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Clean Coasts Honours Ireland’s Ocean Heroes Of 2018

26th November 2018
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Pupils and teachers from St Colman’s Community College in Cork receive their School of the Year award Pupils and teachers from St Colman’s Community College in Cork receive their School of the Year award

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).

Ocean Hero Awards

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.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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