St Colman’s Community College in Midleton, Co Cork was named School of the Year in the recent Ocean Hero Awards presented by the Clean Coasts programme at the Clayton Hotel Cork City recently.
This year Clean Coasts’ Ocean Hero Awards celebrated 11 years of honouring the invaluable contribution Ireland’s coastal communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline.
The awards, originally known as the Merit Awards, were conceived in 2006, consisting then of only one category, The Clean Coasts’ Group of the Year.
Since then the Clean Coasts programme has grown to engage over 700 groups, becoming embedded in many coastal communities nationwide.
In an effort to recognise this growth, the number of Ocean Hero categories have also expanded to include Individual of the Year (won this year by Sean Ferguson), Beach Clean of the Year (won by Havin’ a Laugh), Business of the Year (Dive Academy, Wexford) and the Think Before You Flush campaign award (Galway Atlantaquaria_ as well as the original Group of the Year award (Keep Our Beaches Clean, Mayo).
The presence of marine litter in our oceans is a global concern that requires action. Adequate measures are needed to address the impacts of litter in the marine environment
both at sea and on land whereby public awareness and community action plays a vital role.
The Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards and Ocean Talks bring together key stakeholders in the area of marine litter such as coastal communities, NGOs, tourism bodies, the science community, business and the fishing industry.
Ocean Talks speakers included Minister of State Damien English; Ken O’Sullivan, creator of RTÉ’s Ireland's Deep Atlantic; Sinead McCoy, coastal communities manager with the Environmental Education Unit at An Taisce; and Annabel Fitzgerald of Irish Water.
McCoy said: “Over the past 12 years the Clean Coasts programme’s Ocean Hero Awards have really brought to the fore the remarkable work and wonderful coastal celebration events that Clean Coasts volunteers have been involved in along the Irish coastline.
“We hope next year is no different as we look forward to receiving inspirational nominations that show the true dedication of these coastal custodians.”
Clean Coasts is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce and is funded by the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government and Fáilte Ireland.