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The #2MinuteBeachClean & #2MinuteStreetClean Eco Group Award acknowledges communities and groups that have made outstanding efforts in 2022 to improve their local environment.
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If you’re a nominee, consider yourself cordially invited to our annual awards ceremony on the evening of Wednesday 1 February 2023 in the Sugar Club, Dublin. We are thrilled skinny to announce that our fab sponsors are on board to help us celebrate all that is great and good about the Irish adventure scene, so it’s guaranteed to be a good party. Our hugely generous title sponsor is Sport Ireland. And our other supporting sponsors are #2MinuteBeachClean, #2MinuteStreetClean, Craghoppers, Leave No Trace, Hiiker, Salewa and Collen Construction.
For everyone else, a limited number of tickets are on sale here. Subscribe to our email newsletter on our homepage to hear more about the Outsider Awards 2022.
We were bowled over by both the quality and quantity of the stories you sent us. So sit down, make yourself comfortable and read the inspirational stories of these extraordinary people who are now officially on the long list of nominees for the #OutsiderAwards.
This award recognises that environmental efforts taken by the community can take on any form that has improved its region, including tidy towns efforts, area clean-ups, promotion of environmental messaging, adoption of environmental practices etc. Ireland’s outdoors offers beautiful landscapes and numerous opportunities to enjoy them. With the #2minutebeachclean and #2minutestreetclean campaigns, everybody can become an eco-hero and protect Ireland’s outdoors in only two minutes. Each #2minutebeachclean or #2minutestreetclean is estimated to weigh in at 1-2kg. If everybody in Ireland does a #2minutebeachclean or a #2minutestreet clean per month in 2023, that’s over 100,000 tonnes of litter removed from our environment.
ReWild Wicklow all started with a petition by siblings of the local Alvey family in February 2021. Simon, Ian, Danny and Enya Alvey have always been passionate about Wicklow and its wildlife, so they decided to take action.
During the course of the petition campaign, many local nature enthusiasts and experts got in touch with the Alvey siblings and a group began to form. It became clear that if radical action is to be taken on restoring biodiversity in Wicklow, the local community must lead the charge. In January 2022, a new organisation was officially launched as “ReWild Wicklow.”
Their mission is to monitor, protect, enhance and increase native habitats in Wicklow so that it can support a vast, biodiverse, balanced ecosystem of historical flora and fauna. In short—a Wicklow as wild as it once was.
“We aim to achieve this by working in collaboration with all public, private and NGO landowners across the county. We also have a strong emphasis on citizen science and people power, educating the public and encouraging volunteers to get involved with our work.”
ReWild Wicklow are working on a number of projects right now. They collaborate with public, private and NGO landowners, who are improving their land for nature. So far, volunteers have helped with tree plantings, vegetation management, laying seed and mulch, restoring peatland, fixing fences, setting up camera traps and clean-ups.
See: ReWild Wicklow
Established in 2007, Earth’s Edge offers high-altitude trekking, mountaineering, and their signature tri-adventure expeditions in some of the most stunning locations in the world, including adventures to Kilimanjaro, Everest base camp and Kenya.
The company holds its business accountable for the impact of its actions on the environment and its communities. Making it a worthy nominee for our Eco Groups Award. “We are using business as a force for good and strive to create a better future and a more sustainable economy here in Ireland and beyond.”
They are the only company in the world to send an international guide and doctor on all their expeditions while keeping group sizes sustainably small.
“Sending an international guide and doctor allows us to deliver an unrivalled level of safety. Having smaller group sizes brings a lot of advantages, including a better guide to client ratios, reduced environmental impact and stronger team dynamics.”
Their goal is to help people explore the world and experience life-changing adventures in the safest way possible. They are passionate about protecting the planet and improving the lives of those they meet along the way.
See: Earth’s Edge
In 2014, Hometree started as a tree-planting charity and grew into a project that endeavours to deeply connect people with nature. Based in Ennistymon, the charity facilitates a wide variety of fundamental projects to address both Ireland’s declining biodiversity and the unfolding climate challenge.
Their work is to establish and conserve permanent native woodland in Ireland, encouraging land regeneration and biodiversity through afforestation, restoration and education.
One of the highlights of the charity is everyone shares values. “Every person who I ever spoke to wants to care for and protect the natural world.”
Right now, Hometree is working on its Wild Atlantic Rainforest project. The project will restore temperate rainforests through three primary strategies—facilitating natural regeneration by removing grazing pressure; fencing off remnant pockets of forest to allow for their expansion, and planting trees where there is a strong ecological rationale to do so.
“We’ll implement these actions on 2,000 acres of our own land, and a further 2,000 acres through collaboration with adjoining landowners. We’ll create part-time and full-time jobs during the duration of the project, such as project management and project leaders.”
See: Home Tree
Keep Our Beaches Clean was established in July 2018, after shocking scenes at Old Head beach in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. What was supposed to be a lovely evening beach walk for Louise Hastings, turned into a disaster. There was a heatwave that week and hundreds had flocked to the beaches.
“There was glass, cans, barbeques, plastic you name it, covering the pier and the beach. I was outraged and posted on my personal Facebook page to see if anyone would come and help me clean it the following evening.”
Amazingly, Louise had a fantastic turnout and removed 25 bags of rubbish. She quickly realised that this wasn’t a one-off event and in fact they had a huge problem, and so Keep Our Beaches Clean was established.
“I believe our biggest achievement to date is consistency—we have stuck with it and continued to grow and create more awareness annually.”
The group covers 13 local beaches and also have volunteers regularly cleaning the roadsides and their local areas. This year, they have had more than 70 beach cleans and removed over 2,000 kg’s of rubbish.
There are around 100 active and regular volunteers. “We are blessed in that we have an incredible team of volunteers, and they truly deserve each and every bit of recognition that comes their way.”
The group received the Clean Coasts grant this year, which will allow them to buy cigarette bins and a dog poop bin, which will be maintained and emptied by the volunteers.
See: Keep our beaches clean
Based in Lahinch Co. Clare and with 270 members, The West Coast Surf Club is a non-profit club. The club has a strong community presence and offer volunteer-led programs for all members of the community.
The club has been doing clean ups around the coast of Clare for over 20 years and recently teamed up with Keep Lahinch Clean, a local clean up and environmental awareness group to complete clean ups and reach as many stakeholders in the community as possible. In particular, the junior board riders in the club are very active participants in these beach cleaning events and take great pride in taking part in them.
The club has also helped up to 150 people improve their surfing skills through their junior boardriders programs, women in sport program and inclusion lessons with CARA.
See: West Coast Surf Club
Inspired by the sea and the rugged coast and wildlife of the West of Ireland, Grown is an organic clothing company that takes great pains to ensure all of its products are ethically produced, manufactured and entirely organic.
All their fabrics are made from combinations of organic cotton, hemp, and recycled fibers (and adhere to the Global Organic Textile Standards) and manufactured in Bangladesh in accordance with Fair Wear standards.
Another material used in production is naturally sourced cork; harvested without felling any trees, and through environmentally friendly and sustainable methods. They are dedicated to giving back to the planet and are members of 1% For The Planet, which donates 1% of all sales to funding environmental NGOs across the world.
Locally they operate a “Buy 1 Plant 1” scheme where for every product bought a native Irish tree will be planted to help restore the biodiversity of Ireland’s forestry.
Marie Power has been running seaweed workshops and events on wildlife for several years on a voluntary basis. Her professional background is in management and training consultancy. In recent years, she decided to follow her interest in nature and now runs workshops on a regular basis, introducing people to seaweed and wild food foraging and cookery, the wider ecological web on the rocky shore and sustainable ways to forage.
Her introduction to seaweed as a food took place when she was very young. Her cousin, Jackie Power, gathered carrageen around Stradbally Cove in Co. Waterford. It was cooked by his sister, Eily Begley, into a very healthy dessert. The strong taste did not appeal and it was much later when Marie developed ways to make tasty as well as nutritious food using seaweed.
In 2007, she attended a Copper Coast Geopark workshop in Co. Waterford with seaweed expert, Prannie Rhatigan. There, she was inspired to use seaweed again. She began to forage for seaweed on the local beaches and experimented with cooking them. She included some seaweed food tasting in an Irish Wildlife Trust outing on rock pool ecology, and so the first seaweed workshop took place locally in March 2007 at Kilfarassey beach. The turnout was huge and it was clear there was an interest in seaweed foraging, cooking and in the natural world. Further workshops followed and this led to a regular appearance at the Dungarvan Food Festival at Clonea Strand, now an annual event.
Meeting the people who attended the workshops became an enjoyable and inspiring experience. People expressed delight in the tastiness and goodness of seaweed and requests for more in-depth workshops and demonstrations and for Marie’s recipes led to writing it all down in a book—and “The Sea Garden” was born.
See: Sea Gardener
Launched in November 2022 and developed by Mayo County council, the Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme is a collaboration with Leave No Trace Ireland and the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group.
The aim of the programme is to increase public awareness of the importance of care and respect for our natural heritage. It wants to empower positive behavioural change and develop skills around outdoor recreation so that locals and visitors can continue to enjoy and protect Croagh Patrick and its surroundings.
Twelve official Croagh Patrick Ambassadors were recruited as volunteers and their job is to engage with visitors on the mountain.
The Ambassador Training they received provided guidance on the most effective means for the volunteers to engage with visitors, the application of Leave No Trace Principles and an understanding of the Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration Project underway.
The goal is to ensure that visitors to Croagh Patrick appreciate the importance of preserving the mountain’s distinct natural, cultural, and religious heritage through sustainable use. The volunteers are present on the mountain during peak times throughout the year.
See: Croagh Patrick Ambassador Scheme
Inspired by Zef Klinkenbergh, the environmental warrior from Lough Dan Scout Centre in Wicklow, the Dublin Huntstown Scout Group undertook to complete their ECO badge this summer. Firstly, they planted a number of native trees on the shores of Lough Dan under Zef’s watchful tutelage. Then it was closer to home with the making of bird boxes from recycled pallets. These were put up on trees on the grounds of Sacred Heart Church in Huntstown, where the pack hold their weekly outdoor meetings.
By Matthew McConnell
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