Young people from Villiers School (North Circular Road, Limerick City) and St. Munchin’s College (Corbally Road, Co. Limerick) as well as groups from across from across Munster are preparing to face the judges in ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards ‘Dragon’s Den Style’ ECO-Dens on Wednesday 6th of April at the Aula Maxima, University College Cork. Participants ranging from 10-18 years will present their action project to raise environmental awareness and make a positive contribution to their local community.
ECO-Den finalists will have to convince a panel of expert judges including Elaine Nevin (ECO-UNESCO), John O’Halloran (Vice President for Teaching and Learning at UCC), Dr Mary Stack (Environmental Awareness Officer at Cork County Council) and Sinead Mc Donnell (Environmental Awareness Officer at Limerick City and County Council) that their group deserves a spot at the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards 2016 Gala Showcase and Awards Ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on Wednesday 18th May.
As an all island initiative, ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards rewards and recognises the work of young people in environmental protection through local environmental action projects. Now in its seventeenth year, the programme has been receiving hundreds of applications from schools and youth groups from both the Republic and Northern Ireland over the past few weeks. The Munster ECO-Den is the third of five regional ECO-Dens.
Commenting on the upcoming ECO-Den, Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNESCO, Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation said,
“The ECO-Dens present a fantastic opportunity for young people to a pitch to a panel of experts, tell them how their project makes a difference to the local environment and why they should be shortlisted for the finals in Dublin this May. The quality of the projects presented to us at the Connaught ECO-Den has always been very high and we are looking forward to hearing about what steps this year’s young people have taken to tackle environmental issues.”
The Munster ECO-Den is supported by Clare County Council, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Kerry County Council. The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs are the main funders of the overall initiative while Alupro Ireland and Dublin City Council are also supporters of the programme.
Established in 1999, ECO-UNESCO’s annual Young Environmentalist Awards are a fun and exciting way to empower young people to become better citizens, to build awareness of environmental issues in their locality and promote simple actions and lifestyle changes to improve the environment for all.
Groups successful in the regional finals have a chance to attend the annual National Showcase and Awards Ceremony event held each May. There, participants will get a chance to showcase their work, meet TV celebrities and win fantastic prizes.
by Bernie English