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Clean Coasts Ocean Talks and Ocean Hero 2017

The Clean Coasts programme was delighted to host Ocean Talks with our Ocean Hero Awards on 21st November 2017 at the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin. 
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 Talks and Ocean Hero Awards brought together key stakeholders in the area of marine litter such as coastal communities, NGOs, tourism bodies, the science community, business and the fishing industry.

Beckey-Finn Britton, Clean Coasts Officer for Donegal and Leitrim, with David Friel, Coastal Officer Donegal County Council at the Ocean Hero Awards ceremony in  the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin on Tuesday.
 Ocean Talks Speakers:

Dr Easkey Britton, NUI Galway, Big-Wave Surfer: Dr Easkey Britton, founder of Like Water, is a big-wave surfer and marine social scientist at NUIG. Her work explores the relationship between people and the sea, using her passion for the ocean to create social change and connection across cultures. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at NUI Galway co-leading NEAR-Health.

Dr Yvonne Lang, Sligo Institute of Technology: Dr Yvonne Lang is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences in IT Sligo. Yvonne's doctoral research explored the potential use of marine organisms for pharmaceutical industry related applications. Her current research interests include marine microorganisms and microorganism-microplastic interactions.

Soibhan Faulker, Clogherhead Development Group: Siobhan and her family are active members of the Clougherhead fishing industry and community. Siobhan volunteers and chairs the Clougherhead Development Group. The group are the local drivers for participation and award winning local and national success on a number of key initiatives such as Tidy Towns, Louth Looking Good and Pride of Place. The Clougherhead Development
Group work closely with the local fishing fleet on these initiatives as well as industry specific initiatives such as BIM’s Net Recycling and Fishing For Litter.

This year Clean Coasts’ Ocean Hero Awards was celebrating eleven 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 600 Clean Coasts 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, Bright Idea of the Year, School of the Year, Business of the Year and Beach Clean of the Year.

Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager with An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit said “Over the past 11 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. This year has been no different as we received inspirational nominations that show the true dedication of these coastal custodians.”

The Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Award Winners 2017 are as follows:

1.      Maharees Conservation Group, Kerry      Ocean Hero Award - Group of the Year
2.      Seamus McGoldrick, Strandhill, Sligo       Ocean Hero Award - Individual of the Year
3.      NorthWest Coastal Clean Ups, Leitrim     Ocean Hero Award – Idea of the Year
4.      St Colman’s Community College, Cork     Ocean Hero Award - School of the Year
5.      Galway Atlantaquaria, Galway                  Ocean Hero Award - Business of the Year
6.      Creevy Co-Op, Donegal                              Ocean Hero Award - Beach Clean of the Year
7.      Clean Coasts Ballynamona                        Ocean Hero Award – Outstanding Achievement Award

For more information on any of the above winners please see the attached Ocean Talks and Ocean Hero Brochure or contact Clean Coasts for more information.

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.

Members of Creevy Co-op receiving the Ocean Hero Beach Clean of the Year Award at the awards ceremony in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin on Tuesday.

About Clean Coasts

Clean Coasts engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The programme is operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce and is currently funded by the Department of the Housing, Planning and Local Government and Fáilte Ireland.

Clean Coasts has grown over the years and now includes two main national clean-up drives – Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week and the Big Beach Clean. Our volunteering has expanded to include Corporate Volunteering and the Ocean Hero Awards also. Other aspects include the Green Coast Award, the Love Your Coast Photography competition, the Clean Coasts Roadshow for coastal communities and we are continuing to grow the Clean Coasts programme with the likes of Ocean Talks. The programme also operate several campaigns in Ireland including Think Before You Flush and international campaigns #2minutebeachclean and Beat the Microbead.  The Clean Coasts volunteering effort engages communities in the protection and conservation of their local coastal environment. There are currently over 600 registered Clean Coasts groups. There are a variety of group types such as community groups, residents associations, tidy towns groups, sports clubs, schools, businesses, universities etc. Clean Coasts organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually mobilising thousands of volunteers, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from Ireland’s beaches and waterway.  www.cleancoasts.org

Keep Cruit Clean

Keep Cruit Clean was established in January 2016 and ever since then they have had a beach clean on the first Sunday of every month. They have removed over 140 bags of litter from the island along with some larger items such as old caravans in 2016 alone. They have also carried out dune conservation work and education by planting marram grass with pupils from the local national school. The group has been blessed to have true ocean heroes like Diana Doherty among them. And, indeed, one of the group’s proudest elements is the diversity of participants with an age-range of 6 months to 80+ years old, locals and visitors alike. The group strongly believes that, ‘these beaches are not yours or ours, they are everybody's’. And it is for this reason that they continue their amazing work on the island.

Northwest Mountaineering Club
The Northwest Mountaineering Club was established in 1955 and carried out their first beach clean of  Pollaguill Beach, Horn Head in Donegal in 2015. This beach remains almost completely untouched except when the club and local farmer get together to tackle the marine litter washed up. During the first cleanups here, it took 2 events in the year to get it clean and now the group is dedicated to visiting it once a year to remove a year’s worth of marine litter. This mammoth task involves hiking in and spending hours cleaning the beach filling massive bags that get taken back across to a collection point with thanks to the local farmer who joins in on the cleaning as well. Not only do they do this but they also find the energy to hike around Horn Head afterwards!

 Creevy Co-op

Creevy Co-op carried out a clean-up of the 10 mile coastal walk from Ballyshannon to Creevy in Donegal for World Oceans Day during Coca-Cola Clean Coasts Week in 2017. There was a fantastic turn out of diverse volunteers who worked in small groups to tackle marine litter. A huge volume of litter was lifted from the scrub, beach and rocky shore of the walk. Not only was this a great cleanup but also a huge amount of effort and co-operation was needed to make it such a success. Castle Adventure Farm provided the group with access across their farmland as well as refreshments afterwards; several volunteers picked up litter from many collection points; there was a lot of organizing to get the maximum spread of volunteers and follow-ups to make sure everyone's litter was collected. This meant a few hours cleaning was a whole day operation for the group who carried it out seamlessly.   www.creevyexperience.com