initiative (who represent the recreation users).

The Volunteer Ranger Service was set up as part of the DMP and consists of a team of volunteers who are interested in supporting the work of the DMP and assisting in the management of outdoor recreation. The service has the following aims:

  • Assist the public in appreciating the Dublin Mountains through education and communication
  • Increase community involvement in, and awareness of, the management of the forest and mountain lands
  • Develop volunteers’ personal understanding, knowledge and sense of belonging to the Dublin Mountains
  • Promotion of the Leave No Trace principles
  • Assist in practical conservation tasks

Check out the DMP website to find out more about the Volunteer Ranger Service.

4. Mulranny Environmental Group

Mulranny Envt Group

The Mulranny Environmental Group carries out a wide range of environmental projects in its locality and aims to raise awareness of natural heritage through multimedia and guided walks. The organisation carries out several beach cleans throughout the year and works hard to protect and conserve the fragile dunes system and machair habitats in the area. The group also assisted greatly in the organisation of the Co. Mayo Clean Coasts Roadshow in March.

Find out more on the Mulranny Environment website.

5. Clean Coasts Ballynamona

FLush is out

The award-winning Ballynamona Clean Coast Group is responsible for a very successful Think Before You Flush campaign to educate and change the flushing behaviours of those in their local community. Almost 200 people have signed up to the campaign to date. The Group who are dedicated to protecting their marine and coastal environments supplied information packs to all those who have signed up while the delivery of packs to local residents who have yet to sign up is ongoing. The packs highlight the idea behind the campaign and the impact small changes can make on the water quality in Ballycotton Bay.

The campaign has had very positive results when it comes to the impact of sewage-related litter on the environment and in turn, deters visitors from using the beach which impacts tourism and the local economy. In addition to the Think Before You Flush Campaign, the organisation also runs regular beach cleans.

Check out the Ballynamona website for further details.

6. North West Clean Up Group

northwest coastal clean up

Established in June 2017, the North West Clean Up Group is already making its mark. Its first beach clean took place on Tullaghan Strand as part of the Coca-Cola Clean Coasts week on 8 June. Over 50 people took part over the course of three hours collecting over a tonne of marine litter. The man behind the campaign, Paul Gallagher, was responsible for bringing together the entire coastal community of Leitrim, have conducted a further four beach cleans since June and plans to continue helping locations in Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo that most need it.

Check out the Northwest Clean Up Facebook Page for details on how you can get involved.

7. Clogherhead Development Group

Clogherhead development group

The Clogherhead Development Group (CDG) is a community organization run on an entirely voluntary basis by people striving to enhance, improve and promote the social, economic, cultural and environmental aspects of the Clogherhead community in Co Louth. In addition to maintaining the community hall and astro pitch, the organisation also heads up the Tidy Towns initiative and has undertaken a number of beach cleans in recent years.

Find out how you can join the Clogherhead Development Group on its Facebook Page.

8. Maharees Conservation Association


The Maharees is a natural tombolo, and special area of conservation, boasting one of the longest sandy beaches in Ireland on Brandon Bay. Located on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula, it provides employment, recreation and revenue in its position as a tourist draw for Castlegregory and its environs.

However, its delicate ecosystem is under threat, especially following the recent adverse weather conditions. With only one access road in and out of the community, repeated road blockages due to sand build up is a severe health and safety hazard. There are also associated economic risks as residents and visitors are hindered from attending work or bringing business to the area.

The Maharees Conservation Association was formed to address the adverse impact of coastal erosion by raising awareness and putting in place practical measures and a comprehensive management plan to ensure the future of the coastline for all to enjoy. The group has conducted marram grass planting, fencing and beach clean-ups in a bid to protect their precious marine environment.

Check out the Maharees Conservation Association website for further details.

This award is supported by Leave No Trace Ireland and Clean Coasts. Leave No Trace Ireland is an outdoor ethics programme which promotes and inspires responsible outdoor recreation, through education, research and partnerships. Clean Coasts engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The programme is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce.

By Outsider

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