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Judging of the PURE Mile Competition starts in November and lasts until August/September next year.
The PURE Mile is an environmental initiative of the PURE Project. PURE stands for protecting uplands and rural environments. The PURE Mile competition encourages communities and groups in rural areas to adopt a mile of land and keep this area litter free and well maintained.
The project encourages groups to research information about local flora and fauna, heritage, history and folklore. A lot of groups also repair and maintain old gates, clean up farmland entrances, trim hedges (outside of nesting season) and erect bird and bat boxes.
Groups also attempt to deter illegal dumping in the area, raise awareness and appreciation of the mile and educate people about waste reduction and management such as recycling and composting.
Irish tour company Vagabond Tours is actively involved in the PURE Mile initiative with a mile in Lackandarragh Lower in Wicklow. Its whole team is involved in maintaining the mile.
As well as its involvement in the PURE mile competition Vagabond Tours actively includes environmental sustainability in its day to day business. It is Ireland’s first Tour Operator to achieve the Ecotourism Gold Level Certification.
As a member of the Leave No Trace programme Vagabond follows the Leave No Trace principles on its tours. Its guides educate passengers on the Leave No Trace philosophy before each tour including informing them of correct waste disposal, minimizing harm to wildlife and stressing the fragility of the local ecosystem.
Vagabond tour guides carry rubbish bags on all tours and hikes and pick up any rubbish from the ground left by previous visitors. Passengers often follow suit.
As well as incorporating these values into its tours Vagabond plants hundreds of trees each year to offset its carbon footprint. It has been successful in totally offsetting its carbon footprint for the last two years.
Vagabond washes its vehicles sustainably using NoH2o, a waterless car wash solution. It was rewarded for this when the national hosepipe ban was put in place recently and didn’t affect Vagabond at all.
Leave No Trace works in partnership with the PURE project among other organisations. Leave No Trace is an outdoor ethics programme designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships.
Groups, teams, communities or companies inspired by Vagabond’s effort can adopt a mile and take part in the PURE mile competition. More information is available on the PURE project website or on 0404 45547. You don’t have to start work on your mile until after registration.
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By Heather Snelgar
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